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8 LGBTQ-Friendly Books to Read to Your Child So They Can See Beyond Gender Stereotypes
PHOTO BY courtesy of Common Sense Media
  • Kids are naturally curious and it’s sometimes hard for parents to keep up with all their questions, not to mention figure out how best to answer the most difficult ones. Perhaps one of the hardest is when they start wondering about gender identities. When they ask, “Mama, why does that man dress like a girl?” or “Mama, why does my classmate have two moms?” we must think of ways to make them understand without passing judgment.

    That’s where children’s books can help. We want our kids to know that there are many kinds of people and that they should learn to accept these differences, and books explain it in a child-friendly manner. If you want to raise your kids to see beyond gender stereotypes and teach them about different kinds of families, here are some titles to look into.

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    8 LGBTQ children’s books you can read with your child

    From books with main characters who are LGBTQ or still figuring out their sexual orientations, to stories of straight kids or teens with gay friends or parents, these books portray many aspects of the LGBTQ experience for kids as young as 3.

    Recommended for ages 3 and older

    Heather Has Two Mommies

    This is an updated version of the classic story originally published in 1989.
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    25 years after its controversial debut, this updated version of a now-classic tale of a little girl with same-sex parents comes across as a sweet, gentle message of inclusion and acceptance.

    Introducing Teddy: A Gentle Story About Gender and Friendship

    Authored by Jessica Walton, illustrated by Dougal MacPherson

    This is a sweet and gentle story about being true to yourself and being a good friend.
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    This sensitively written book about a transgender teddy bear is done with just the right hand to introduce the idea of gender identity and transition to very young kids, for whom less may be more.

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    Recommended for ages 4 and older

    Harriet Gets Carried Away

    Authored and illustrated by Jessie Sima

    On her birthday, Harriet gets spirited away by penguins.
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    In one seamless story, this book introduces an exuberant multiracial girl who has two dads, sends her on a fantastic hot-air balloon journey with penguins, and throws her a rollicking rooftop party.

    I Am Jazz

    Authored by Jessica Herthel and Jazz Jennings, illustrated by Shelagh McNicholas

    This book is based on the real life-story of Jazz Jennings.
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    This autobiographical picture book about a transgender child chronicles the story of her life (so far); in her words, "I have a girl brain but a boy body." This is an excellent choice to jump-start a conversation about gender, identify, compassion, and honesty.

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    Jacob’s New Dress

    Authored by Sarah Hoffman and Ian Hoffman, illustrated by Chris Case

    This book tells your child it's okay to be whoever you want to be.
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    This cheery book about a confident young boy who feels best when he's wearing a dress is a terrific way for parents to start a conversation with kids feeling their way through unfamiliar terrain.

    And Tango Makes Three

    Authored by Justin Richardson, Peter Parnell, illustrated by Henry Cole

    A story that teaches acceptance.
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    And Tango Makes Three is a powerful, gentle story of two male penguins who fall in love at the zoo and together nurture and parent another penguin couple's offspring from the time it's an egg.

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    Worm Loves Worm

    Authored by J.J. Austrian, illustrated by Mike Curato

     

    This book celebrates love in all its forms.
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    Whether you read this as a smart take on same-sex marriage and changing gender norms or a celebration of free and kindred spirits, Worm Loves Worm is irresistible.

    Home at Last

    Authored by Vera B. Williams, illustrated by Chris Raschka

     

    This book touches on themes of adoption and fatherhood.
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    This sensitive portrait of a loving and recognizably human family, in which school-age Lester is adopted by Daddy Albert and Daddy Rich, has clear adoption and LGBTQ themes, but the feelings will be recognizable to any kid who's felt anxiety.

    For more books for kids and teens about the LBGTQ experience, check out the full list at Common Sense Media.

    Common Sense Media is an independent nonprofit organization offering unbiased ratings and trusted advice to help families make smart media and technology choices. Check out its ratings and recommendations at www.commonsense.org and sign up for its newsletter to read more articles like this.

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