June is Pride Month! Stocking children’s shelves with LBTQ+ friendly books is a must here at Baby Librarians. I want to make sure Marian grows up with a rich and diverse perspective about love and what makes a family. Here are some of our favorite LGBTQ+ children’s books for every age that do just that.
LGBTQ+ Books for Babies and Toddlers (0-3)
Love Makes a Family by Sophie Beer
On each page of this colorful board book, love is defined and a diverse family is shown in the reality of what makes a family. On the opening spread, for example, “Love is…waking up BRIGHT and EARLY,” and the illustration shows a gay couple in bed stretching and yawning while their two way too awake children burst into their room playing music. We can all relate!
Rainbow: A First Book of Pride by Michael Genhart, Illustrated by Anne Passchier
The six colors of the Rainbow Pride Flag are defined in this picture book that celebrates “love, hope, diversity, and acceptance.” I will be posting an interview with the author soon! If you have older children, read Love Is Love by the same author as well!
Mommy, Mama, and Me by Lesléa Newman, Illustrated by Carol Thompson
This is a sweet little board book, perfect for two mother families. It was one of the first board books to feature gay parents. Also check out Daddy, Papa, and Me.
LGBTQ+ Books for Early Elementary (4-7)
I Am Jazz by Jessica Herthel and Jazz Jennings, Illustrated by Shelagh McNicholas
This picture book memoir relates Jazz’s realization that she identifies as a girl rather than her birth gender. I’ve previously read Jazz’s memoir for teenagers and adults, Being Jazz: My Life as a (Transgender) Teen, and this version does an excellent job of explaining transgender identity to young children and, let’s face it, clueless adults.
Pink Is for Boys by Robb Pearlman, Illustrated by Eda Kaban
Let me tell you, I detest walking into a children’s store and seeing everything separated out by colors. This exuberant picture book shows all the ways colors are not gendered and can be worn by anyone doing anything they want to. Duh. This seems so logical, but the stereotypes are pervasive. This picture book can be a great way to break down those stereotypes early on.
Julián Is a Mermaid by Jessica Love
We’ve reviewed Julián Is a Mermaid before, and it continues to be a favorite. It’s so gorgeous, and I love the celebration of pretend play and dress up, which is as vital for boys as it is for girls.
Jacob’s New Dress by Sarah and Ian Hoffman, Illustrated by Chris Case
I love this book because it shows the reality of what children face when they dress in gender non-conforming ways. There will be a kid that bullies. The parents will feel hesitant, knowing that bullying is likely. But what matters, in the end, is a child’s self-love and autonomy. The authors recently released Jacob’s Room to Choose, about how Jacob leads school change when he asks to use the girl’s bathroom.
Sewing the Rainbow: A Story About Gilbert Baker by Gayle E. Pitman, Illustrated by Holly Clifton-Brown
I’d never heard of Gilbert Baker until reading this book! The maker of the Rainbow Pride flag, Gilbert Baker grew up in Kansas admiring his grandmother’s sewing. His parents didn’t approve, and he was later drafted into the military, where he refused to carry a gun. Beneath the children’s prose, I could sense a heartbreaking and cruel story. After he was discharged, he became a designer and sewed many fabulous clothes, and was eventually asked to sew the very first Rainbow Pride flag.
Pride: The Story of Harvey Milk and the Rainbow Flag by Rob Sanders, Illustrated by Steven Salerno
This book and Sewing the Rainbow should be read side by side. Harvey Milk was the politician who asked Gilbert to sew the Rainbow Pride Flag. This picture book relates his life and the history of the flag.
Maiden & Princess by Daniel Haack and Isabel Galupo, Illustrated by Becca Human
Fairy tales are dominated by heterosexual marriages. This one tells a different story. Also check out Prince & Knight.
And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell, illustrated by Henry Cole
This is probably my favorite book on the list, even though Marian finds it boring! One-year-olds, sheesh. It’s based on a true story about two male penguins who mated at the Central Park Zoo. They wanted a little baby penguin of their own and would turn a rock, pretending it was an egg. Until one day their keeper gave them a real egg of their own to turn, and the two penguins became fathers. So lovely!
LGBTQ+ Books for Later Elementary (9-12)
Stonewall Riots: Coming Out in the Streets by Gayle E Pitman
This book just came out and I have yet to read it, but it looks like an excellent and accessible history of the Stonewall Riots.
Princess Princess Ever After by Katie O’Neill
Another fairy tale that breaks gender norms, in this graphic novel, the princess doesn’t need a prince to save her, she needs another princess. I love Katie O’Neill’s work. Also read The Tea Dragon Society and Aquicorn Cove.
What are your favorite LGBTQ+ children’s books?