The stories we read children play a large part in influencing their childhoods, worldviews and values. Good literature helps children make sense of the world around them, learn about their own communities as well as how other people around the world live. Further than simply teaching children about how things are, great stories can spark imaginations, and inspire children to create realities they would like to see played out in the world.
LGBTQ+ children’s literature is powerful and important genre for ALL children and families. LGBTQ+ children’s books teach children about human rights and humanitarian values. They encourage children to be inclusive, empathetic and treat everyone with respect. As well as provide education and exploration of important topics like identity and gender. LGBTQ+ children’s book can also increase self-esteem by teaching children how to positively view their identities and how to value everyone around them.
Books are more than bedtime time rituals, they are tools that shape minds, communities and societies.
Here are 9 LGBTQ children’s books that should be on every child’s shelf!
1.Mommy, Mama, and Me – By Leslea Newman
A sweet rhythmic tale about what life is like to be raised and loved by two moms. This is the first book we’ve ever read that used two distinctive mom titles – Mommy and Mama. This book is not only normalizing for children but for LGBTQ+ parents too.
2. Daddy, Papa, and Me – By Leslea Newman
Another rhythmic story who about the day in the life of a toddler with his two dad family. One of our favorite takeaways from this book was how the daddies were portrayed a holistic nurturers. Not just “fun dads” but skilled parents nurturing their “whole child” in every way.
3. Jerome By Heart – By Thomas Scotto
Is a story about the straightforwardness and intensity of childhood friendships. In this tender story we learn about a boy Raphael’s deep love adoration for his friend Jerome. Beyond containment and ability to name his feelings Raphael page by page unselfconsciously offers poetic descriptions of pure love for his friend. When Raphael finds himself scolded by his parents for talking about Jerome Raphael says “Dad’s voice is like sharp fish bones in my hot chocolate.”
Untainted by social judgements or labels. Raphael doesn’t understand how he what he feels in his heart could be scold-able. After going to his room to contemplate what his Dad has said, Raphael concludes Raphael loves Jerome. I can say it. It’s easy.” We see Raphael takes solace in the love fills his heart and shrugs off social perceptions of his feelings. This book is a poetic and tender treasure everyone should read.
4. Donovan’s Big Day – By Leslea Newman
Is a book about a family celebrating an important day. The book follows Donovan as he prepares to be the ring barer at his moms’ wedding. This book does a wonderful job of touching on the topic of same sex marriage and demonstrating the relatability of the day for any child. Although he has a big job to do, just like any other day Donovan has to brush his teeth, feed his dog and mind his grandparents. Donovan’s big day is a story about love and being a part of family from the point of view of a child.
5. Heather Has Two Mommies – By Leslea Newman
Is a cheerful story about a little girl named Heather who goes to school for the first time. During her first day of school a little boy asks Heather “What does your Daddy do?” the teacher then asks the class to draw pictures of their families. The children go on to learn together that “Each family is special. The most important thing about a family is that all the people in it love each other.” If you enjoy smiling, read this book.
6. Are You a Boy or Are You a Girl? – By Sarah Savage + Fox Fisher
This one of a kind book that helps children think critically about gender constructs and identity. Via Tiny’s – the main characters – experience starting at a new school and being asked repeatedly if they are “a boy or a girl”, readers are presented with a variety of relatable examples of gender expression, gender roles and stereotypes. Our favourite part of the book is the last page where the authors’ offer a few very thoughtful reflection questions for readers that promote respect and kindness.
“Does it matter is Tiny is a boy or a girl?”
“Would you play with Tiny?”
This book is a sensitive and powerful educational resource on gender, every child NEEDS to read.
7. Sparkle Boy – By Leslea Newman
Is a refreshing message about acceptance and the courage to follow your own compass and be yourself. In the story ‘Sparkle Boy’ is challenged repeatedly by his older sister Jessie for his requests to wear shimmery objects like she is wearing. After standing his ground and staying being true to who he is Casey eventually earns the respect and acceptance of his harshest critic, his sister. Great message for any child about the strength and gifts in being true to yourself.
8.Pride: The Story of Harvey Milk and the Rainbow Flag – By Rob Sanders
Is a moving story about our communities history and the origin of the pride flag. In this empowering true story readers are brought along the journey of the Gay Pride Flag and introduced to gay rights activists Harvey Milk and Gilbert Baker. It’s stirring story of challenge, triumph and the power of hope.
“Hope for a better world, hope for a better tomorrow. . . .”
An essential LGBTQ children’s book all children NEED to read.
9. Pink Is for Boys – By Robb Pearlman
Warning! This book brought tears to our eyes. Mostly we because we couldn’t help but imagine what the heart and worldview a child who reads this book might be like. The illustrations and exuberantly joyful and filled with the most diversity we’ve seen to date in a children’s book. Paired with its sweet and simple message: Colors are for everything and everyone. This book encourages children to not limit themselves, but to delight in and explore the whole spectrum of colors, objects and activities.
Ok here’s the deal, we believe SO strongly that each of these books should be on every child’s shelf, that we’ve partnered with the authors and publishers to give away a copy of each of these books to one lucky winner. That’s right you can win this complete LGBTQ+ children’s library for your home or child’s classroom.
All you have to do is:
1. Post this image and caption on your IG:
“I believe LGBTQ+ children’s books are for everyone. If you do too, REGRAM this image + caption and TAG three other parent friends and you could win a copy of these 9 LGBTQ+ children’s books:
2. Tag @afamilyco and three other parent friends in the post.
The winner will be notified via Instagram direct message by July 7th 2018. If the winner cannot be reached within (3) business days of the date notified, another winner will be contacted. So keep an eye on your DM’s.
Good luck everyone!
Featured Image | @dustin_patrick_smith