LGBT Picture Books – Books About Families with Lesbian, Gay, and Transgendered Family Members.

LGBT picture books Last year when I posted a similar LGBT picture books round up some of my readers made it very clear that they were not happy about my post. So before I even start let me say these books aren’t going to be for all of you. But this post and book list isn’t about you. It’s not about your politics or mine. This list is a resource for families. It’s a resource for the mom who is trying to explain to her child why their uncle is now an aunt, for the teacher who has a child with two dads and wants some good titles to add to her classroom library to reflect all her students, it is for that child who thinks something is wrong with them because none of their books show families like theirs. This list is for them.

I know some of you will disagree but I have to do what feels right to me and to my heart even if there are consequences. If this list turns 100 of you away I’ll be sad but OK with it if it helps one child, and I know it will.

uncle bobby's wedding

Uncle Bobby’s Wedding by Sarah S. Brannen is a sweet book about a little guinea pig Chloe and her issues with her uncle getting married. Now you might think that the issues are around the fact that he’s marrying another male guinea pig but that’s not it at all. The issues are about how close Chloe is to Uncle Bobby and how she doesn’t want that to change. This is a great book that normalizes same sex weddings and focuses instead on the things that matter most to the children- how they are going to be affected.

10000 dresses

10,000 Dresses by Marcus Ewert is a story about a little boy who doesn’t feel like a little boy and dreams of the most amazing dresses every night. He tries to tell his family about his dreams but they brush them off reminding Bailey he is a boy and boys shouldn’t dream of dresses. His family is NOT accepting at all and you must know that. For me I saw this as an opportunity to talk about adversity. What I love about this book is that while the narrator refers to Bailey as a she all of Bailey’s family refers to Bailey as a boy. Only Laurel an older girl who accepts Bailey as she views herself calls her a girl. While my 3 year old is too young to get the various levels of this book she understands that it’s OK for people to dress how they want and my 7 year old is old enough to understand that gender is not always black and white. The book itself is amazingly creative and a great book about acceptance even if you don’t dive head first into a discussion about transgender issues with your kids they will still like it.

 

Molly's Family

Molly’s Family by Nancy Garden had both my kids captivated when I read it to them at lunch yesterday. The story is about Molly who is in kindergarten and after she draws a picture at school of her two moms she is faced with a classmate telling her she can’t have two moms. There are many things I love about this book but most of all it is the adult reactions to this child saying it’s not possible that drew me in. Molly’s classmate that was sure two moms was simply impossible wasn’t told that he was wrong instead the teacher discussed how different every family was and how Molly’s was just as much a family has his or any other. I loved even more how Molly became shy about displaying her drawing because it gave me a chance to talk to my 6 year old about the power of words and not listening to others and how dismissing people can hurt . I also loved how the next day the little boy who was so sure that two moms wasn’t possible was totally cool with it. He just didn’t know it was a possibility and I think that is a good reminder for why books like this matter.

king and king

King and King by Linda de Haan is a fairytale and a funny one at that. The queen is old and cranky and wants her son to take over the kingdom but he must be married to do so. He tells her he’s not really into princesses but Mama doesn’t take the hint. After finding fault with every princess presented to him he falls in love at first sight with a prince and they live happily ever after. I like the whimsical illustrations and my kids thought the prince was funny. My son thought the book had a twist at the end with the princes falling in love, but just like the queen in the story there was no debate over why. I like that this book uses the familiar fairytale structure to make an important statement about the existence of same sex marriage and can be a great ice breaker to talk about it with your kids.

jacob's new dress

Jacob’s New Dress by Sarah Hoffman is about Jacob who likes to wear dresses.  Unlike Bailey in 10, 000 dresses Jacob is accepted by the majority of his peers and family. His parents encourage him to be himself cautiously and I liked that throughout the story his parents softened their stance as Jacob became more confident about how he felt and how he’d handle teasing. Jacob was teased but he was also accepted which makes this book a great discussion starter with any child whether they have a child in their school who may dress in gender non conforming ways, or a family member who is transgendered. Not all boys who wear dresses are going to identify as transgendered or gay and this book doesn’t say they will, instead it says to be yourself whoever that may be.

princess-boy

My Princess Boy by Cheryl Kilodavis has been talked about so much I think I had inflated expectations. Don’t get me wrong I think the message is so important and the book does a good job at introducing readers to her son who is different , to how he gets hurt when people laugh at him and how great his family is at accepting him. I like how simply blunt  the book is and it should be because the lesson should be about acceptance and allowing people, especially children to express their true self. I think I was expecting more of a story even though I knew it was non fiction. It opened a great dialog with my 5 year old son about how he would treat a male friend if they wanted to dress in a dress- good discussion at our house , worth the read for sure!

Everywhere Babies

Everywhere Babies by Susan Meyers and Marla Frazee .This book celebrates all sorts of babies and all the every day things babies do. My daughter points out all the babies on each page as I read the rhyming text . So maybe you are thinking ” What’s so great about babies and text that rhymes?” nothing, that isn’t what makes this book so awesome. I love this book because of it’s diversity, inclusion, and acceptance of all babies and families. The illustrations are full of depictions of all sorts of families showering their smallest most precious member with love . What I adore about the diversity of the illustrations is that readers are left to put whatever assumption we wish on the families in the book. What I assumed were two mommies my husband thought was a husband and wife, I thought a lady was a grandma and my son said it was just a older mom. This is why I love this book, my daughter doesn’t see why this message is outstanding, what she does see is all sorts of happy babies in all sorts of families being the norm and this is the world we want her to know.

donovan's big day

Donovan’s Big Day by Leslea Newman is a book about Donovan’s day leading up to being the ring bearer at his moms’ wedding. The book does a fantastic job at showing that children in same sex families are just like children in any family. This day is a big day for Donovan but before he hands them the rings and kisses the brides he has a bunch of other things to do. I adore the illustrations by Mike Dutton and how he brings this little boy to life. Like so many of these books this book is not about politics it’s about a family celebrating a special day.

Heather Has Two Mommies

Heather Has Two Mommies by Lesléa Newman was widely banned when it was first released. It is probably the best known picture book about a family with same sex parents . When you read it the first thing you will probably think is that it doesn’t live up to the banning. I always imagine banned books to be truly out there and this book is about a family with a doctor , a carpenter and their daughter. Heather is starting a new school and she is nervous and exploring all the possibilities of what a family looks like just as her classmates are. She recognizes that her family is different but not less than. The illustrations are black and white and a little dated but the story is on the right track.

Mommy, Mama and Me

Mommy, Mama, and Me by Lesléa Newman is a book about everyday life of a family with two moms. What I love about this book is that it showcases parts of the day that young toddlers through preschoolers can relate to easily. They have bath time, they go to the park, they cook dinner, in other words they are a family like any with a small child. My son loved this book and related easily to the baby in the book and to the experiences that they share.The book makes no political statement, no explanation of two mommies and it shouldn’t, it’s a book targeted to toddlers about one loving family and nothing more. There is also a version with two dads called Daddy, Papa, and Me .

father's day tale of two daddies

 

A Tale of Two Daddies by Vanita Oelschlager is a book about a little girl with two daddies. She is playing with a friend who is asking her how it works to have two daddies. He asks her the type of questions any young child might and she answers them as they play together. I like this book  because it addresses the sorts of questions young kids have about same sex families and most of all it explains how similar all families really are no matter who is a part of it. I love that the illustrations are done from the perspective of the young children only showing the adults from about knee level and down. Cute, bright book and my daughter loves it.

2 mommies

A Tale of Two Mommies by Vanita Oelschlager got my kids out of their seats at the table and glued next to me because they wanted to be that close to the illustrations by Mike Blanc . They were so vibrant and the perspective was so great that both my kids ( 6 and 3 ) were immediately smitten. The story is great too, it’s really a collection of questions from two friends asking a third about how his family with two mommies work. Sometimes adults go straight for the deep big issues when really kids just want to know which mom is the one to coach little league and which one bakes cakes. The overall feeling readers are left with is that this little boy’s life isn’t all that different at all.

The Family Book

The Family Book by Todd Parr is a book that doesn’t give readers a narrow definition of family , it doesn’t say that your family has to look a certain way, or be the same as your neighbors. As a teacher I really appreciated the matter of fact way it embraced diversity. It makes mention of some families having two moms or two dads in the same vein as all the other similarities and differences. Kids see that families are not all like theirs and it’s important to validate the truth while recognizing that while families may not all look alike, all families are made with love. Great book , cute illustrations ,and children love it.

tango

And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson is a much debated book. It’s the true story of two male penguins in central park zoo who didn’t have any interest in the girl penguins but definitely liked each other. When the zoo keepers noticed that they were in every way a matched pair they also noticed that they prepared for a baby just like the other penguins. Time after time they were sad until they were given an egg to care for. Just like all families love and care is what matters when creating a family and baby Tango and his two daddies have thrived . My son loved this book and asked me to please go see the penguins when I was in NYC. I didn’t have time to but I wish I had. Their story simplifies a very debated topic and I think it’s a great book not only to explain how all families are different but also how love and care are really what makes a family even for penguins.

Daddy’s_Roommate_cover

Daddy’s Roommate by Micheal Willhoite is a little different from the other books in this list in that the child in the book has a mommy, a daddy ,and daddy also has a roommate. The book was written in 1990 and even though we don’t often hear “roommate” as a euphemism for partner or boyfriend anymore but in 1990 is was probably more common. That aside the book does a good job of explaining what this little boys life is like. Bug catching, reading, scary dreams… it’s pretty average stuff but he has three adults to care for him. I also like that the boy’s parents are divorced which will be something many readers will connect with. The books explanation of what gay means is really simple and perfect for the books audience. I do think that the pictures are dated but I don’t think kids will pick up on that as much as adults will.

 

Are we missing a book you think should be added to the list? Leave a comment and let us know so we can check it out!

Comments

  1. Guinevere says

    Thanks so much for putting this wonderful resource together! We’ve read most of these books, but we’ll be putting library holds on the ones we don’t have! Thank you!

  2. Kate says

    Thank you for putting this list together. It’s such a gorgeously diverse range.
    My wife and I got married about 18 months ago and overheard a conversation between our niece and nephew (both 5 at the time) where our niece laughed when our nephew said we were getting married and said 2 girls can’t get married, and our nephew replied of course they can, you can marry whoever you love, in a very proud and grownup voice :)
    We’re trying to start our own family at the moment and all of these books will be on our reading list (when the time comes!).
    It really made me happy to see that you’re advocating diversity in this way – so thank you.

    • Allison McDonald says

      My pleasure. Best of luck as you venture into parenthood, I was so stressed when we were trying to start our family but it was all worth it.

  3. Diana says

    Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU for this awesome resource list! Quite often I print your lists of books and post them outside my classroom door as a resource for my families!

  4. patty slattery says

    what a surprise to wake up and see this book list.and BRAVO! for your comment/disclaimer that the list is not for everyone- it is for the kids. and more power to you for staying strong and posting what you believe is right. i love your sight.
    and my family (of 2 moms and twins) will definitely find the list useful.

    • Allison McDonald says

      Thank you Patty. I don’t usually write from such a personal stance but feel very strongly about the need for diversity in books as well as acceptance.

  5. Amy says

    Thanks for this list. It can be hard to say something that you know is going to upset some people, but it probably pales in comparison the courage needed to be who you are, especially if who you are is “different.”

  6. Agnieszka says

    I’ve subscribed to your blog only recently but I absolutely love it! My family consists of mommy, daddy and a precious 22 month old, but when my little girl gets older I intend to educate her about all the diversity in the world and how to be embrace it. Good to know there are so many great books out there! Thanks!

  7. says

    I love this! My white, straight, middle class family needs all the help we can get introducing our kids to diversity. The only book on here we’ve read is And Tango makes Three, which also works to normalize adoption.

    • Allison McDonald says

      I could have written this comment. My family is so far from diverse, and our community while accepting is still very homogenous. It was one of the concerns I had about moving to the area I live in vs staying in Seattle proper. I try but it’s a challenge, but books are amazing and I turn to the library often when I am trying to expose my children to more diversity.

  8. Kristina says

    Kudos to you for posting this list! It breaks my heart to read that some of your followers ask to be removed from the list – even if they disagree with the books in this specific post, their children would benefit so much from everything else you post!

    It makes me so sad that many people are not accepting of others, but educating people is the first step to changing this problem, and your book post helps with that. Thank you so much!

    • Allison McDonald says

      Thank you Kristina.

      I am hopeful today, far fewer subscribers left this year than last. Part of me thinks those people are the ones that need to know where to find this resource and I hope they know that if they ever need it or help finding more that I will be here.

  9. says

    It’s so sad that this is even an issue. Do your thing, mama. I live in a big city so this is hardly an issue, though surprisingly still is in some pockets. Thanks for the book list. I’m sure it’ll help a ton of people.

  10. Melinda says

    While these aren’t books that I would choose to read to my kids, I appreciate that you include such a large variety of topics. Just because I (or someone else) might not have a need for a topic such as this, doesn’t mean that there aren’t many out there that do.

  11. says

    Allison, I’ve long looked to you as my go-to resource on children’s literature. I am looking forward to the day when we no longer even need lists like this because diversity in family life and of individuals living out who they are is jut NORMAL. But until that day comes, thank you for leading us with this list. So much gratitude for these writers, too. And the publishers who take a chance on them as well!

  12. says

    My kids love reading What Makes a Baby, an inclusive book about how babies come to different families. I’m currently pregnant and they bring out the book all the time to show people what stage “our” baby is at, but assure people it should not be purple when it is born! Awesome resource you have created here.

  13. says

    I agree with Nina, it is sad this list is an issue. Even if I don’t agree about an issue, everyone should be allowed to believe what they want, without experiencing negativity. And we live in a very white bread community, so I talk a lot about different types of families with my kids. I don’t want them afraid to talk to me if either of them discover they are LGBT.

  14. Colleen says

    Thanks Allison! I used your last list to buy books for my nephew, who has two moms. My own children are always trying to find ways to relate to the characters in their favourite books, and I wanted my nephew to have stories in which his two moms aren’t an issue – that’s just the way it is. Every child deserves to see their normal life represented in literature. Mommy, Mama and Me was a great find for us, and I’ll look through your new recommendations at the library too. Much appreciated!

  15. says

    Bravo! I have always had respect for your blog (and how you conduct yourself in social media) but this just made you a star in my book. I wish it didn’t have to take such bravery to be a kind, accepting, and helping person, but it does, and its wonderful to see other bloggers supporting the LGBT community and being willing to stand in solidarity with them in the discrimination that they face.
    One day the readers who unsubscribe and leave poor comments will realize that they were on the wrong side of history.

  16. Amanda says

    Thank you for such a wonderful post. As a grown (29) child of two moms, I would have loved to have books like these growing up. I can’t wait to add some of these selection to my own daughter’s collection and keep this list on tap for my classroom.

    • Allison McDonald says

      Thank you Amanda for taking the time to comment. It means a lot so does knowing that this list might be of use to you as a mom and teacher!

  17. Laura says

    So glad to see Everywhere Babies on this list! My whole family loves that book. So much diversity of all kinds – family structure, race, breastfeeding/bottlefeeding… And it took a while, but I can now read it without tearing up at the “for trying so hard, for traveling so far” line, ha!

    • Allison McDonald says

      I know the whole book by heart. My daughter got the book for her first birthday and 3 years later it’s still read nightly.

  18. Jesse says

    Has anyone seen books with two grannies? Grown daughter of divorced and re-partnered lesbians, so my kids have four grannies on my side of the family alone!

    • Allison McDonald says

      I haven’t found one yet but it doesn’t mean they don’t exist! I would love to have so many grannies. I will see what I can find.

  19. Steph says

    Great list on a touchy subject for some. Kudos to you for being brace and posting it anyway! I would LOVE to see more lists on cultural diversity for my classroom also. I love your blog and use it often, thank-you!

  20. Joy says

    Our school and classroom libraries must present both windows (looking into cultures/experiences different than your own) and mirrors (stories that reflect your own experience). These titles provide that for our kids. One additional suggestion: Delacorte Books is publishing The Misadventures of the Family Fletcher by Dana Alison Levy on July 22, 2014. It’s a chapter book about a family of two dads and their four adopted boys. It’s gotten great advance press and is described as funny, lovable, and in the tradition of The Penderwicks and Ramona Quimby. I’m eager to read that one and share it with my class!

  21. Anna Schatzman says

    Where are the books that say to love but also protects the belief systems of those of us who choose to disagree with this lifestyle but choose to love the person?

    I want my children to learn to love in a way that surpasses even their own understanding. But I also want them to know that according to our families beliefs, marriage is sacred and should be reserved for man and woman.

    I see all of the comments here and don’t see any from this perspective. I feel someone as passionate as you are in acceptance can appreciate my perspective as well.

    • Allison McDonald says

      Honestly Anna I do appreciate that you and many others hold this viewpoint. But I am quite passionately against it. I don’t support that belief because I don’t think that you need to protect it. All other books I have reviewed depict heterosexual couples just the inclusion of that as the norm is doing the “protecting”. If anyone needs to be protected it’s those marginalized not those doing the marginalization.

      I welcome you to find the books and link it here and I would not delete it. I accept that there are people who believe that you can “love the sinner but hate the sin” but in my heart there is no sin to love in these cases. Love is not a sin.

  22. Dana says

    Hi! I found this link through a friend’s Facebook page. While I am not a subscriber to this blog, I do happen to be the mommy to two little boys (almost 3 and 3 months old) who also have a mama! This list is amazing and many of these books are already in our library at home! We are just beginning to navigate the family differences with our older son, so lists like these can only help to build acceptance for the kiddos! I just wanted to say thank you for having the courage and passion to post this list – families like mine are so grateful for people like you!

  23. says

    “I Am Jazz” by Jessica Herthel was recently published and would be a great addition to this list. It’s the story of a transgendered child and was done in a very simple and touching way.

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