When I was a kid, the definition of a family seemed to be pretty rigid — mom, dad, and children. Some kids I knew had stepparents, but basically, I thought all families followed the same formula.
Families come in all shapes and sizes, with all kinds of parents and kids. Representation matters, and I think it’s important for kids to see families like theirs in the books that they read. It’s also important for kids from a more “traditional” family structure to learn about other types of families, so they can learn to treat them with respect and kindness.
The common denominator in a family isn’t the gender or orientation of its members; the common denominator is love.
32 LGBTQ+ Picture Books for Kids
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Books About All Kinds of Families
You may also enjoy this list of LGBTQ+ Board Books.
Heather Has Two Mommies by Leslea Newman
This groundbreaking book tells the story of Heather, a little girl who loves both of her moms. She faces many questions at school, and her wise teacher explains to the class that what really matters in a family is that everyone loves each other. The version I’ve linked to has updated illustrations that are absolutely lovely.
The Family Book by Todd Parr
This book is the perfect way to introduce very young kids to all kinds of families. Parr shows how families can be different but reminds readers that all families share things in common, too. His bold illustrations make the book fun and engaging.
This is a great choice for reading with kids ages 2 and up.
And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell
Another groundbreaking classic! Roy and Silo, two penguins at the Central Park Zoo, love each other and want to pass on that love. Through the help of a caretaker at the zoo, they are able to build a family together.
This is an excellent book to read with children ages 2 and up.
A Family is a Family is a Family by Sara O’Leary
A teacher asks her students to share what makes their family special. One little girl is nervous because she’s certain no one else in the class has a family like hers. As each child shares about their family, she begins to realize that every family is different and that her family is special, too.
I love this book because it features all kinds of families, including blended families, same-sex parents, and families built through foster care or adoption. I recommend this book for kids ages 4 and up.
Stella Brings the Family by Miriam B. Schiffer
Stella doesn’t have a mom to bring to the Mother’s Day party at her school, and she’s not sure what to do about it. With some help from her friends, she decides to bring all of the people who take care of her, including her two parents, Daddy and Papa.
I recommend reading this book with children ages 5 and up.
In Our Mothers’ House by Patricia Polacco
This sweet book is told by the adopted child of two mothers, recalling life as she grew up in her diverse family. The things she remembers will sound familiar to most of us: holiday celebrations, shared meals, and lots of love. And when she brings her own children back to Meema and Marmee’s house, the love grows even more.
This story is perfect for sharing with kids ages 6 and up.
Mommy, Mama, and Me and Daddy, Papa, and Me by Leslea Newman
These sweet board books show the loving bond between parents and children. Toddlers and their parents spend a day playing, learning, and growing together.
These books the perfect choice for very young children (infants and toddlers). They show how much families of different types have in common.
Donovan’s Big Day by Leslea Newman
Donovan is both nervous and excited for a very important day. His moms are getting married, and he’s been given the big job of being the ring bearer. This book is a fun peek into a special day for a loving family.
The Different Dragon by Jennifer Bryan
This book invites the reader into a family’s bedtime routine — a family that just happens to have two mothers. With one of his moms, Noah creates a story where he and his cat Diva befriend a dragon who is different from the other dragons, and help him find acceptance.
This is a great bedtime story for kids ages 3 and up.
Families, Families, Families! by Suzanne Lang
Adorable portraits of animals show all different kinds of families: families with a mom and a dad, families with just one parent, and families with two moms or two dads. A very sweet look at all of the different ways to make a family.
I recommend this book for children ages 2 and up.
ABC: A Family Alphabet Book by Bobbie Combs
This fun alphabet book shows LGBT+ families interacting as they get ready for bedtime. The author says: “I wanted to see some books where the fact of the family being different wasn’t the focal point of the book. So I thought of making an alphabet book, where kids could say the letters and just see families like theirs having fun in the pictures. I’m glad that the book is being used in daycares and being read to all children. That way kids can see families that might be different from their own.”
This is an excellent bedtime read for kids ages 4 and up.
Harriet Gets Carried Away by Jessie Sima
Harriet loves to wear costumes everywhere she goes, and she’s especially excited to wear a costume to her birthday party. She goes out with her dads to get party hats for the celebration, and for the errand, she dons a penguin costume. When she encounters some real penguins, she gets carried away — literally! Can she make it back to her dads and her party?
I love this fun picture book, and recommend it for kids ages 3 and up.
A Plan for Pops by Heather Smith
Lou loves spending every Saturday with his grandparents, Grandad and Pops. One day, Pops has a fall, and the injury means that Pops will have to use a wheelchair for the rest of his life. Pops becomes sad and withdrawn after the news, so Lou comes up with a plan. He works with Grandad and their friends to bring some happiness to Pops.
This lovely story is excellent for reading with kids ages 3 and up.
Love is Love by Michael Genhart
In this story, a little boy opens up to his friend about the teasing he is experiencing at school. Kids are making fun of him because he has two dads, and telling him he doesn’t have a real family. As the boy talks with his friend, he sees that his family is a lot like other families who have a mom and a dad. He learns that his family is as valid as any other, because the people in his family love and care for each other.
I recommend this book for kids ages 4 and up.
Grandad’s Camper by Harry Woodgate
A little girl loves going to see her Grandad and hearing about her Gramps and all the adventures they used to have in their camper. Grandad loves sharing these memories, but since Gramps passed away, he doesn’t feel much like going on adventures anymore. His granddaughter comes up with a plan that will get Grandad back to his life of adventure.
This is truly a heartwarming read, and it’s great for kids ages 3 and up.
Books About Gender and Gender Identity
You may also enjoy these Trans and Non-binary Picture Books.
Morris Micklewhite and the Tangerine Dress by Christine Baldacchino
Morris is a normal little boy. He likes pancakes, painting, and puzzles. He also likes the tangerine dress at his school’s dress-up station. The other kids at school make fun of Morris, but in time they learn that wearing the dress is just one part of who Morris is. Their common interests help bring them together!
This is an awesome read for kids ages 4 and up.
I Am Jazz by Jessica Herthel and Jazz Jennings
This book tells the story of Jazz Jennings, who struggled with feeling like she was in the wrong body from the time she was very young. This book is based on Jazz’s own experiences as a transgender child and tells her story in a simple, clear way.
I recommend this book for children ages 4 and up.
10,000 Dresses by Marcus Ewert
Bailey dreams of wearing beautiful dresses, but his parents tell him that he can’t because he’s a boy. He finds support in a friend name Laurel who helps him design the dresses he loves so much.
This book is great for kids ages 5 and up.
Jacob’s New Dress by Sara Hoffman and Ian Hoffman
Jacob loves to play dress up with his friend Emily, and he especially loves wearing dresses. Other children make fun of him, but wise adults step in to explain that Jacob likes wearing what makes him feel comfortable and that there are many different ways he can be a boy.
This book is an excellent choice for kids ages 4 and up.
Introducing Teddy by Jess Walton
Errol loves his teddy bear Thomas, and he’s sad when he discovers Thomas is sad. Inside, Thomas feels like a girl bear, and would rather be called Tilly. Errol supports his friend and assures Tilly he loves her for who she is, not for her name or her gender.
I recommend this book for kids ages 3 and up.
Peanut Goes for the Gold by Jonathan Van Ness
Peanut is an awesome guinea pig who always does things their own way. So when Peanut sets out to become a rhythmic gymnast, they do it in a way that only they can — with their own style and their own flair. Peanut may do gymnastics (and lots of things!) differently than others, but they do it in a way that makes them happy.
Written by Jonathan Van Ness, the non-binary grooming guru from Queer Eye, this book introduces young readers to a non-binary character and encourages them to embrace who they truly are, even if it’s different than everyone else. I recommend sharing this picture book with kids ages 3 and up.
It Feels Good to Be Yourself: A Book About Gender Identity by Theresa Thorn
If you’ve ever wondered how to explain the concept of gender identity to young kids, I highly recommend checking out this book. Theresa Thorn is the parent of a trans child, and she does an excellent job of describing gender identity in a way that children under 8 can understand. The gentle and inclusive illustrations are the perfect complement to the text.
This is definitely a book you’ll want to add to your child’s library!
When Aiden Became a Brother by Kyle Lukoff
This unique and beautiful story shares the journey of Aiden, a young trans boy. When Aiden was born, his family thought he was a girl. As Aiden got older, he realized he was a boy, and his parents helped him adapt his life to his new identity.
Now Aiden is going to be a big brother, and he wants to do everything perfectly for his new sibling. But what does being the perfect big brother mean? And what if Aiden makes a mistake?
This book teaches young readers that it’s ok to make mistakes, and that being who you are is the best example you can set. I recommend reading this book with kids ages 4 and up.
The Gender Wheel: A Story About Bodies and Gender for Every Body by Maya Christina Gonzales
This nonfiction book, best for kids ages 6 and over, explains the concept of gender identity in a way that kids can understand. The Gender Team helps readers understand what our current gender binary system is, and how we can start see people outside of that limiting systems. This book also shows the beauty in a wide range of body types. I highly recommend adding this book to your collection!
Red: A Crayon’s Story by Michael Hall
All his life, Red has been labeled as a red crayon. But Red isn’t a red crayon; Red is actually blue. Despite being blue under his label, other crayons try to “help” Red be redder. But no matter how hard he tries, Red cannot be red. Red is blue on the inside. And when Red finally removes his label, he’s able to be who he truly is.
This book is a sweet illustration of how powerful it is to be yourself. I recommend sharing this book with kids ages 4 and up.
Books About LGBTQ+ History and Heroes
You may also enjoy this list of books about LGBTQ+ History Makers.
This Day in June by Gayle E. Pitman
This book invites readers into a pride celebration and shows why we celebrate unity and acceptance among all people. This book also includes a helpful guide for parents that gives tips on discussing sexual orientation in age-appropriate ways.
I highly recommend this picture book for kids of all ages, and it’s the perfect book to read before attending a Pride event with your family!
Sylvia and Marsha Start a Revolution!: The Story of the Trans Women of Color Who Made LGBTQ+ History by Joy Michael Ellison
When trans women Sylvia Rivera and Marsha P. Johnson stood up for their community, they started a revolution. This nonfiction picture book tells the story of the two women who began the modern LGBT+ rights movement. It not only tells about the Stonewall Riots, but also about all the ways Sylvia and Marsha cared for the queer community and those in need, both before and after Stonewall. It includes teaching materials for parents to help continue the conversation.
This powerful picture book is perfect for sharing with children ages 6 and up.
Pride: The Story of Harvey Milk and the Rainbow Flag by Rob Sanders
This beautiful book opens with a quote from Harvey Milk and explores both Milk’s career in politics and the creation of the rainbow flag by Gilbert Baker. While the content is historic, the overall message of the book is one of love and hope.
I really appreciate that this book doesn’t shy away from the opposition to Milk’s fight for LGBTQ+ rights, and it includes the tragic assassination of Milk and George Moscone (in a kid-appropriate way). It also looks forward to the strides at made since the time of the rainbow flag’s creation. This is a must-read for kids ages 6 and up.
Rainbow: A First Book of Pride by Michael Genhart
This adorable picture book teaches readers about the meaning behind each color of the Pride flag. It’s bright and beautiful, and the illustrations feature all kinds of families celebrating Pride together.
I recommend this book for kids ages 2 and up.
Other Great LGBTQ+ Picture Books
Worm Loves Worm by J. J. Austrian
Worm and Worm love each other very much, and they decide to get married. Their friends have all kinds of questions, like “Who will wear the dress?” But Worm and Worm don’t care about any of that. All that matters is that Worm loves Worm.
This book is a fun read for kids ages 3 and up.
Prince and Knight by Daniel Haak
In this modern fairy tale, a prince travels with his parents all over the world to find a princess he would like to marry. However, none of the princesses he meets are quite right, and he finds he doesn’t fall in love with any of them. When a dragon threatens the kingdom, the prince meets a brave knight, and they work together to protect the community from harm. As the prince gets to know the brave knight, he realizes that he has found the love he was looking for.
This book is a truly beautiful fairy tale and it’s perfect for sharing with kids ages 2 and up. You’ll also enjoy the author’s book Maiden and Princess!
A Church for All by Gayle E. Pittman
This book follows a young girl named Annie, who is raised in a church where she is taught that being gay is a sin. However, when she grows up, she begins to question these teachings and feels drawn to a new church that is inclusive and accepting of all people. With the help of her new community, Annie learns to embrace and celebrate the diversity of people around her, including those who identify as LGBTQ+.
The book’s message is one of love, acceptance, and inclusivity, and it encourages children to challenge discrimination and stand up for what they believe in. I recommend it for kids ages 3 and up.
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Daddy’s Roommate by Michael Willhoite