October is LGBTQ+ History Month, and TCS is celebrating with a list of pride-themed books for preschool through middle school students chosen by TCS Librarian Callie Benson.
Picture Books for 3’s/4’s – Kindergarten
They She He Me: Free to Be! Gonzalez & Smith-Gonzalez
They She He Me: Free to Be shows many gender presentations under each pronoun and invites even more. A go-to place to help keep the conversations alive, break down assumptions of who is “she” or “he” and expand beyond the binary to include “they” and more.
Best Best Colors,Hoffman
With the help of his two mammas, Nate learns he can have more than one best color and one best friend. Includes activity and teaching ideas.
When Aidan Became a Brother, Lukoff
Aidan, a transgender boy, comes to understand that mistakes can be fixed with honesty and communication, and that he already knows the most important thing about being a big brother: how to love with his whole self.
And Tango Makes Three, Richardson & Parnell
At the penguin house at the Central Park Zoo, two penguins named Roy and Silo were a little bit different from the others. But their desire for a family was the same. And with the help of a kindly zookeeper, Roy and Silo get the chance to welcome a baby penguin of their very own.
Stella Brings the Family, Schiffer
Stella’s class is having a Mother’s Day celebration, but what’s a girl with two daddies to do? It’s not that she doesn’t have someone who helps her with her homework, or tucks her in at night. Stella has her Papa and Daddy who take care of her, and a whole gaggle of other loved ones who make her feel special and supported every day. She just doesn’t have a mom to invite to the party. Fortunately, Stella finds a unique solution to her party problem in this sweet story about love, acceptance, and the true meaning of family.
Picture Books for Grades 1 – 5
I Am Jazz, Herthel
Presents the story of a transgender child who traces her early awareness that she is a girl in spite of male anatomy and the acceptance she finds through a wise doctor who explains her natural transgender status.
Julián is a Mermaid, Love
While riding the subway home from the pool with his abuela one day, Julián notices three women spectacularly dressed up. Their hair billows in brilliant hues, their dresses end in fishtails, and their joy fills the train car. When Julián gets home, daydreaming of the magic he’s seen, all he can think about is dressing up just like the ladies in his own fabulous mermaid costume: a butter-yellow curtain for his tail, the fronds of a potted fern for his headdress. But what will Abuela think about the mess he makes–and even more importantly, what will she think about how Julián sees himself?
Jacob’s New Dress, Hoffman
Jacob, who likes to wear dresses at home, convinces his parents to let him wear a dress to school, too.
This Day in June, Pitman
A picture book illustrating a Pride parade. The endmatter serves as a primer on LGBT history and culture and explains the references made in the story.
It Feels Good to Be Yourself, Thorn
A picture book that introduces the concept of gender identity.
Jack (Not Jackie), Silverman
Susan loves her baby sister, Jackie, but as Jackie grows older and behaves more and more like a boy Susan must adjust to having a brother, Jack, instead.
Novels for Grades 4 – 6
Hurricane Child, Callender
Born on Water Island in the Virgin Islands during a hurricane, which is considered bad luck, twelve-year-old Caroline falls in love with another girl–and together they set out in a hurricane to find Caroline’s missing mother.
The Pants Project, Clarke
Eleven-year-old Liv fights to change the middle school dresscode requiring girls to wear a skirt and, along the way, finds the courage to tell his moms he is meant to be a boy.
Star Crossed, Dee
When Mattie is cast as Romeo in an eighth-grade play, she is confused to find herself increasingly attracted to Gemma, a new classmate who is playing Juliet.
George (Melissa’s Story), Gino
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.
Princess Princess Ever After, O’Neill
When the heroic princess Amira rescues the kind-hearted princess Sadie from her tower prison, neither expects to find a true friend in the bargain. Yet as they adventure across the kingdom, they discover that they bring out the very best in the other person. They’ll need to join forces and use all the know-how, kindness, and bravery they have in order to defeat their greatest foe yet: a jealous sorceress with a dire grudge against Sadie.
The Misadventures of the Family Fletcher, Levy
Relates the adventures of a family with two fathers, four adopted boys, and a variety of pets as they make their way through a school year, kindergarten through sixth grade, and deal with a grumpy new neighbor.
Novels and Nonfiction for Grades 6 – 8
A Queer History of the United States for Young People, Bronski & Chevat
Presents the ways in which LGBTQ+ people have contributed to U.S. history and culture over the past 400 years, using narratives, letters, drawings, poems, and more.
Zenobia July, Bunker
Zenobia July is starting a new life. She used to live in Arizona with her father; now she’s in Maine with her aunts. She used to spend most of her time behind a computer screen, improving her impressive coding and hacking skills; now she’s coming out of her shell and discovering a community of friends at Monarch Middle School. People used to tell her she was a boy; now she’s able to live openly as the girl she always knew she was. When someone anonymously posts hateful memes on her school’s website, Zenobia knows she’s the one with the abilities to solve the mystery, all while wrestling with the challenges of a new school, a new family, and coming to grips with presenting her true gender for the first time.
Felix Ever After, Callender
Felix Love, a transgender seventeen-year-old, attempts to get revenge by catfishing his anonymous bully, but lands in a quasi-love triangle with his former enemy and his best friend.
In a near-future society that claims to have gotten rid of all monstrous people, a creature emerges from a painting seventeen-year-old Jam’s mother created, a hunter from another world seeking a real-life monster.
Totally Joe, Howe
As a school assignment, a thirteen-year-old boy writes an alphabiography–life from A to Z–and explores issues of friendship, family, school, and the challenges of being a gay teenager.
The Best At It, Pancholy
Twelve-year-old Rahul Kapoor, an Indian-American boy growing up in small-town Indiana, struggles to come to terms with his identity, including that he may be gay.
Pride: the Celebration and the Struggle, Stevenson
This book celebrates the diversity of the LGBTQ+ community and focuses on the activism of young people who are committed to fighting for equality and justice around the world.