Children’s books with LGBTQ themes and characters can serve as windows and mirrors for our students. They can serve as a valuable source of validation for LGBTQ2+ kiddos or kids with LGBTQ2+ families. They can also help kids learn about families that are different from theirs. 

While talking with a colleague lately, I realized that most of the LGBTQ2+ characters in my classroom library were male. I went on a quest to collect a more broad array of children’s books with LGBTQ+ characters, and this is what I found!

I will note that I have not read a good chunk of these. Those that either I or my students enjoyed will be bolded. Click the photos to visit an Instagram review of the book.

At this point, a significant majority of these characters are white and able-bodied. I would love to change that to provide more thorough representation. Please share recommendations for other children’s books with LGBTQ themes and characters! Comment on a post, send me a message on Facebook, or DM me on Instagram. I would also love some non-fiction books about LGBTQ2+ people and rights in Canadian history or globally, since a lot of the titles I found were based in the United States.

Happy reading!

Fiction Picture Books

Contemporary Fiction Children's Books with LGBTQ characters, but not about being LGBTQ2+

  • Uncle Bobby’s Wedding, by Sara S. Brannen (Protagonists’ uncles are gay – be sure to get the 2020 reprint where the characters are humans, because the 2008 original featured animals)
  • Grandad’s Camper, by Harry Woodgate (Protagonists’ grandpa is gay)
  • Harriet Gets Carried Away, by Jessie Sima (Protagonist’s dads are gay)
  • Home at Last by Vera B. Williams and Chris Raschka (Protagonist’s dads are gay)
Fairy Tales with LGBTQ themes
  • Prince & Knight by Daniel Haack (male protagonist marries a male)
  • The Bravest Knight Who Ever Lived by Derrick Errico (male protagonist marries a male)
  • Maiden & Princess, by Daniel Haack and Isabel Galup (two females fall in love)
Children's books with LGBTQ themes that are central to the plot
  • A Boy Named Penelope, by Jodie Peterson (protagonist is a transgender boy)
  • A Family is a Family is a Family, by Sara O’Leary (includes several kinds of families, including LGBTQ2+ and foster families)
  • Ritu Weds Chandni, by Ameya Narvankar (protagonist’s cousin marries a female)
  • What Are Your Words? A Boog About Pronouns, by Katherine Locke
  • Stella Brings the Family, by Mariam Schiffer (protagonist has two dads)
  • Plenty of Hugs, by Fran Manushkin (a toddler and two moms)
  • Mommy, Mamma, and Me, by Lesléa Newman
  • My Maddy, by Gayle E. Pitman (Protagonist’s parent is non-binary)

Non-fiction Picture Books/(Auto)biographies

  • And Tango Makes Three, by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell
  • Ho’Onani: Hula Warrior, by Heather Gale
  • A Church for All, by Gale E. Pitman
  • When You Look Out the Window: How Phyllis Lyon and Del Martin Built a Community, by Gale E. Pitman
  • Stonewall: A Building, An Uprising, A Revolution, by Rob Sanders
  • Drawing on Walls: A Story of Keith Haring, by Matthew Burgess
  • Keith Haring: The Boy Who Just Kept Drawing, by Kay Haring
  • Titles from the Little People, Big Dreams Series including, Frida Kahlo, Billie Jean King, Andy Warhol, Megan Rapinoe, Ru Paul, Elton John, and Alan Turing
  • Pride: The Story of Harvey Milk and the Rainbow Flag, by Rob Sanders
  • Mayor Pete: The Story of Pete Buttigieg, by Rob Sanders
  • Two Grooms on a Cake, by Rob Sanders
  • I Am Jazz by Jazz Jennings
  • The People of Pride series
  • Stich by Stich: Cleeve Jones and the Aids Memorial Quilt, by Rob Sanders
  • My Rainbow, DeShanna Neal and Trinity Neal

Longer Non-Fiction Biographies and Autobiographies

  • Rainbow Revolutionaries: 50 LGBTQ+ People Who Made History, by Sarah Prager
  • Queer Heroes: Meet 53 LGBTQ Heroes from Past and Present!, by Arabelle Sicardi
  • Titles from the Who Was/Who Is series including Elton John, Ru Paul, Andy Warhol, Harvey Milk, and Sally Ride

Misc. Non-Fiction Titles

  • Pride: The Celebration and the Struggle, by Robin Stevenson
  • The Art of Drag, by Jake Hall
  • Rainbow Revolutions: Power, Pride, and Protest in the Fight for Queer Rights, Jamie Lawsom

Novels

Elementary (recommended by Kirkus for 12 and under)
  • The Best Man, by Richard Peck (protagonist’s uncle marries the protagonist’s male teacher)
  • Millionaires for the Month, by Stacey McAnulty (one of the protagonist’s sisters marries a woman)
  • The Witch Boy series, by Molly Ostertag (a graphic novel with good discussions to be had about gender roles. My students saw the protagonist as transgender)
  • The Pants Project, by Cat Clarke (protagonist is transgender and has two moms)
  • Hurricane Child, by Kheryn Callender (female protagonist has a crush on a girl)
  • Captain Underpants and the Sensational Saga of Sir Stinks-A-Lot, by Dav Pilkey (in a flash-forward, George is pictured with a husband)
  • Riding Freedom, by Pam Muñoz Ryan (protagonist is transgender)
  • The Misfits series, including The Misfits, Totally Joe, Addy on the Inside, and Also Known As Elvis, by James Howe (a character is gay)
  • Ana on the Edge, by A.J. Sass (protagonist is a transgender boy)
  • The Derby Daredevil series, by Kit Rosewater (one of the character’s dad’s is transgender)
Middle-Grade Novels
  • George, by Alex Gino (protagonist is a transgender girl) – Note: The author has asked that people call this book Melissa’s Story
  • The Best At It, by Maulik Pancholy (protagonist is gay)
  • Drama, by Raina Telgemeier (protagonist has gay friends)
  • The Fabulous Zed Watson, by Basil Sylvester (protagonist is non-binary)
  • Better Nate than Never, by Tim Federle
  • Drum Roll, Please, by Lisa Jenn Bigalow (female protagonist has a crush on a girl)
  • Princess Princess Ever After, by Katie O’Neill (two princesses end up together)
  • My Life as a Diamond, by Jenny Manzer (protagonist is a transgender boy)
  • Ashes to Asheville, by Sarah Dooley (A historical fiction book where protagonist has two mothers and is sent to live with a grandparent after one dies because the other is not a blood relative)
  • The Stars Beneath Our Feet, by David Barclay Moore (protagonist’s mom has a female partner)
  • Ivy Aberdeen’s Letter to the World, by Ashley Herring Blake (female protagonist has a crush on a girl)
  • Zenobia July, by Lisa Bunker (protagonist is a transgender girl)
  • The Whispers, by Greg Howard (male protagonist has a crush on a boy)
  • Where the Heart Is, by Jo Knowles (female protagonist is unsure of her sexuality. Fair warning, the Kirkus review of this book is not flattering)
  • Redwood and Ponytail, by K.A. Holt (two female protagonists are in a romantic relationship in this novel in verse)
  • Hurricane Season, by Nicole Melloby (female protagonist has a crush on a girl)
  • The Deep and Dark Blue, by Niki Smith (one of the protagonists is a transgender girl)
  • The Moon Within, by Aida Salazar (protagonist’s friend is xochihuah, genderfluid)
  • The Goldie Vance series, by Lilliam Rivera (protagonist is lesbian or bisexual)
  • Cattywampus, by Ash Van Otterloo (a supporting character has two moms)

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LGBTQ2+ Kids Books: Diverse book lists for elementary kids