Pride Month is increasingly a family affair. The Pride celebrations that occur from coast to coast to coast include events for adults, and political actions, but also Family Pride days and parades that can be attended by revellers of all ages.
At the same time, curriculums at schools across Canada are now including discussions about homosexuality, gender identity, and LGBTQ rights. And many kids will have someone in their class who has two mommies or two daddies, or who is transgender—or they may be that student themselves.
For all these reasons, it’s important to introduce young children to LGBTQ-related topics in ways that are age appropriate, or to allow themselves to see their lives reflected back at them. Picture books are a great way to do that. Fortunately there are a lot of great ones available today that include sexuality and gender identity in their stories in engaging ways. Here are just a few of the many you can find in local bookstores.
10 great LGBTQ picture books for kids
ABC: A Family Alphabet Book, by Bobbie CombsThis sweet book is a great introduction to both the alphabet and to LGBTQ families, as they are used in its illustrations. It's a wonderful way to make sure even the youngest readers see non-heteronormative family representation.Indigo
And Tango Makes Three, by Marsha RakestrawThis heartwarming story about two male penguins who just want to raise an egg of their very own—to the point of adopting egg "rocks" they try to hatch—has become an enduring children's lit classic, despite frequent school and library challenges.Indigo
Call Me Tree, by Maya Christina GonzalezA sweet story of self discovery, this bilingual book about connecting with both nature and yourself will resonate with gender non-conforming children. Its story about our shared humanity can be interpreted several different ways, giving it wide appeal.Indigo
King and King, by Linda de HaanPrince is not yet married, much to his mother Queen's consternation. An undertaking to bring several eligible princesses to the castle does result in a wedding—and it's a happy one, even if it's not what Queen had originally planned for.Indigo
It's Okay to Be Different, by Todd ParrThe ways that people are different can seem, to some, more overwhelming than the things we have in common, but Parr's simple book with colourful illustrations is a great way to remind kids that differences are worth celebrating.Indigo
Introducing Teddy, by Jessica WaltonThis story of a boy and his teddy is a lovely way to introduce young children to the idea of gender identity. Errol's bear Thomas is sad because he knows in his heart that he is a girl bear, but Errol reassures him that all that ultimately matters is their friendship.Indigo
Be Who You Are, by Jennifer CarrThis picture book, which looks at the process of coming out as trans, will be useful both for trans kids themselves and non-trans readers. Trans children will see themselves and their journey reflected in the book's pages, but all kids can benefit from this story of acceptance and support.Indigo
A Tale of Two Mommies, by Vanita OelschlagerIf you have two mommies, who does what? This book answers that innocent question from a child. Kids will love thinking about how their own family is similar to or different from the one in this book, and the colourful illustrations will be a hit.Indigo
I Am Jazz, by Jessica Herthel and Jazz JenningsTeen television personality Jazz Jennings recounts her own story of transitioning in this picture book for younger children. The simple language and real-life story make an unfamiliar topic accessible for both kids and their caretakers. For older kids, Jazz has an autobiography, Being Jazz.Indigo
Daddy, Papa, and Me, by Leslea NewmanToddlers love to see their lives reflected in books, and this one ensures that happens for those who happen to have two dads. This simple story, with gentle illustrations, goes through the familiar rituals of a young child's day in a way that all kids will recognize.Indigo