Not too long ago, it would have been nearly impossible to find children’s books with gay themes. Fortunately, times are changing, and now there’s a variety of quality children’s literature on LGBT topics. Some have yet to make their way into the mainstream, and unfortunately many have been challenged or even banned in some places. Nevertheless, here’s an overview of some of these groundbreaking books.
HEATHER HAS TWO MOMMIESby Lesléa Newman (1989)
It’s often described as the first lesbian-themed children’s book ever published, and its author explained that she noticed that lesbian couples with children did not have any books to read to their kids that would represent what their own families looked like. In it, Heather begins school — concerned that she has two mommies and no daddy, but her teacher explains that the components of a family don’t matter as long as they love each other.
KING & KINGby Linda de Haan and Stern Nijland (2000)
Originally written in Dutch and published in the Netherlands, this story sees a grouchy queen insist her son must find a princess to marry. The queen invites princess after princess to the castle until eventually, one comes escorted by her brother. The two princes fall in love and they get married! The book: a revolutionary idea for the time, and the kiss at the end is believed to be the first image of two men romantically kissing in a children’s book.
AND TANGO MAKES THREEby Justin Richardson and Petern Parnell (2005)
This book about two penguin dads is based off the real story of two Central Park Zoo penguins. In the story, two male chinstrap penguins, Roy and Silo, bond and try to hatch a stone because they can’t lay their own egg. One day, the zookeeper brings them an extra egg laid by another penguin couple. Roy and Silo take turns sitting on the egg to keep it warm until it hatches and their adopted daughter Tango is born!
10,000 DRESSES by Marcus Ewertby Marcus Ewert (2008)
Baily is a young trans girl who dreams of dresses. After her family angrily reminds her that she is a boy, Baily is befriended by an older girl across the street who’s more understanding and together they design a beautiful dress constructed from mirrors. We love this book not only because of its message of self-acceptance, but also because it doesn’t shy away from the realities of being trans by addressing Baily’s family’s negative reactions.
THIS DAY IN JUNEby Gayle E. Pitman (2014)
This whimsical and colorful book brings a Pride parade to life in its pages. It’s designed to introduce kids to the diversity of the LGBT community with lively illustrations. It also includes a reading guide containing information on LGBT history and culture, as well as a ‘Note to Parents and Caregivers’ with information on how to talk to kids about sexual orientation and gender identity in age-appropriate ways. We love that!
Last modified: January 22, 2018