11 LGBT-inclusive children’s books every parent needs to buy
Thankfully, we’ve now reached a point in history where there are not just LGBT-friendly books for you, but also for your young children.
This World Book Day, cuddle up and enjoy these wonderful pieces of illustrated literature with the little ones.
Here are 11 LGBT children’s book we recommend.
There is no better place to start your child’s educational journey than with this joyous celebration of pride and unity.
As well as displaying all the best which the community has to offer, this book is also full of facts and advice about how to discuss sexual orientations and gender identities with children of different ages. It’s fun for everyone – and a priceless lesson for your kid.
Written and illustrated by the enormously talented Vanda Carter, this book sees its main character wondering what the benefits and drawbacks of having 100 mothers would be – and eventually (spoiler alert) deciding the two she has are just fine.
The normal, uninteresting aspect of the girl’s life is that she has two mothers, which is refreshing.
Carter said she created the book because “one day at bedtime, my daughter said: ‘I wish I had a hundred mummies,’” and the personal connection between author and audience shines through.
A story about two male penguins being given an egg to sit on and protect until it hatches may seem like a simple, fictional analogy for gay adoption – but it’s based on a true story. Two chinstrap penguins, Roy and Silo, got together at New York’s Central Park Zoo, and raised an egg themselves after first trying to hatch a rock.
Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell’s story of love and acceptance topped the most challenged books in public and school libraries in the US after it was released in 2005. Scandalised parents accused the authors of promoting homosexuality and being ‘anti-family’, yet the book continues to be relevant and widely read.
Released just before Valentine’s Day in 2003, this is a tale of a lighthouse keeper, Matt, who waits for his friend Sailor to come back – even though friends think he may never return. Macmillan explicitly described the book as one it hoped would normalise same-sex relationships, which is borne out when the pair finally reunite:
“‘Sailor!’ Matt gasped. ‘You’ve come back!’ He couldn’t believe his eyes. ‘Hello, Sailor!’
Sailor laughed. ‘Did you think I’d forgotten you? I thought we were going to sail round the world together.’
‘Yes,’ cried Matt. ‘I’ve been waiting for you!’ The two friends didn’t know whether to laugh or cry.
They turned round in a circle, to get a better look at one another. It was almost as if they were dancing.
Sailor was back!”
The two men then spend the night with each other, before setting off in the morning to fulfil their dream of sailing around the world together.
Bailey loves being a girl, and dreams of making magical, glorious dresses out of crystals, flowers and windows. There’s only problem: her parents. “You’re a BOY!” her parents repeatedly tell her, misgendering and upsetting Bailey. “You shouldn’t be thinking about dresses at all,” they add.
But by the end of the story, Bailey has befriended Laurel, an older girl who understands and adores her. They end the tale happily making dresses together, as Bailey becomes the girl she always wanted to be.
Filled with beautiful lines like “With all her heart, Bailey loved the dress made of crystals that flashed rainbows in the sun,” 10,000 Dresses will enchant you and your child.
An otherwise unremarkable story about a toddler spending the day with his dads is wonderful exactly because of its joy and simplicity. The family plays hide-and-seek and dresses up in costumes, before a lovely day ends with bath time and a kiss goodnight.
The tale begins with the words: “Who wants to play with me today?”, and goes on to show both parents eagerly joining in the fun. This Stonewall Book Award 2010 nominee will show your child a loving home that just happens to include two fathers.
Published at the same time as Daddy, Papa and Me, this is another rhyming board book which teaches your child what a loving family looks like, while letting them know that this includes same-sex families. Both tales belie the controversy around same-sex families – and that’s the point.
As well as seeing families with two mums or dads, it’s also important for children to know and accept that families can look any number of ways. On every double-page spread of this story, families of all races, sizes, sexualities and creeds are represented.
If you have a family, they’re in this book, whether you have three sisters, no dad, 16 cousins or four sisters-in-law. These loving collections of relations are shown going on holiday, playing with pets, studying and communicating in all sorts of fun ways. It’s a relative nation of representation.
Poor Spacegirl. Just as she is about to go on a new mission (to space, obviously) she falls prey to a stomach bug. Her two mums take her home and take care of her, but they get sick too, and even the cat – named Trotsky – throws up.
Eventually, Spacegirl is well enough to return to the launch pad, only to find that her rocket is also ill! Don’t worry, though – without ruining the ending, our hero is able to travel into space.
The art is by Vanda Carter, who also wrote and illustrated If I Had A Hundred Mummies, and similarly includes same-sex parents without addressing it directly.
10. King and King
The prince must marry, his mother decides. After all, she had been married twice by his age. So she invites a seemingly endless succession of princesses, none of whom catch the prince’s eye – until Princess Madeline turns up. But of course, it’s not Madeline who the prince falls for – it’s her brother, Lee.
“At last, the prince felt a stir in his heart. It was love at first sight.
‘What a wonderful prince!’”
After the book was released, a parents’ group in Massachusetts threatened to sue their local school over its use, while as recently as 2015, a backlash from parents in North Carolina led an English teacher and his vice-principal to resign after the teacher read the book to his class.
The story itself, originally written in Dutch by Linda De Haan, is simply a progressive take on a fairytale romance, with a queen who rules alone and sheds a tear or two at her son’s gay wedding. She doesn’t expect her son to marry a man, but she doesn’t bat an eye when he falls in love with one.
With art that spills off the page and exclamation-filled dialogue, you and your child are sure to have fun over and over again.
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The sequel sees Kings Lee and Bertie go on an adventure, discovering all the wonderful sights and sounds of the jungle, only to find out that no journey is more exciting than raising a child. And that goes double for an unexpected arrival.
This is an adoption story that is sure to raise your spirits, full of love and funny animal noises with which to make your kid laugh.