Happy Pride Month! ❤️🧡💛💚💙💜
Celebrate pride and the beauty of equality all year round by padding your home library with some great children’s literature to read with your kids. Story time before bed is a favorite tradition in our household and as my daughters get older, I’ve tried to be more mindful of diversifying the books we read.
It’s a great way to foster important conversations about gender identity, race, family diversity, Orientation, and embracing uniqueness.
While you read, ask gentle questions that center around emotion and empathy such as “How do you think that made the character feel?”, “How would you feel?”, and “What would you have done to help solve the problem?”
Tip to remember: When learning new things, not all conversations with our kids are deep and meaningful even if we’re prepared for them to be. Sometimes children don’t seem to be paying attention, but they are. Keep reading, keep sharing, keep communicating. You are building an important foundation of love, inclusion, empathy, and compassion. You are also providing a safe space for your kids so that, one day, when they do want to talk, they will feel comfortable reaching out.
Toddler to Preschool:
Aalfred and Aalbert by Morag Hood
This sweet story is one of my preschooler’s favorites. While not overtly LGBTQ+ themed, the picture book does feature two lonely aardvarks, Aalfred and Aalbert, who overcome some challenges (one likes to sleep all day while the other likes to sleep all night) to find happiness in each other’s company.
Love Makes a Family by Sophie Beer
Families come in all shapes and sizes, and that’s exactly what this colorful book celebrates. The illustrations show diverse families while the words point out the little things that make a group of people a family: baking together, helping each other out, celebrating birthdays, etc. What makes a family? Love. Plain and simple.
And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell
It’s difficult to not get carried away with recommending ALL the great picture books, but I am sticking to the ones my young daughter wants me to read to her over and over again. This true tale about Central Park Zoo penguins Roy and Silo is in our regular rotation. When zookeepers give the male penguin couple a motherless egg, story listeners get to witness the care and love the duo pours into their new family of three.
Pride: The Story of Harvey Milk and the Rainbow Flag by Rob Sanders
This is a great age to introduce kids to the biographies and histories of pride leaders Harvey Milk and Gilbert Baker and the symbol of equality they created with the first pride flag. With lush illustrations and gentle prose full of hope, the book may prompt further action from kids: have them color and create their own pride flags to wave!
George by Alex Gino
A heartwarming story about ten year-old George, whose friends and family see a boy when they look at her, but she knows she is a girl. George wants to play Charlotte in the class production of Charlotte’s Web, but her teacher says she can’t because she’s a boy. This is an important book about transgender awareness, pronouns, and what it means to be a supportive friend and ally. IMO, a must-read for elementary-aged kids.
The Misadventures of the Family Fletcher by Dana Alison Levy
The first in a series, this easy-to-read chapter book introduces readers to the Fletcher family: four boys and two dads. They get into all sorts of adventures (or misadventures as the case may be!) and hijinks. It’s the perfect pick for kids who love Judy Blume’s Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing and Beverly Cleary’s Ramona Quimby Forever.
To Night Owl From Dogfish by Heidi Goldberg Sloan & Meg Wolitzer
Avery and Bett, both twelve, are as different as night and day and they live on opposite sides of the country. But when their dads start a relationship with each other, they’re thrown together at a sleep away camp and have to find some common ground. This cute middle grade book is written as all letters, emails, and text message exchanges. Nevertheless, the detail and plot don’t get lost in the format.
Drama by Reina Telegemeier
Reina Telegemeier is an expert storyteller. She draws out the uncertainty and vulnerability of being a young person in her characters, who then always ultimately grow and find their footing. Drama centers around middle schooler Callie and her friends as they work on the set of the school play and deal with drama, crushes, and sexual orientation off-stage.
Lumberjanes by Shannon Watters, Grace Ellis, Brooklyn A. Allen and Noelle Stevenson
I wasn’t sure in what age category to put this comic series because it’s great for almost all ages. My second grader has read the first few, and even my partner and I enjoy swiping them and reading. Lumberjanes is the ideal summer camp comic featuring five early-teen BFFs and their outdoor adventures. Think: Gravity Falls meets Nancy Drew. There’s some oddities afoot, mysteries to solve, and lots of friendship and fun. Jo, the leader of girl pack, is transgender and has two dads.
High School (YA):
Summer of Salt by Katrina Leno
This story is full of magic. I mean, there’s actual magic, but there’s also the magic of first love. Teen Georgiana navigates familial relationships, works on solving a mystery on her island, and falls in love with summer tourist, Prue. Georgiana and Prue’s same-sex relationship is not externally challenged so readers get to fully enjoy the beauty and charm of their budding romance.
Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz
Follow teen boys Dante and Ari as they spend the summer evolving from oddball loners into lifelong friends… and possibly more. This novel has won numerous awards, including the Stonewall award. It’s tender, lyrical, and a read that will stay with you long after it’s finished.
Queer, There, and Everywhere: 23 People Who Changed the World by Sarah Prager
Queer history is important. The world is full of LGBTQ+ change makers and Pragar writes small histories of some of their struggles and triumphs. Far from a dry read (the writing is much more engaging than your standard high school textbook), this non-fiction compilation can be read all in one sitting or a little at a time, and referenced again and again.