One of our most frequently asked questions is how we explain our family make up to our children. While we have many discussions about how love makes a family, how our children came to us, and constantly teaching about love and acceptance, we’ve found that one of the best — and easiest!– ways is to use teaching tools like storybooks to help us as jumping off points. We’ve even sent some of these books to school with our oldest, Parker, to help his teachers explain how some families are different.
Here are some of our favorite LGTBQ+ books for kids and families — let us know if we missed one of your favorites, or if any of these were helpful to you!
Why we love it: We’re passionate about how the only thing needed to make a family is LOVE. This is a beautifully illustrated book that explains just that!
From the publisher: This fun, inclusive board book celebrates the one thing that makes every family a family . . . and that’s LOVE. Love is baking a special cake. Love is lending a helping hand. Love is reading one more book. In this exuberant board book, many different families are shown in happy activity, from an early-morning wake-up to a kiss before bed. Whether a child has two moms, two dads, one parent, or one of each, this simple preschool read-aloud demonstrates that what’s most important in each family’s life is the love the family members share.
Julián Is a Mermaid by Jessica Love
Why we love it: Most books are about accepting ones true self after being bullied or something negative happening but not this book. From the start, it’s about embracing gender nonconformity and having full support from family.
From the publisher: In an exuberant picture book, a glimpse of costumed mermaids leaves one boy flooded with wonder and ready to dazzle the world. 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? Mesmerizing and full of heart, Jessica Love’s author-illustrator debut is a jubilant picture of self-love and a radiant celebration of individuality.
Why we love it: We don’t subscribe to gendered colors around here– Parker loves pink and rainbows, and we like to encourage that. Colors are for everyone!
From the publisher: An empowering and educational picture book that proves colors are for everyone, regardless of gender. Pink is for boys . . . and girls . . . and everyone! This timely and beautiful picture book rethinks and reframes the stereotypical blue/pink gender binary and empowers kids-and their grown-ups-to express themselves in every color of the rainbow. Featuring a diverse group of relatable characters, Pink Is for Boys invites and encourages girls and boys to enjoy what they love to do, whether it’s racing cars and playing baseball, or loving unicorns and dressing up. Vibrant illustrations help children learn and identify the myriad colors that surround them every day, from the orange of a popsicle, to the green of a grassy field, all the way up to the wonder of a multicolored rainbow.
A Family Is a Family Is a Family by Sara O’Leary
Why we love it: It allows children to reflect on how their family is unique and how so many families look different. Take the time to ask questions like — “Who do you know who has a family like this? Or – oh, you’re friend so and so lives with his grandmom!” The bottom line is love is love and that is what matters.
From the publisher: When a teacher asks the children in her class to think about what makes their families special, the answers are all different in many ways — but the same in the one way that matters most of all. One child is worried that her family is just too different to explain, but listens as her classmates talk about what makes their families special. One is raised by a grandmother, and another has two dads. One is full of step-siblings, and another has a new baby. As one by one, her classmates describe who they live with and who loves them — family of every shape, size and every kind of relation — the child realizes that as long as her family is full of caring people, her family is special.
Why we love it: This was the perfect way to explain to our kids how they were made. It is completely gender neutral and factual — so it truly shows that we are ALL created the same way.
From the publisher: Geared to readers from preschool to age eight, What Makes a Baby is a book for every kind of family and every kind of kid. It is a twenty-first century children’s picture book about conception, gestation, and birth, which reflects the reality of our modern time by being inclusive of all kinds of kids, adults, and families, regardless of how many people were involved, their orientation, gender and other identity, or family composition. Just as important, the story doesn’t gender people or body parts, so most parents and families will find that it leaves room for them to educate their child without having to erase their own experience.
Why we love it: As a family of two moms with two donor conceived children, this one hits close to home. It’s written in an easy to understand way and gives some great jumping off points for conversations. It’s the first book we read to our son to explain how he was conceived.
From the publisher: Zak’s Safari is a book about donor-conceived kids of two-mom families.
Zak’s Safari aims to provide a starting place for many future conversations with your kids about their conception story and donor. Zak’s Safari is written in a style that is genuine, informative, casual, and easy to understand. It will be most meaningful to kids ages 4-8.
And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson
Why we love it: If you’re here, you know that connecting rainbows is passionate about helping you grow your family — whatever that looks like. We love this classic book that celebrates just that!
From the publisher: 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 got the chance to welcome a baby penguin of their very own.
The Adventures of Addie Underwater: Every Family is Built with Love by Erik Alexander
Why we love it: It is a beautiful combo of an interracial family with two dads. And who doesn’t love mermaids?! Addie learns that all families look different but are beautiful as they are — the perfect lesson we should be teaching every child.
From the publisher: Splash under the sea with Addie! She is an adventurous, little mermaid who is eager to find out what makes each family special. She, along with her big sister, Birdie, find out together what all families have in common, no matter what they may look like. Swim along with them as they find out what makes up a happy family!
10,000 Dresses by Marcus Ewert
Why we love it: This book shows the power of a true ally. Someone who supports another in being who they are and living their dreams!
From the publisher: Every night, Bailey dreams about magical dresses: dresses made of crystals and rainbows, dresses made of flowers, dresses made of windows. . . . Unfortunately, when Bailey’s awake, no one wants to hear about these beautiful dreams. Quite the contrary. “You’re a BOY!” Mother and Father tell Bailey. “You shouldn’t be thinking about dresses at all.” Then Bailey meets Laurel, an older girl who is touched and inspired by Bailey’s imagination and courage. In friendship, the two of them begin making dresses together. And Bailey’s dreams come true!
My Princess Boy by Cheryl Kilodavis
Why we love it: We love that the parents are completely supportive of their son wearing dresses and being who he is. While there is talk of judgment, the lesson is about accepting people as they are.
From the publisher: Dyson loves pink, sparkly things. Sometimes he wears dresses. Sometimes he wears jeans. He likes to wear his princess tiara, even when climbing trees. He’s a Princess Boy.
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