LGBTQ Inclusive Children’s Books February 27, 2019 – Posted in: Book News
A friend told me that he and his same-sex partner frequently get asked questions like “And where is Lucy’s Mummy?” by other children in their daughter’s school. They are not offended by those questions and are glad the children are interested, but their daughter admits that it does get boring after a while.
The fact is that most children aren’t aware of LGBTQ people around them, until they actually meet them, so it is helpful to introduce this with books. Many books about LGBTQ are very topical, they want to educate. But there are also many other books that feature LGBTQ people – books that are really good stories, where LGBTQ is sometimes the main focus, and sometimes just a part of the story. Just like in real life.
We list some of these books in this blog post, although there are many more, especially for teenagers, so do let us know of any other titles you’ve enjoyed and should be included here.
And Tango Makes Three Roy and Silo are just like the other penguin couples at the zoo – they bow to each other, walk together and swim together. But Roy and Silo are a little bit different – they’re both boys. Then, one day, when Mr Gramzay the zookeeper finds them trying to hatch a stone, he realises that it may be time for Roy and Silo to become parents for real.
Aalfred and Aalbert Aardvarks Aalfred and Aalbert both need a pal. But Aalfred sleeps in the day, and Aalbert sleeps at night. How will they ever get the chance to meet? Bird conjures up a series of sillier and sillier schemes to get the two aardvarks into the same place, but their paths simply refuse to cross. Until one day, when they find each other in the most unexpected way – and now Aalfred and Aalbert will never lose each other again.
The Girl with Two Dads Matilda is a new girl at Pearl’s school, but there’s something really different and cool about her family – she has TWO dads! Pearl is sure that Matilda’s family must be very different to her own but, as they become friends, she starts to discover that maybe Matilda’s family aren’t so different after all …
Introducing Teddy Errol and his teddy, Thomas, are best friends who do everything together, every day holds something fun to do together. One sunny day, Errol finds that Thomas the Teddy is sad, and Errol can’t figure out why. Then Thomas the Teddy finally tells Errol what Teddy has been afraid to say: ‘In my heart, I’ve always known that I’m a girl teddy, not a boy teddy. I wish my name was Tilly.’ And Errol says, ‘I don’t care if you’re a girl teddy or a boy teddy! What matters is that you are my friend.’ A sweet and gentle story about being true to yourself and being a good friend.
Julian Is a Mermaid While riding the subway home with his Nana one day, Julian notices three women spectacularly dressed up. Their hair billows in brilliant hues, their dresses end in fishtails, and their joy fills the train carriage. When Julian gets home, daydreaming of the magic he’s seen, all he can think about is dressing up just like the ladies and making his own fabulous mermaid costume. But what will Nana think about the mess he makes – and even more importantly – what will she think about how Julian sees himself?
Frockodile When the hyenas laugh at Cliff, he pretends he’s dressing up for a play. But no play exists! Luckily his friend Freddy comes to the rescue and creates a show for Cliff to star in. But what will his dad say when he sees him? Celebrating acceptance and being who you really are, this joyful story is about Cliff, the crocodile who wants to wear a dress.
The Boy in the Dress Dennis was different. Why was he different, you ask? Well, a small clue might be in the title of this book … Dennis lives in a boring house in a boring street in a boring town. But he’s about to find out that when you open your mind, life becomes anything but boring! You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, and once you meet Dennis he’ll live with you forever …
The Lotterys Plus One Meet the Lotterys: a unique and diverse family featuring four parents, seven kids and five pets – all living happily together in their big old house, Camelottery. Nine-year-old Sumac is the organizer of the family and is looking forward to a long summer of fun. But when their grumpy and intolerant grandad comes to stay, everything is turned upside down. How will Sumac and her family manage with another person to add to their hectic lives?
Starring Kitty Kitty’s keeping secrets. Like how she’s struggling to cope with her mum’s illness. And how she’s falling for the girl with the purpley-red hair … A fun film competition with her friends Sunny and Hannah seems like the perfect distraction. But then Dylan wants to be more than Kitty’s secret. Is Kitty ready to let her two worlds meet or will she risk losing Dylan forever?
To Night Owl from Dogfish Avery (Night Owl) is bookish, intense, likes to plan ahead, and is afraid of many things. Bett (Dogfish) is fearless, outgoing, and lives in the moment. What they have in common is that they are both twelve years old, and their dads are dating each other. Bett and Avery are sent, against their will, to the same camp for the summer vacation. Their dads hope that they will find common ground and become friends – and possibly, one day, even sisters. Against all odds, the girls soon can’t imagine a life without each other. But when the worst happens, and their dads break up, Avery and Bett must figure out a way to get them to fall in love again. Is keeping a family together as easy as they think it is?
George When people look at George, they think they see a boy. But she knows she’s not a boy. She knows she’s a girl. George thinks she’ll have to keep this a secret forever. Then her teacher announces that their class play is going to be Charlotte’s Web. George really, really, REALLY wants to play Charlotte. But the teacher says she can’t even try out for the part … because she’s a boy. With the help of her best friend Kelly, George comes up with a plan. Not just so she can be Charlotte – but so everyone can know who she is, once and for all.
Queer Heroes This beautiful, bold book celebrates the achievements of LGBTQ+ people through history and from around the world. It features dynamic full-colour portraits of a diverse selection of 52 inspirational role models accompanied by short biographies that focus on their incredible successes. From Freddie Mercury’s contribution to music, Emma González’s brave and powerful message, Leonardo da Vinci’s artistic legend, Harvey Milk’s refusal to stay quiet and so many more inspiring queer heroes and icons and their tapestry of stories. Published to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising, this extraordinary book will show children that anything is possible.
Drama Callie loves theater. And while she would totally try out for her middle school’s production of Moon Over Mississippi, she’s a terrible singer. Instead she’s the set designer for the stage crew, and this year she’s determined to create a set worthy of Broadway on a middle-school budget. But how can she, when she doesn’t know much about carpentry, ticket sales are down, and the crew members are having trouble working together? Not to mention the onstage AND offstage drama that occurs once the actors are chosen, and when two cute brothers enter the picture, things get even crazier!
My Brother’s Name Is Jessica Sam Waver’s life has always been pretty quiet. A bit of a loner, he struggles to make friends, and his busy parents often make him feel invisible. Luckily for Sam, his older brother, Jason, has always been there for him. Sam idolises Jason, who seems to have life sorted – he’s kind, popular, amazing at football, and girls are falling over themselves to date him. But then one evening Jason calls his family together to tell them that he’s been struggling with a secret for a long time. A secret which quickly threatens to tear them all apart. His parents don’t want to know and Sam simply doesn’t understand. Because what do you do when your brother says he’s not your brother at all? That he thinks he’s actually … your sister?
The Whispers Before she disappeared, Riley’s mama used to tell him stories about the Whispers, mysterious creatures with the power to grant wishes. Riley wishes for lots of things. He wishes his secret crush Dylan liked him back. He wishes the bumbling detective would stop asking awkward questions. But most of all he wishes his mother would come home … Four months later, the police are no closer to finding out the truth – and Riley decides to take matters into his own hands. But do the Whispers really exist? And what is Riley willing to do to find out?
Books for Teenagers
To Be Perfectly Honest Uncovering a family secret, Gracie decides she’s had enough of lies and pledges to be completely honest to everybody she meets. For fifty days, nothing but 100% brutal honesty at all times. But total honesty doesn’t always go down well when you’ve got a family dinner to go to, a job interview to get through and a new girlfriend to impress. And when Gracie finally goes too far, she realises she’s going to have to think creatively if she’s going to put things right.
Flying Tips for Flightless Birds Twins Finch and Birdie Franconi are stars of the flying trapeze. But when Birdie suffers a terrifying accident, Finch must team up with the geeky new kid, Hector Hazzard, to form an all-boys double act and save the family circus school. Friendship, first love, freaking out … it’s a lot for two confused clowns to juggle. Can Finch face up to his feelings and take the most daring leap of all?
Noah Can’t Even Poor Noah Grimes! His father disappeared years ago, his mother’s Beyonce tribute act is an unacceptable embarrassment, and his beloved gran is no longer herself. He only has one friend, Harry, and school is … well, it’s pure hell. Why can’t Noah be normal, like everyone else at school? Maybe if he struck up a romantic relationship with someone – maybe Sophie, who is perfect and lovely – he’d be seen in a different light? But Noah’s plans are derailed when Harry kisses him at a party. That’s when things go from bad to utter chaos.
Heartstopper (Volume 1) Charlie and Nick are at the same school, but they’ve never met … until one day when they’re made to sit together. They quickly become friends, and soon Charlie is falling hard for Nick, even though he doesn’t think he has a chance. But love works in surprising ways, and Nick is more interested in Charlie than either of them realised. Boy meets boy, boys become friends, boys fall in love in this graphic novel.
Simon vs. the Homosapiens Agenda Simon Spier is sixteen and trying to work out who he is – and what he’s looking for. But when one of his emails to the very distracting Blue falls into the wrong hands, things get all kinds of complicated. Because, for Simon, falling for Blue is a big deal … It’s a holy freaking huge awesome deal.
Things a Bright Girl Can Do Through rallies and marches, in polite drawing rooms and freezing prison cells and the poverty-stricken slums of the East End, three courageous young women join the fight for the vote. But the fight for freedom will challenge Evelyn, May and Nell more than they ever could believe. As war looms, just how much are they willing to sacrifice?
Skylarks Keep your head down and don’t borrow trouble is the motto Joni lives by, and so far it’s seen her family through some tough times. It’s not as if she has the power to change anything important anyway. Like Dad’s bad back, or the threat of losing their house. So when Annabel breezes into her life, Joni’s sure they’re destined to clash. Pretty, poised, privileged – the daughter of the richest family in town must have it easy. But sometimes you find a matching spirit where you least expect it. Sometimes love can defy difference. And sometimes life asks you to be bigger and braver.
The Love & Lies of Rukhsana Ali Rukhsana Ali is used to keeping secrets from her parents: parties, crop tops, makeup and, hardest of all, her girlfriend Ariana. If she can just hold out for another few months, she’ll be away from her parents’ ever-watchfull eyes at uni, where she can finally be herself. But when she is caught kissing Ariana, all the truths come out. Her devastated parents send her to Bangladesh, where she is thrown into a world of tradition and arranged marriages. As she learns more about her family’s past, will she find the courage to take control of her future?
PROUD A stirring, bold and moving anthology of stories and poetry by top LGBTQ+ YA authors and new talent, giving their unique responses to the broad theme of pride. Each story has an illustration by an artist identifying as part of the LGBTQ+ community. A celebration of LGBTQ+ talent, PROUD is a thought-provoking, funny, emotional read.