These are just a few of the top picks in our proudBEATS collection. We’ve selected them as child-tested picture books that reflect gender and sexuality diversity proudly and positively.
More proudBEATS books here.
From the Stars in the Sky to the Fish in the Sea
By Kai Cheng Thom, Kai Yun Ching, Wai-Yant Li (Illustrator)
A beautiful, dreamlike book whose lyrical message is that of kindness and acceptance. Non-binary narratives such as these are so important for young people to find a book that reflects their experience, but even more so for the general population to understand that differences will always be loved and celebrated no matter what.
This Day in June
By Gayle E. Pitman, Kristyna Litten (Illustrator)
$15.95 (hardcover), $9.95 (paperback)
We’ve been bringing our daughter to Pride since she was a baby and this book celebrates everything she loves about Pride season in playful rhyme. Litten’s illustrations bring this exciting occasion to life – from the first page (Rainbow arches/Joyful marches) to a red marching band parading past same-sex families. A ‘reading guide’ at the end helps parents and caregivers discuss Pride more informatively.
Mommy, Mama and Me
By Lesléa Newman, Carol Thompson (Illustrator)
$7.99 (board book)
The perfect gift for lesbian baby showers, this board book depicts two moms’ love for their child in simple rhyme, and is a perfect wind-down or bedtime story. Each page is filled with peaceful, everyday activities, with each parent comforting, reassuring or helping the child in turn. Awesome for ages 0-3.
Stella Brings the Family
By Miriam B. Schiffer, Holly Clifton-Brown (Illustrator)
We love everything about this book! Stella has two dads and is worried about who she should invite to the Mother’s Day celebration at her elementary school. Luckily she can bring them both! Clifton-Brown’s whimsical illustrations, paired with a simple text that explores the many great things Stella’s fathers can do, make this book a winner.
The Different Dragon
By Jennifer Bryan, Danamarie Hosler (Illustrator)
This adventure narrative explores the magic of storytelling, and the importance of staying true to who you are. We especially love that protagonist Noah happens to have two moms, even though this is not integral to the plot. If only there were more picture books that did this! Perfect for ages 4 +
Who Are You?: The Kid’s Guide to Gender Identity
By Brook Pessin-Whedbee, Naomi Bardoff (Illustrator)
This book is one of our top non-fiction resources for discussing gender diversity, as it uses simple language to explore ideas of gender, along with questions about how we view ourselves. The interactive ‘Gender Wheel’ included, is great in concept but limited in application (though the author acknowledges this) but the overall message is to encourage readers of all ages to be a part of this broader conversation about gender.
Introducing Teddy: A gentle story about gender and friendship
By Jessica Walton, Dougal MacPherson (Illustrator)
Thomas the Teddy finds it hard to tell Errol that they aren’t really a boy teddy at all, but a girl teddy. Luckily, Teddy’s friends are happy to continue playing regardless of Teddy’s gender identity. This book is perfect for introducing the concept of transition to young children in a non-didactic, gentle format. We especially love that the children portrayed in the story have a broad range of non-gender-conforming likes and dislikes too.
In Our Mothers’ House
By Patricia Polacco
This picture book about an adoptive family with two mothers is something of a classic, and never fails to bring on the tears. Polacco’s timeless illustrations are beautiful and the descriptive text is perfect for relaying the African American protagonist’s childhood memories. It’s great for ages 5-10, though readers will enjoy this one well into adulthood!
And Tango Makes Three
By Justin Richardson, Peter Parnell, Henry Cole (Illustrator)
$17.99 (hardcover), $7.99 (board book)
This award-winning true story about two male penguins who fall in love is a favorite in our house. The book spans both fiction and non-fiction genres in content, and Cole’s illustrations support the narrative well, evolving the tale through careful storyboard-esque artwork. Available in audiobook, paperback, hardback and board book formats.
What Makes a Baby
By Cory Silverberg, Fiona Smyth (Illustrator)
When we were first looking for a book that could sensitively discuss donor insemination for helping children understand their origins, our friends recommended Silverberg’s inclusive text. This guide (along with the parent guide) is non-preachy and allows for many different conception stories to emerge from it. The bright illustrations are also great fun for all ages!