Pride Month is a great opportunity to teach all children about LGBTQIA+ history and the beauty of being true to yourself.
Taking kids to Pride marches and festivals offers an opportunity to show allyship to the queer community while normalizing all genders, gender expressions, and sexualities. As a queer nonbinary person, I am bummed that Pride events have been canceled this year because of the health crisis; I will miss that sacred space for the community. But as an LGBTQIA+ advocate and educator, I can assure you that you and your children don’t need to wait for June to celebrate queer people and our history.
You can and should have open and frequent conversations that chip away at the overwhelming heteronormative messages our kids receive every day. Not everyone is straight or cisgender, but everyone should be given the same rights to live and love. Here are 10 LGBTQIA+ books to diversify your home library so you can understand and celebrate Pride all year long.
It is never too early to read to a child or fill their senses with messages about love and equality. Pride 1 2 3 is a counting board book with whimsical rhymes, scenes of Pride, and bright and funky artwork by Wednesday Holmes, one of my favorite nonbinary artists.
Shop Now: Pride 1 2 3 by Michael Joosten
Love Makes a Family celebrates the many combinations of people who can fill a house with love. The board book also shows love as an action and not a label that should define its worth. Baking a cake, finding a lost toy, and reading one more story make a child feel loved and can be found in a variety of homes.
Shop Now: Love Makes a Family by Sophie Beer
Each color of the rainbow was given meaning when added to the Pride flag. Our Rainbow explains the importance of each color and also emphasizes the inclusion of the brown and black stripes to represent queer BIPOC.
Shop Now: Our Rainbow by Little Bee Books
Pride is a picture book written for kids in grades 1 to 3; however, older kids and adults can also learn from the history and stories told about Harvey Milk and Gilbert Baker. The book highlights Harvey Milk’s rise to public office, becoming the first openly gay man to do so, and his desire to find a symbol to represent the LGBTQ community and our fight for equality. It also shows the pain of his assassination and the resiliency of a community that will never stop loving.
Shop Now: Pride: The Story of Harvey Milk and the Rainbow Flag by Rob Sanders
Pride started as a riot and as a fight against police and societal brutality. In the early morning of June 28, 1969, police raided the Stonewall Inn, and the LGBTQ folks whom they were targeting fought back. It was the match that lit the fire that fueled and continues to push the fight for equal rights forward. At the center of the uprising were Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera, two transgender women of color.
Shop Now: Stonewall: A Building. An Uprising. A Revolution by Rob Sanders
Pride is about celebrating how we love, but it’s also about celebrating how we identify. Many of us don’t identify with the gender we were born with or any gender at all. Kids need to understand the importance of celebrating their own authenticity while supporting the identities of friends and strangers, too. It Feels Good To Be Yourself: A Book About Gender Identity is a great introduction to these topics while letting your child explore their own gender identity.
Shop Now: It Feels Good To Be Yourself: A Book About Gender Identity by Theresa Thorn
I Am Jazz was written by transgender activist and now college student Jazz Jennings. In very simple terms, the book explains what it means to be transgender. The book shows Jennings’ journey of her transition. From her family’s acceptance to hurtful reactions of others who refuse to see Jazz for who she is: Jazz has always been a girl with a girl brain and girl heart.
Shop Now: I Am Jazz by Jessica Herthel and Jazz Jennings
Julián is mesmerized by the women he sees on the subway who are dressed as mermaids. When he gets back to his abuela’s house, he turns himself into a mermaid but is worried about what she will think. Julián Is a Mermaid is about self-acceptance and the importance of being affirmed by those we love.
Shop Now: Julián Is a Mermaid by Jessica Love
Representation is so important for normalizing queer folks; it’s also vital for queer kids to see themselves in others. This book showcases the lives and achievements of 53 LGBTQ people from around the globe. We are so much more than our labels, and Queer Heroes shows that we are also artists, musicians, athletes, and innovators.
Pride can’t and shouldn’t wait until June each year. Talk to your kids early and often about love and gender and the beautiful variations of their expressions all year long.
Shop Now: Queer Heroes: Meet 53 LGBTQ Heroes From Past and Present by Arabelle Sicardi
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