Honoring 6 Inspiring LGBTQ+ Picture Books

As Pride Month unfolds, it’s a perfect time to explore the inclusive world of LGBTQ+ children’s literature. These books offer vibrant storytelling and illustrations. And provide young readers with a window into diverse experiences and identities. Whether you’re a parent, educator, or simply a book lover, these six picture books and their talented authors are must-adds to your reading list. Let’s dive into these tales of love, acceptance, and joy that celebrate LGBTQ+ themes.


“And Tango Makes Three” by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell, Illustrated by Hendry Cole

This heartwarming story is based on the true story of two male penguins, Roy and Silo, at New York’s Central Park Zoo. Together, they nurture an egg and raise a chick named Tango. Celebrated for its gentle depiction of same-sex parenting, this book teaches children about diverse family structures with warmth and love. It’s a testament to the fact that love makes a family, regardless of its composition.


“I Am Jazz” by Jessica Herthel and Jazz Jennings, Illustrated by Shelagh McNicholas

This pioneering picture book is based on the real-life experiences of Jazz Jennings, a transgender girl who became an advocate for trans kids everywhere. “I Am Jazz” is an enlightening and accessible introduction to what it means to be transgender, encouraging acceptance and understanding from a young age. This book is a wonderful resource for discussing gender identity and embracing everyone’s unique self.


“Julian Is a Mermaid” by Jessica Love

This beautifully illustrated book captures the story of Julian, a young boy who dreams of becoming a mermaid. After seeing three women dressed spectacularly on the subway, Julian creates his own mermaid costume, leading to a heartwarming reveal with his abuela. The book, lauded for its stunning art and gentle story of self-expression and acceptance, champions the joy of individuality and being true to oneself.


“Red: A Crayon’s Story” by Michael Hall

“Red” is a poignant tale about a blue crayon mistakenly labeled as red. Despite efforts to fit in and be red, it isn’t until he meets a new friend that he discovers his true color. This metaphor for authenticity and self-discovery resonates with children and adults alike, making it a perfect read for understanding and celebrating differences.


“Stella Brings the Family” by Miriam B. Schiffer, Illustrated by Holly Clifton-Brown

This charming book addresses the topic of Mother’s Day celebrations in classrooms. Especially for children with two dads. Stella, the protagonist, finds a unique solution to her problem, showing that all families are special. This story highlights themes of inclusivity and love. And emphasizes that family isn’t about who your parents are, but rather the love shared between family members.


“Pride: The Story of Harvey Milk and the Rainbow Flag” by Rob Sanders, Illustrated by StevenSalerno

This powerful book introduces young readers to Harvey Milk and his vision for a symbol of equality. The story chronicles the creation of the Rainbow Flag by designer Gilbert Baker and its journey to becoming a global emblem of LGBTQ+ pride. Engaging and inspiring, this book educates children on the history of the LGBTQ+ rights movement and the importance of fighting for justice.


Let’s Build Empathy and Acceptance

These six children’s books are wonderful starting points for conversations about diversity, identity, and acceptance. During Pride Month and beyond, they serve as powerful tools for educating and inspiring both young minds and adults. By exploring these stories, we encourage understanding and acceptance, creating a more inclusive world where every child feels valued and heard. Happy reading and happy Pride!

Let’s continue to honor the contributions of LGBTQ+ people by bringing Youth Equity Stewardship to your school. Youth Equity Stewardship (YES) is an innovative and experiential learning process. YES activates and sustains authentic partnerships between adults and students leading to compelling, sustainable, vibrant communities. Facilitators foster multi-generational collaboration through music, movement, and visual arts to address complex educational challenges. YES is an asset-based, solution-oriented process that drives continuous improvement.


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