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All Ages

24 Great LGBTQIA+ Books for Kids and Teens

by Denise Schipani

There was a time when LGBTQIA+ parents and children had a hard time finding their family’s faces and feelings in the pages of children’s and young adult books. No more. Ever since Heather Has Two Mommies appeared on shelves in 1989, more books, geared to everyone from the youngest tots to questioning tweens and teens (not to mention to their parents), are filling the gap and helping families grow in understanding.

And of course, these books aren’t just for families with a direct connection to LGBTQIA+ issues; everyone can use these books’ messages of unconditional love and acceptance.

  • Love Makes a Family

    by Sophie Beer

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    This book shows that it doesn’t matter what your family looks like, the only thing that makes a family a family, is love! Each page showcases bright illustrations of diverse families doing special activities together, from baking a cake to finding a lost shoe. Your little one will love looking through the pages to see their own family reflected, and of course feel the love your family shares together.
    (Ages 0 – 3)

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  • Families Belong

    by Dan Saks, illustrated by Brooke Smart

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    Families Belong is a sweet look at the unconditional love within a family. The beautiful illustrations and rhyming text of families singing together, reading together, and going on a picnic together, feels like a warm hug. This one will be a comforting favorite for both children and parents.
    (Ages 0 – 3)

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  • My Two Moms and Me

    by Michael Joosten, illustrated by Izak Zenou

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    This sweet board book features a diverse array of families with lesbian mothers going about their daily routines, including playdates, pool-dates, and bedtime reading. Published in 2019 with artwork by an acclaimed fashion illustrator, it’s a welcome follow-up to Heather Has Two Mommies. Don’t miss My Two Dads and Me by the same creators!
    (Ages 0 – 3)

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  • Daddy, Papa, and Me

    by Leslea Newman, illustrated by Carol Thompson

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    Like the above author-illustrator duo, Leslea Newman and Carol Thompson add their unique touch to the rainbow-family compendium with Daddy, Papa, and Me and Mommy, Mama, and Me. Rhythmic text and charming illustrations make these board books a must-have for all families.
    (Ages 0 – 3)

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  • The Adventures of Honey & Leon

    by Alan Cumming, illustrated by Grant Shaffer

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    Theater and film star Alan Cumming and his husband Grant Shaffer were inspired to chronicle the adventures of their rescue dogs during their dads’ travels. It turns out, Honey and Leon tail their dads and rescue them at every turn. Their adventures continue in the Scotland-based sequel, Honey & Leon Take the High Road.
    (Ages 3 – 7)

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  • Julián Is a Mermaid

    by Jessica Love

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    This gorgeous Stonewall Award-winning picture book stars Julián, a child coming to understand their gender nonconformity after a joyful encounter with three women dressed as shimmering mermaids. Julián fantasizes about dressing up like a mermaid too, and wonders what his Abuela will make of it in this celebration of self-love and individuality.
    (Ages 4 – 8)

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  • I Am Jazz

    by Jessica Herthel and Jazz Jennings, illustrated by Shelagh McNicholas

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    With clarity and insight, Jazz Jennings shares her story of realizing at a very young age that, though she was being raised as a boy, she was truly a girl. An essential read for children and families of all experiences, I Am Jazz has an empowering message of celebrating what makes us unique and respecting everyone’s differences.
    (Ages 4 – 8)

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  • I am Billie Jean King

    by Brad Meltzer, illustrated by Christopher Eliopoulos

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    In this illustrated picture book biography, young readers learn about Billy Jean King and her journey to become a world champion tennis player AND a champion for women's rights. She's a great role model for girls, those who identify as part of the LGBTQIA+ community, and anyone who feels like the world doesn’t take them seriously and is out to prove them wrong.
    (Ages 5 – 8)

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  • Pride: The Story of Harvey Milk and the Rainbow Flag

    by Rob Sanders, illustrated by Steven Salerno

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    Young readers can now learn the momentous and inspiring story of the Gay Pride Flag, created in 1978 by social activist Harvey Milk and designer Gilbert Baker. More than a history, Pride vibrantly illuminates the reach and timelessness of the rainbow flag, a global symbol of equality and inclusion.
    (Ages 5 – 8)

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  • Stonewall: A Building, an Uprising, a Revolution

    by Rob Sanders, illustrated by Jamey Christoph

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    Pride author Rob Sanders adds another title to the LGBTQ+ historical canon with Stonewall, the moving story of the 1969 police raid and ensuing protests that played a crucial role in the gay civil rights movement. Narrated by the Stonewall Inn itself, this accessible and empowering book is an essential piece of pride history.
    (Ages 5 – 8)

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  • The Misadventures of the Family Fletcher

    by Dana Alison Levy

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    The Fletchers are no different from any modern American family — four brothers, various pets (some possibly imaginary), soccer, plays, and pesky neighbors. The fact that the fathers are gay and a few of the brothers are adopted? That’s just background, showing readers without telling them that there as many definitions of family as there are families.
    (Ages 8 – 10)

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  • Pride Parade Mad Libs

    by Brandon T. Snider

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    Celebrating Pride has never been so [adjective]! Pride Parade Mad Libs features 21 fill-in-the-blank games all about Pride. From the parade to pioneers who fought for LGBTQIA+ rights and the history of Stonewall, your tween will learn while laughing all the way to the parade!
    (Ages 8 – 12)

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  • Zenobia July

    by Lisa Bunker

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    Zenobia July is a hacking and coding prodigy who’s attending a new school as a girl for the first time. Though she’s recently lost her family of origin, she creates a chosen family in the LGBTQ+ community. Bunker’s also the author of Felix Yz, an imaginative story with several characters who are queer and gender fluid.
    (Ages 10+)

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  • The Whispers

    by Greg Howard

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    A fantastical coming-of-age story about loss, friendship, and identity, The Whispers centers around 11-year-old Riley, who believes in wish-granting fairies known as the whispers. Riley embarks on a journey with his friend Gary to find the whispers and ask for his mom to return, and maybe also for his crush Dylan to like him back.
    (Ages 10+)

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  • Middle School’s a Drag, You Better Werk!

    by Greg Howard

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    Another excellent middle grade novel from the author of The Whispers, this book follows entrepreneurial 12-year-old Mikey Pruitt as he starts his own talent agency and represents clients in the leadup to the big talent show. Among his roster is eighth-grader Julian Vasquez — drag queen name Coco Caliente — who helps Mikey see that he, too, can be openly gay at school.
    (Ages 10+)

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  • To Night Owl From Dogfish

    by Holly Goldberg Sloan and Meg Wolitzer

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    This epistolary novel co-written by two powerhouse authors captures the budding friendship between bookish Avery Bloom and fearless Bett Devlin, whose dads fall in love and send them to sleepaway camp to get to know each other. Witty and heartwarming, To Night Owl From Dogfish subtly portrays two modern families on their way to becoming one.
    (Ages 10+)

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  • I'll Give You the Sun

    by Jandy Nelson

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    When this book came out, it seemed to be on everyone’s To-Read List, and with good reason. I’ll Give You the Sun is the emotional and breathtaking story of twin brothers who no longer speak, and what—if anything—can being them back to each other. You’ll want to read this one too, so you can talk about it together (but you might want some tissues handy!).
    (Young Adult)

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  • We Are Okay

    by Nina Lacour

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    Marin left her old life in California for college in New York without a word to anyone who knew her. Then a visit from Mabel, her former best friend and maybe-something-more, forces Marin to confront the sad and painful memories that led to her leaving everything behind.
    (Young Adult)

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  • Every Day

    by David Levithan

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    A is a teen who wakes up every day in a different body, living a different life. This seems to work for A until he meets Rhiannon and everything changes. David Levithan’s novel is so creative and accurately depicts what it feels like when you don't know where you belong and how grounding it can be to find the people who make you feel like you’re home.
    (Young Adult)

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  • Darius the Great Is Not Okay

    by Adib Khorram

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    Darius, a lonely half-Persian boy with an affinity for Star Trek, travels to Iran to meet his mother’s family for the first time. There, he falls in love: with the city of Yazd, his grandparents, and his new friend, Sohrab.
    (Young Adult)

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  • Girls at the Edge of the World

    by Laura Brooke Robson

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    Set in a world that is coming to an end, this thrilling romantic fantasy follows two girls with a will to survive at any cost. As the end approaches, will they give in to despair, or have they given each other a reason to live?
    (Young Adult)

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  • Beyond the Gender Binary

    by Alok Vaid-Menon, illustrated by Ashley Lukashevsky

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    A poet, artist, and LGBTQIA+ rights advocate, Alok Vaid-Menon, doesn’t see the world in black and white, They see the world in full color! A world where people have the opportunity to express themselves however they want. This book is a great resource, demystifying what it means when gender is malleable and empowering readers to live their most authentic selves.
    (Young Adult)

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  • Juliet Takes a Breath

    by Gabby Rivera

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    Juliet Takes a Breath is a brilliant, funny, and honest journey of self-discovery. When Juliet comes out to her family, it doesn’t go as smoothly as she wanted. She then hopes that an internship opportunity across the country will be the perfect time to figure out everything in her life, only to discover that no one has all the answers. As Juliet delves into what it means to explore her race and identity, she’ll learn how to come out to her family, the world, and herself.
    (Young Adult)

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  • Hot Dog Girl

    by Jennifer Dugan

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    In this quirky and queer rom-com novel set in an amusement park, Lou falls head over heels for Nick the Diving Pirate. Too bad Nick has a girlfriend who is the princess of the park and Lou is, well, a giant dancing hot dog. Things get messy when Lou concocts a scheme to break up the couple, dragging her best friend Seely down with her.
    (Young Adult)

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