Merry Christmas Eve, friends! As our gift to you, we hope you that like this week’s top five, full of LGBTQ children’s books! One of the most important ways that we can help people in the LGBTQ community to feel safe and welcome is by educating children early about the issues that can affect them. Gay, trans and/or queer children deserve to grow up knowing that there are other people like them out there, and straight/CIS children deserve to understand that people in those communities are just like them. So without further ado, here are our Top 5 LGBTQ books of 2016:
1. And Tango Makes Three (Justin Richardson & Peter Parnell)
This classic true story of a same-sex penguin couple at the Central Park Zoo is a great way of introducing the topic of same-sex couples to children who may have questions about them, and showing that real families are always built around love. Roy, Silo, and Tango’s tale will melt your heart while informing about penguins and their habits, and showing that non-traditional families are just as loving and caring as traditional ones.
2. Red: A Crayon’s Story (Michael Hall)
A fantastic book about being true to the person inside yourself, no matter your exterior. The tale of the “red” crayon finding happiness by being who it is meant to be, rather than who it is expected to be, is almost universally identifiable, and wonderfully applicable to children who may be struggling with confusion about gender or orientation. Combined with simple, bright illustrations, this makes for a fabulous lesson in being oneself despite the expectations or preconceptions of others.
3. Morris Micklewhite and the Tangerine Dress (Christine Baldacchino)
A beautifully imaginative tale of a little boy and his favorite dress that sends a powerful message about the effects of bullying, as well as the power of acceptance and self-confidence. Morris is not portrayed as gay or trans (though these identities are not excluded either), but simply a boy who loves the dress that reminds him of tigers and his mother’s hair, and his story will leave you touched and feeling hopeful. A lovely book for boys and girls that shows that clothing has no gender, and what’s most important is to wear what makes us comfortable.
4. I Am Jazz (Jessica Herthel & Jazz Jennings)
Another true story, this book has quickly become a seminal classic about trans issues. Co-written by an actual transgender youth, is offers an authentic and straightforward look at what it’s like to be born into and grow up with a body the wrong gender. Jazz’s courage to be who she is despite the challenges she faces offers hope to other transgender youth that accepting their identities and/or transitioning can help them be happier and healthier, while showing non-LGBTQ children that trans people are just that: people.
5. Worm Loves Worm (J.J. Austrian)
One of our favorite books from this year! The sweet, adorably illustrated story of two worms in love will absolutely melt your heart. It’s a perfectly simple story for a perfectly simple lesson: that love is love, no matter what gender or orientation the lovebirds are. Cheerful, warm, and wonderfully fun to read, this book is a perfect addition to any baby bookworm’s bookshelf (in fact, don’t tell JJ, but Santa may be leaving a copy under her tree tonight)!
There we are! Those are our Top 5 LGBTQ books from 2016. Tell us what you think? Did you enjoy any of these books? Were there any that we missed? And be sure to come back next week (New Year’s Eve!) for another Top 5 list. Until then, have a very Merry Christmas!