Children’s books are like windows and mirrors: windows in that they help us understand others, and mirrors in that they help us understand ourselves. Which is why stories featuring LGBTQ+ families, identities and expressions are vital for the next generation to create a world where everyone belongs. When young kids see diversity authentically celebrated in their books, we’re one step closer to removing stigma and making space for all families. Below, the team at Little Feminist, a children’s book subscription service focusing on diversity and gender equality, put together our top picks for LGBTQ+ children’s books that families with kiddos of all ages—from babies to bigger kids—can enjoy together.
Looking for a board book about Pride for your baby or toddler? Well this is it! With gentle rhymes and color photographs, Pride Colors is delightful and profound at the same time. We want to see more books like this one, as we’re left craving even more photos of more diverse families.
For ages: 0-3
Buy it: Pride Colors by Robin Stevenson, $8, Amazon.com
There are so many intersecting identities celebrated in this book, and every time we read it we discover something new we love. Jess Hong uses sparse words like ‘black’ and ‘white’ and ‘fancy’ and ‘sporty’ to highlight how we’re all lovely, but the illustrations are surprising in the best way!
For ages: 1-5
Buy it: Lovely by Jess Hong, $16, Amazon.com
Love Makes A Family
We are so smitten with this board book! Love Makes a Family shows love is love, regardless of family structure. The simple, sweet metaphors on each page will tickle every member of your family. Promise.
For ages: 1-4
Buy it: Love Makes a Family by Sophie Beer, $10, Amazon.com
Littles: And How They Grow
We. Love. These. Littles. An ode to babies, this board book features gorgeous illustrations of diverse families and top notch rhymes (you know you’re tired of sub-par baby book rhymes!). Confession: We always tear up toward the end—don’t say we didn’t warn you!
For ages: 1-5
Buy it: Littles: And How They Grow by Kelly DiPucchio, $8, Amazon.com
Red: A Crayon’s Story
Sometimes books about crayons can help broach topics adults are uncertain of, and these crayons do it so well! Everything Red Crayon colors, from strawberries to stoplights, turns out ‘wrong.’ When a friend asks Red to make an ocean, Red discovers who they really are! This book will help you talk to your children how our labels may not always fit who we are.
For ages: 2-7
Buy it: Red: A Crayon’s Story by Michael Hall, $12, Amazon.com
And Tango Makes Three
This board book is a classic! Using the true story of two male penguins at the Central Park Zoo, And Tango Makes Three is a sweet story and playful introduction to same-sex families. The main characters are portrayed as “different” (which we don’t love), but in the end shows how ‘natural’ all types of families are.
For ages: 2-5
Buy it: And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell, $8, Amazon.com
They She He Me: Free to Be!
We’re big fans of the author, illustrator and their publishing house, Reflection Press. They She He Me: Free to Be! is a simple introduction to gender pronouns for toddlers and above. At the back of the book there’s an extraordinarily useful story and guide to pronouns for 5+ year-olds.
For ages: 2-9
Buy it: They She He Me: Free to Be! by Maya Christina Gonzalez and Matthew SG, $14, Amazon.com
Introducing Teddy: A Gentle Story About Gender and Friendship
We love how Introducing Teddy features gender identity and expression, and that it’s both accessible and heartwarming. Teddy and his friends show us what it looks like to be loved and accepted exactly as we are, regardless of gender, appearance or our favorite hobbies. Fun fact: at the Oakland Pride Parade, an educator who works with kids going through gender transition told us this was “hands down the best book!”
For ages: 3-6
Buy it: Introducing Teddy: A Gentle Story About Gender and Friendship by Jessical Walton, $15, Amazon.com
The future isn’t female, the future is nonbinary—and this book is the perfect reminder to get us out of ‘either/or’ thinking. In a world full of blue bunnies and yellow birds, a baby that is not quite a bunny or a bird hatches. In the land of This and That, what happens to those who don’t fit either? This story sparks discussions around gender non-conforming, intersex and genderqueer identities.
For ages: 3-7
Buy it: Neither by Airlie Anderson, $10, Amazon.com
What Makes a Baby
This is the ‘birds and the bees’ book you wish your parents had. What Makes a Baby satisfies kiddos curious about where babies come from in the most age-appropriate and inclusive way. Gender-neutral language, such as “people with eggs” and “people with sperm” let’s you focus on the simple science without taking on a heteronormative view of conception. All families can relate to this book illustrated with multi-colored silhouettes without gendered body parts.
For ages: 3-7+
Buy it: What Makes a Baby by Cory Silverberg, $15, Amazon.com
I Love My Purse
We love this book as much as the boy in the story, Charlie, loves his purse. Charlie’s such a trendsetter that a week at school wearing his purse inspires others to don Hawaiian shirts, full face paint and sparkly roller skates. This touching story inspires families to move beyond gendered self-expression.
For ages: 3-8
Buy it: I Love My Purse by Belle Demont, $17, Amazon.com
A Family Is a Family Is a Family
The ending of this book sealed the deal for us! The narrator is hesitant to share with her class what makes her family special, thinking no one’s family is like hers. You soon discover that there are all sorts of families in the class: families with two moms, two dads, one grandma, etc. This book beautifully smashes stereotypes around what makes a family “real.”
For ages: 4-8
Buy it: A Family Is a Family Is a Family by Sara O’Leary, $30, Amazon.com
One of a Kind, Like Me/Único Como Yo
Everybody from Danny to his grandfather can’t wait for Danny to dress up as a princess for the school parade. This story’s focus on Danny and his community celebrating who he is and what he loves makes it a standout for us. You’ll find yourself rooting for Danny to find the perfect purple princess dress before the store closes.
For ages: 4-8
Buy it: One of a Kind, Like Me/Único Como Yo by Laurin Mayeno, $14, Amazon.com
I Am Jazz
Jazz Jennings co-authors her own story about being transgender, and there’s nothing we love more than #OwnVoices stories. Jazz’s story of being true to herself is important for all kids, and seeing her family’s warmth and acceptance will give you all the feels. We hope to see even more authentic voices pushing the boundaries of binary so our kiddos know that colors, clothes and activities are open to everyone.
For ages: 4-8+
Buy it: I Am Jazz by Jessica Herthel and Jazz Jennings, $14, Amazon.com
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LittleFeminist.com is a children's book and activity subscription that focuses on diversity and gender equality, teaching 0–9-year-old girls and boys (yes, boys can be feminists too!) empathy and perseverance. Books-of-the-month are selected by a team of educators, librarians and parents, who then create discussion questions and a DIY activity to accompany each book. Little Feminist boxes start at $19 a month, and shipping is free. Follow Little Feminist on Instagram and Facebook.
Published June 2019