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20 Books With LGBTQ Characters Your Kids Will Love

Looking for a way to celebrate and honor Pride Month with your young kid? From books with main characters who are LGBTQ or still figuring out their sexual orientations to stories of straight kids or teens with gay friends or parents, these books portray many aspects of the LGBTQ experience for kids as young as 3. Many of these books have been published within the last few years, a happy indication that more and more families are celebrating diversity in gender and sexual identity.

For more books for kids and teens about the LBGTQ experience, check out the full list at Common Sense Media.

Authored by Leslea Newman, illustrated by Laura Cornell

Twenty-fie years after its controversial debut, this updated version of a now-classic tale of a little girl with same-sex parents comes across as a sweet, gentle message of inclusion and acceptance.

Recommended for ages 3 and older

Publisher: Candlewick, 2017

Authored by Jessica Walton, illustrated by Dougal MacPherson

This sensitively written book about a transgender teddy bear is done with just the right hand to introduce the idea of gender identity and transition to very young kids, for whom less may be more.

Recommended for ages 3 and older

Publisher: Bloomsbury Children’s Books, 2016

Authored by Jill Twiss, illustrated by EG Keller

A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo, presented by HBO’s Last Week Tonight with John Oliver and written by LWT staffer Jill Twist, is a picture book that celebrates inclusiveness and democracy and embraces same-sex marriage. It was published to coincide with the release of a similarly titled book written by Vice President Mike Pence’s daughter (featuring his real-life family pet rabbit, which is named Marlon Bundo), as a response to Pence’s on-the-record positions on same-sex marriage and other LGBTQ issues.

Recommended for ages 4 and older

Publisher: Chronicle Books, 2018

Authored and illustrated by Jessie Sima

In one seamless story, this book introduces an exuberant multiracial girl who has two dads, sends her on a fantastic hot-air balloon journey with penguins, and throws her a rollicking rooftop party.

Recommended for ages 4 and older

Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2018

Authored by Jessica Herthel and Jazz Jennings, illustrated by Shelagh McNicholas / This autobiographical picture book about a transgender child chronicles the story of her life (so far); in her words, “I have a girl brain but a boy body.” This is an excellent choice to jump-start a conversation about gender, identify, compassion, and honesty.

Recommended age: 4 and older

Quality rating: 4 out of 5

Publisher: Dial Books, 2014

Authored by Sarah Hoffman and Ian Hoffman, illustrated by Chris Case / This cheery book about a confident young boy who feels best when he’s wearing a dress is a terrific way for parents to start a conversation with kids feeling their way through unfamiliar terrain.

Recommended for ages 4 and older

Publisher: Albert Whitman & Co., 2014

Authored by Justin Richardson, Peter Parnell, illustrated by Henry Cole / And Tango Makes Three is a powerful, gentle story of two male penguins who fall in love at the zoo and together nurture and parent another penguin couple’s offspring from the time it’s an egg.

Recommended for ages 4 and older

Publisher: Little Simon, 2015

Authored by J.J. Austrian, illustrated by Mike Curato / Whether you read this as a smart take on same-sex marriage and changing gender norms or a celebration of free and kindred spirits, Worm Loves Worm is irresistible.

Recommended for ages 4 and older

Publisher: Balzer + Bray, 2016

Authored by Vera B. Williams, illustrated by Chris Raschka / This sensitive portrait of a loving and recognizably human family in which school-age Lester is adopted by Daddy Albert and Daddy Rich has clear adoption and LGBTQ themes, but the feelings will be recognizable to any kid who’s felt anxiety.

Recommended for ages 5 and older

Publisher: Greenwillow Books, 2016

Authored by Alex Gino / This simply and tenderly written story will help kids ― and parents ― understand what it feels like to be transgender.

Recommended for ages 9 and older

Publisher: Scholastic Press, 2015

Authored by Tim Federle / Better Nate Than Ever is a charming story of a boy who sneaks away from home and falls in love with New York City. Nate’s a lovable hero for misfits and dreamers everywhere, and especially for young gay teens and kids who, like Nate, aren’t ready to declare anything about their sexuality.

Recommended for ages 10 and older

Publisher: Simon & Schuster, 2013

Authored by Raina Telgemeier / Drama is a funny, affecting graphic novel about what it takes to put on a middle school musical. The engaging cast of diverse personalities includes a forthrightly gay male character and another exploring his own sexuality. The author treats the subject with sensitivity and discretion.

Recommended for ages 10 and older

Authored by Rick Riordan / This second book to the Magnus Chase series features a gender-fluid character named Alex, who adds depth and diversity to the story nine-world hopping and giant killing.

Recommended for ages 10 and older

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion, 2016

Authored by Ashley Herring Blake / This gentle book about a 12-year old’s first same-sex crush explores both LGBTQ themes and universally human themes of family, first love, and navigating life’s unexpected challenges.

Recommended for ages 10 and older

Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 2018

Authored by Donna Gephart / Lily and Dunkin is a wonderfully written story about the start-and-stop friendship between an eighth-grader who is transgender and another who’s struggling with mental illness.

Recommended for ages 10 and older

Publisher: Delacorte Press, 2016

Authored by Mariko Tamaki, Illustrated by Brooke Allen Lumberjanes: Unicorn Power! (yes, there are unicorns) ignores gender as a possible limitation and opens readers’ imaginations to limitless possibilities. Tweens and young teens will get a lot of positive messages about ignoring gender stereotypes and the limitless possibilities out there for a girl who wants to discover them.

Recommended for ages 10 and older

Publisher: Amulet Books, 2018

Authored by Jennifer Gennari / My Mixed-up Berry Blue Summer main theme is prejudice against same-sex marriage and gay people in general. The main character’s emotional growth is believable, and the resolution is satisfying.

Recommended for ages 10 and older

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Children’s Books, 2012

Authored by James Howe / 13-year-old Addie’s story is told completely in narrative poetry that poignantly captures the turmoil and confusion she faces about issues. She helps organize the Gay and Straight Alliance in support of her openly gay friends and dares to hold a Day of Silence even when it’s nixed by the principal.

Recommended for ages 11 and older

Publisher: Atheneum, 2011

Authored by Jazz Jennings / Transgender activist Jazz Jennings describes what it was like to know ― even as a toddler ― that she was a girl in a boy’s body and how her family came to understanding, acceptance, and full, loving support. She holds little back in her frank, funny memoir ― she shares soaring highs and humiliating lows, her ambition and depression, and her unique experience with puberty.

Recommended for ages 12 and older

Publisher: Crown Books for Young Readers, 2016

Authored by David Levithan / The omniscient spirits of gay ancestors narrate this story that looks at the lives of several gay teens during a few days leading up to and including two boys’ attempt to break the world’s record for the longest kiss. This is a beautifully written novel about some moving modern-day characters, and an eloquent comment on the current evolutionary stage of society’s treatment of gay youth.

Recommended for ages 12 and older

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