LGBTQ+ Picture Books with Diverse Characters

LGBTQ+ Picture Books with Diverse Characters

These LGBTQ+ picture books with diverse characters can be used with children of all ages to answer questions with understanding and empathy. They promote acceptance and tolerance through simple and honest conversations.

LGBTQ+ Picture Books with Diverse Characters

Why Read LGBTQ+ Picture Books?

As teachers, we will have seen diverse children and their families come through our doors. We must celebrate every child under our care for who they are.

Every Children’s Library Lady book list is as diverse as possible, and this one is no exception. You will find LGBTQ+ characters from different backgrounds and cultures. Some books illustrate characters happily going about their daily business. In contrast, others are more suitable for specific conversations, including self-acceptance and identity. Many of the books are ideal for young children.

Some of the books celebrate Pride Month, its history and the people behind it. You can find more information about Pride Month and related resources in the post Talking to Young Children about Pride Month.

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LGBTQ+ Picture Books with Diverse Characters

10,000 Dresses by Marcus Ewert

Bailey identifies as a girl and every night dreams of wearing beautiful dresses. The reaction of her family is devastating. “Boys don’t wear dresses!” An older girl is inspired by Bailey’s courage to follow her dreams. They work together to make the dresses in Bailey’s dreams become a reality.

Promotes resilience, identity, tolerance and gender roles.

A is for Activist by Innosanto Nagara

A board book about different forms of activism, including environmental justice, civil rights and LGBTQ rights. Promotes community, equality, justice and hope.

All Are Welcome by Alexandra Penfold

Send a message to your students that everyone is welcome, no matter their race, religion, gender, culture or background.

Use on the first day of school to discuss inclusion, kindness, empathyacceptance and community.

And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson

In Central Park Zoo, two male penguins, Roy and Silo, long for a family like the other penguins, so Mr Gramzay places an egg in the nest for them to care for. When the egg hatches, the zookeeper named it Tango, “because it takes two to make a Tango.”

Promotes family, belonging and tolerance.

Angus all Aglow by Heather Smith

Angus loves sparkly things but when he wears a beautiful necklace from his gran he is teased by his classmates. Crushed, he loses his love of shiny objects until a new friend helps him remember why he loved the sparkle in the first place and helps him accept himself for who he is.

Promotes gender roles, individuality, tolerance and self-acceptance.

The Boy and the Bindi by Vivek Shraya

A young boy loves his mother’s bindi and longs for one of his own. His mother agrees he can have one and teaches him about its cultural and religious significance. The boy wears his bindi and feels he can be himself. 

Grandad's Camper by Harry Woodgate

A girl listens to her grandad reminiscing about his life with gramps in their camper van. He no longer feels like travelling since gramps died. So his granddaughter plans to fix up the old camper van and take grandad out on the road again.

Promotes discussions on LGBTQ+ characters, grief, intergenerational relationships, enthusiasm, and memories.

It's Okay to be Different by Todd Parr

Todd Parr spreads a message of acceptance, self-confidence and individuality while celebrating diversity. Sometimes the advice is practical, while others are more fun.

Jack (Not Jackie) by Erica Silverman

Susan wants Jackie to be like her, pretending to be forest fairies or kittens. But Jackie dons a cape or plays in the mud. As Jackie gets older, she wants to wear boys’ clothes. Susan’s feelings become more confused as her sister changes her name to Jack and cuts her hair short.

Promotes acceptance, identity, self-awareness and open-mindedness.

Julian is a Mermaid by Jessica Love

Travelling home with his abuela, Julian sees three spectacular ladies dressed in mermaid costumes. At home, he creates a mermaid outfit and proudly shows it off to his abuela. She takes him to the parade, joining others in their fabulous costumes.

Promotes identity, creativity, self-awareness and open-mindedness.

Morris Micklewhite and the Tangerine Dress by Christine Baldacchino

At school, Morris loves dressing up in a tangerine dress, but his classmates tease him. In the end, Morris helps them realise it doesn’t matter what you wear; it is who you are.

Promotes acceptance, bullying, gender roles, identity, and self-esteem.

My Footprints by Bao Phi

Thuy, a Vietnamese American girl, is bullied at school. She walks home in the snow and imagines herself as different courageous animals. Thuy recreates the animal’s footprints all the way home and into the comforting arms of her mum.

Use in the classroom to discuss bullying, courage, perseverance, prejudice, and identity.

My Princess Boy by Cheryl Kilodavis

My Princess Boy by Cheryl Kilodavis is a lesson of acceptance and tolerance about a 4-year-old boy, teased because he loves wearing dresses and told boys should not wear them.

My Shadow is Pink by Scott Stuart

A boy with a pink shadow is born into a family of men with blue shadows. He wants to be like his big, strong father, but he loves things that are ‘not for boys’. His loving father supports his son with self-acceptance and helps him embrace his gender identity.

Neither by Airlie Anderson

Neither lives in the Land of This and That, and it doesn’t quite fit it. Each creature is a blue bunny or a yellow bird, but Neither is not quite a bird or a bunny. It finds a new home full of colour, shapes and different creatures. Neither is welcomed with open arms as the differences unite the community.

Over the Shop by JonArno Lawson

A little girl and her grandmother live and work in their general store. The grandmother is unsure of renting a shabby apartment to an interested couple. The girl intervenes, and the couple brings the building to life with their optimism and hard work. Their positivity spreads, and the grandmother slowly accepts the couple as part of the family.

Use this wordless book to discuss acceptance, different perspectives, open-mindedness, assumptions, and a positive attitude.

Perfectly Norman by Tom Percival

Norman was a perfectly normal boy until he grew a pair of wings. He loves flying but thinks no one will understand his new wings so hide them under a large, yellow coat. When he finds the courage to show off his wings, he gets a surprising reaction.

Promotes identity, self-awareness, self-esteem and acceptance.

Pink is for Boys by Robb Pearlman

Pink is for Boys teaches children you can love any colour and it doesn’t matter if you are a girl or a boy.

Promotes gender identity, gender roles, tolerance and inclusion.

Pride: The Story of Harvey Milk and the Rainbow Flag by Rob Sanders

Harvey Milk wanted to create a symbol of hope and pride for the LGBTQ community. In collaboration with designer Gilbert Baker, they created the first rainbow flag. With the rainbow flag held high, the gay community marched for equality through the streets of San Francisco.

Red’s label says red, but he can only create blue no matter how hard he tries. Red’s new friend, Berry, suggests he casts aside his label, opening a whole new world to Red.

Promotes discussions on adaptability, identity, self-awareness and acceptance.

Sparkle Boy by Lesléa Newman

Like his older sister, Jessie, Casey loves to wear a shimmery skirt and glittery nails. He also loves construction play, puzzles, and trucks. While Casey’s family embraces his many interests, his sister is unsure. It is only when Casey is teased at school that Jessie understands he has the right to be himself.

Reinforces the themes of acceptance, gender identity and siblings.

Stella Brings the Family by Miriam B. Schiffer

Stella has two dads but doesn’t know what to do when her class celebrates Mother’s Day. She feels loved by her Papa and Daddy and extended family, but she has no mother to take to the party. She finds a unique solution to her problem.

Promotes acceptance, LGBTQ+ families and love.

A Tale of Two Mommies by Vanita Oelschlager

Three children talk to each other about their mothers. One boy answers the questions of his curious friends about what it is like to have two mummies.

They She He Me: Free to Be! by Maya and Matthew

They She He Me: Free to Be! explores the themes of identity, inclusion and gender through the use of pronouns and gender fluidity.

This Day in June by Gayle E. Pitman

This Day In June is a colourful illustration of a Pride celebration. Children can take onboard different levels of meaning depending on their age and understanding of LGBT history and culture.

The book includes notes for parents and caregivers with ideas on talking to children about issues that may arise while reading.

Under the Love Umbrella by Davina Bellv

Four children share their lives under the umbrella of love. It is a reminder that our loved ones will always be there for us no matter the distance. The umbrella is a metaphor for love, acceptance, comfort, and safety.

When Aidan Became a Brother by Kyle Lukoff

A young transgender boy, Aidan finds out his mother is expecting a baby. Growing up, Aidan felt trapped, until he spoke to his supportive parents. As a big brother, he wants to make sure his new sibling grows up in a happy environment.

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What Next?

I hope you enjoyed browsing these LGBTQ+ picture books. If you have any further suggestions, let me know in the comments below!

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LGBTQ+ Picture Books with Diverse Characters

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