June is Pride month, or as I like to think of it, a month to celebrate all the beautiful families and people in our community. After the tragedy in Orlando that killed 49 people in a gay club, my heart has been heavy. I’m saddened by that level of hatred. As a mom, it pains me to know that my kids are growing up in a society that still experiences acts of this kind of extreme violence. I know that hate starts at home. And so do love, compassion and empathy.
I’m always on the lookout for books that show families that resemble our own, as a small counter to the heteronormative, white, able-bodied families pervasive in the majority of children’s books. I think it’s important for kids to see all kinds of experiences reflected in the books they read – I believe this is one way to build love, compassion and empathy. To show that there is no “right way” to be a family, a kid, or in one case below, a penguin.
Here are 10 LGBTQ-positive books to add to your library!
This Day In June is all about a Pride parade – all the colors, families, music, dancing and joy of a Pride parade. It’s also a great resource of facts and figures (in the Reader’s Guide) about LGBTQ history and the ongoing battle for rights. It’s empowering, but also super fun. And a great opportunity to then bring your kids to our Pride parade to show them in real life!
10,000 Dresses is a story of all the magical dresses Bailey loves and sees in his dreams, even though he’s reminded by his parents that he’s a boy and boys don’t wear dresses. But, his good friend Laurel shows him he can be exactly who he is. It’s a cheerful book, especially for those who refuse to conform.
Mommy, Mama & Me and Daddy, Papa & Me are board books for young kids that show a same-sex family in an everyday life kind of way. Either of these make a great gift for a new baby or first birthday. They are very relatable books with bath time, park time, meal time – things every kid will understand. I hear my kids sing-songing “Mommy and I count 1-2-3. Mama hides behind a tree,” or another catchy line from this book pretty often.
The Family Book is one of many Todd Parr books in our collection. It’s a matter of fact way to describe all kinds of families, the emphasis isn’t on one type, but on all the configurations a family can take. I like to ask my kids questions as we read this one – what do you think happened to that fish’s parent, who lives in this family’s house, why do you think they all have the same hair – to get them talking about all of these families.
And Tango Makes Three is all about the meaning of family, in this case two penguins named Roy and Silo who want to be dads. This one is charming, adorable and based on a true story.
What Makes a Baby talks about all the different places children come from, including adoption, IVF and surrogacy. Your family will find your origin story within these pages. This book is truly all-inclusive and a great way to talk about something that many find hard to talk about with their kids.
In Our Mothers’ House is a tale about a house full of love, and isn’t that the kind of house we all strive for?! They may be a family with two moms, but different doesn’t mean wrong. This family is perfect just the way it is. This book also weaves in adoption and multicultural families.
The Different Dragon is just a great bedtime story. It’s imaginative and always leads to the telling of new dragon stories by my kids. It’s fun, it’s magical and the boy happens to have two moms.
The Great Big Book of Families is one of my daughter’s perennial favorites. This one really is a big book of all kinds of families who live in all kinds of places, have all kinds of jobs, go to all kinds of schools, practice all kinds of religions and have all kinds of pets. It’s got a ton of illustrations on each page for kids to investigate and really includes all of the beautiful diversity of families.
Red: A Crayon’s Story is about being true to who you are, even if the label on your outside doesn’t match how you feel on the inside. This one gets me because it’s so sincere, beautiful and surprisingly sweet for a story about crayons!