Skip to main content

NewFolks may earn a commission when you buy through links on our site.

7 great kids’ books featuring LGBTQ+ characters to add to your child’s bookshelf

Children learn about the world through many avenues, but one in their life every day is the books they read at home. The more diverse the representation in these books, the more their minds will be ready to accept anyone they meet. Millions of children have LGBTQ+ family members or are LGBTQ+ themselves, so kids of any identity should see these kids reflected in their books.

You may need to go out of your way to make sure your bookshelf is appropriately diverse, but this list makes finding those titles easy. Each one of these picture books for babies through elementary school students has one or more LGBTQ+ characters woven into a story that makes a great book on its own. They don’t take an educational tone, but rather share engaging and colorful tales that any child will love — while also happening to incorporate LGBTQ+ people.

A Plan for Pops

This picture book by Heather Smith and Brooke Kerrigan shares the delightful weekend routine of a gender-ambiguous child, Lou, and their two grandfathers who are a couple. One day, Pops falls, and we learn he’ll need a wheelchair forever. Lou and Granddad make a plan to cheer Pops up and help him return to their traditions. LGBTQ children’s book reviewer Dana Rudolph says this book for ages 3 to 5 “shouldn’t be skipped.”

From Archie to Zack

This incredibly sweet picture book for ages 4 to 8 by Vincent X. Kirsch captures an adorable elementary-school drama of two boys who each have a crush on the other, but neither has worked up the courage to say so yet. Their friends pitch in to help them profess their true feelings of affection.

Julián is a Mermaid

As The New York Times Book Review says of this widely acclaimed picture book by Jessica Love, “alongside Julián, readers learn that anyone can be a mermaid: All it takes is love and acceptance, a little imagination, and a big swishy tail.” Julián is encouraged by his abuela to express himself however he wants in a story for ages 4 to 8 that earned numerous positive reviews.

My Maddy

“Most mommies are girls. Most daddies are boys. But lots of parents are neither a boy nor a girl. Like my Maddy.” This picture book for readers ages 4 to 8 is written by Gayle Pitman and illustrated by Violet Tobacco, and it includes an educational note by Dr. Randall Ehrbar about gender-diverse parents.

Plenty of Hugs

This picture book for ages 2 to 5 peeks into the happy daily life of a two-mom family that always has enough love to share with their toddler. They visit the zoo, share a meal, and read bedtime stories in this sweet story written by Fran Manushkin and illustrated by Kate Alizadeh.

What Riley Wore

Gender-creative Riley’s self-confidence assures young readers they can experiment with their own self-expression, too. One day Riley wears overalls, another a tutu, another pajamas. When asked, “Are you a girl or a boy?” Riley replies, “Today, I’m a firefighter.” Elana K. Arnold and Linda Davick give us a gift with this picture book.

When Aidan Became a Brother

This highly acclaimed picture book for ages 4 to 7 shows what happens when transgender child Aidan gets a promotion to big brother. First talking about Aidan’s gender transition and then his transition into his new identity as a sibling, this story written by Kyle Lukoff and illustrated by Kaylani Juanita tackles big feelings with care.

Once you’ve added these books into your home, you’ll have more chances to spark child-friendly conversations about diversity. If more big feelings come up during those talks, check out our list of books for helping little ones talk about their feelings.

Editors' Recommendations

Sarah Prager
Sarah is a writer and mom who lives in Massachusetts. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Atlantic, National…
Bring imagination back into your kid’s playroom with these ingenious DIY ideas
These DIY kid's playroom ideas are super easy to achieve and great for boosting imagination
Montessori shelf playroom

The kid’s playroom should be a space not just for fun and letting off some of a child’s youthful energy, but also an educational hub that encourages imagination. As you curate a space for your child to play and grow, you’ll want to include unique activities to help them express themselves. So, we’re giving you some incredible DIY playroom ideas that not only make the space look nice but add more room for imaginative play and learning.

Add a chalkboard wall
A chalkboard wall is a classic playroom addition, functioning as both a teaching opportunity and an art station. Not to mention; it also curbs that desire to draw on the walls!

Read more
Thinking about homeschooling your child? Here’s why it’s a bad idea
If you want to homeschool, consider these reasons not to homeschool first
Frustrated mom in need of nanny

Homeschooling isn't necessarily a new educational concept. The process where children are educated at home by their parents has been around for ages. It wasn't until the 70s that the practice gained in popularity. The late 90s and early 2000s also saw a resurgence in the number of students being homeschooled. Numbers again increased during the pandemic after remaining at around 3% since 2012, according to the United States Census Bureau.

The reasons parents may choose homeschooling over conventional education usually involve safety concerns, flexibility, frequent moving, and wanting to create a more individualized learning environment. While the idea of homeschooling your child might be attractive, it's actually not as simple as you may think. Before removing your child from school, consider these reasons not to homeschool.
Legal requirements for homeschooling
Homeschooling isn't as easy as just not sending your child back to school. There are legal requirements for homeschooling children, and they differ in each state. Some states like New York and Pennsylvania have stricter guidelines, while others like Florida have few. Before making the decision to remove your child from school, take the time to review the homeschooling laws for the state you live in.
Commitments involved in homeschooling
Making the decision to homeschool means one parent is about to become your child's full-time teacher. The idea that school can now easily become a year-round activity is an attractive one, but for the parent doing the teaching, it's another full-time job. In addition to being a parent and all that responsibility it entails, you're about to become your child's teacher, tutor, and principal. You will also be in charge of creating multiple daily lesson plans and researching curriculum, as well as finding materials. If you have multiple children, you will be planning and teaching for different age groups.

Read more
Why your kids should do their own spring cleaning – none of you will regret their little helping hands
Everyone benefits when the kids help with spring cleaning
Little girl cleaning her home

There are two types of people in this world: those who love spring cleaning and those who absolutely dread it. Let's face it, spring cleaning can be a daunting task because there's so much to tackle. Not only do you need to do your regular, everyday cleaning, but when it comes to spring cleaning, you also want to do a deep clean, declutter, and organize everything in sight. 

Quite honestly, it can be a lot for one or two people to take on. This is why it's important to include all members of the family when it comes time to roll up your sleeves. Involving all members of the family in spring cleaning, including your children, means you can divide the work and get things done faster. You'll also teach your kids a little something about responsibility and teamwork at the same time. Yes, those anti-cleaning cutie pies of yours should be an active part of this annual affair. 

Read more