June is PRIDE Month and with that comes an opportunity for us teachers and parents to talk to kids about the history and significance of PRIDE (Promote Respect, Inclusion, and Dignity for Everyone). Kids are intuitive and full of questions about anything and everything, so being open is integral to their understanding of the world around them. As a parent, we understand it might be difficult to navigate these conversations as you might not know all the answers. That’s okay! Having a knowledge of the facts surrounding PRIDE and resources can go a long way.
As a result, I’ve compiled a list of children’s books celebrating PRIDE and diversity, all of which are educational and heartwarming:
Worm Loves Worm by J.J. Austrian
Worm Loves Worm is a picture book that celebrates the love between two worms who decide to get married. However, one question is on their friends’ minds: “Who will wear the dress, and who will wear the tux?” This is a great story that celebrates of love, no matter what gender or form.
The Sissy Duckling by Harvey Fierstein
Based on Hans Christian Andersen’s tale The Ugly Duckling, Fierstein’s touching story is about diversity. It describes how a duck named Elmer is made fun of, because he is different from the other boy ducks; however, he soon learns to be brave and embrace his identity. This story helps children recognize and appreciate the qualities that make them and others different and special at the same time.
George by Alex Gino
George is a story about a fourth-grade girl, Melissa, who is struggling with her identity with the rest of the world. While she sees herself as a girl, everyone around her sees her as a boy named George.
My Two Moms and Me by Michael Joosten
My Two Moms and Me is a board book that celebrates the love between lesbian mothers, who are constantly busy with appointments, errands, taking care of the kids, cooking, etc. This book is ideal for babies and toddlers.
My Princess Boy by Cheryl Kilodavis
Told from a mom’s point of view, My Princess Boy story is about a 4-year-old boy who is content with wearing dresses and sparkly jewelry. Kilodavis gives us an insight on the positive and negative observations and experiences of his family, friends, and others.
A Family is a Family is a Family by Sara O’Leary
In A Family is a Family is a Family, a teacher poses a question to her class about what makes their families special. Every answer she receives is different, which highlights the importance that every person’s family is special in their own way. It’s a heartwarming book that is perfect for introducing the concept of family to young kids.
Who are You?: The Kid’s Guide to Gender Identity by Brook Pessin-Whedbee
Who are You?: The Kid’s Guide to Gender Identity is a short story that talks about gender identity in its entirety, from how we experience our bodies to how we express ourselves. It’s a great book for young children to help them understand how we identify through clothes and interests.
And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell
A Tango Makes Three is a true story based on two penguins named Roy and Silo from the Central Park Zoo, who wanted their own family. With the help of the zookeeper, they’re able to have their very own baby penguin.
PRIDE: The Story of Harvey Milk and the Rainbow Flag by Rob Sanders
Sanders’s book is an empowering story about the incredible history of the Gay Pride Flag, designed by Gilbert Baker in 1978. It also illustrates the life of the first openly gay elected official, Harvey Milk. It is “a story of love, hope, equality, and pride.” (Sanders)
Drama by Raina Telgemeier
Drama is a coming-of-age story that centers around a girl named Callie and her relationship with the people around her. As she’s dealing with middle-school drama, new friendships, and crushes, she learns more about friendship, inclusion, and diversity.
These books are not only a great way to have an open conversation with your children about LGBTQIA+ inclusivity and the history behind it, they can also offer messages of acceptance, hope, and unconditional love. Furthermore, they shed light on the history of PRIDE and help children understand how they can face adversity and embrace differences.
- Austrian, J.J. (2016). Worm Loves Worm. New York: Balzer & Bray.
- Fierstein, Harvey. (2002). The Sissy Duckling. New York: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers.
- Gino, Alex. (2015). George. New York: Scholastic Press.
- Joosten, Michael. (2019). My Two Moms and Me. New York: Random House.
- Kilodavis, C., & DeSimone, S. (2011). My Princess Boy. New York: Aladdin.
- O’Leary, Sara. (2016). A Family is a Family is a Family. Toronto: Groundwood Books: House of Anansi Press.
- Pessin-Whedbee, Brook. (2017). Who are you?: The Kid’s Guide to Gender Identity. London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers.
- Richardson, J., Parnelll, P., & Cole, H. (2005). And Tango makes three. New York: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers.
- Sanders, Rob. (2018). PRIDE: The Story of Harvey Milk and the Rainbow Flag. New York: Random House.
- Telgemeier, Raina. (2012). Drama. New York: Scholastic Press.