Parenting

10 great LGBTQ-inclusive kids books to add to your holiday shopping list

Stock their bookshelves with these unique stories.

Books for young readers with LGBTQ characters Credit: Balzer + Bray / Sourcebooks

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If you're planning to expand your child's book selection this holiday season, it's a great opportunity to make a conscious effort to purchase books with more diverse characters. After all, it's important for kids to see people like them in the books they read starting at a young age. This is especially true for children who identify as LGBTQ—or who have parents who do—as it can help them feel less alone.

Two groundbreaking organizations, Pride and Less Prejudice and Hope in a Box, donate LGBTQ-inclusive literature to school classrooms and libraries for kids in grades preschool through high school. But with so many schools still closed due to COVID-19, it's even more important to make sure that your child's personal bookshelves include options that feature diverse characters, families, and stories.

Here are a few great books for kids of all ages that feature LGBTQ characters and storylines pulled directly from the Pride and Less Prejudice and Hope in a Box recommended reading lists.

Preschool

LGBTQ preschool books
Credit: Orca / Dial

Even preschoolers should have inclusive books on their shelves.

1. A Plan for Pops

If you're looking for a book that features a same-sex grandparent relationship, look no further than A Plan for Pops. With charming illustrations and a storyline that involves navigating difficult emotions, this is a sweet story that's just perfect for preschoolers.

Get A Plan for Pops on Amazon for $16.44

2. Love Makes a Family

This colorful little board book shows families of all different types, including two dads, two moms, and single parents. The overarching message here—that all the ways we show love are what makes a family—will resonate with young readers.

Get Love Makes a Family on Amazon for $10.79

Gradeschool

LGBTQ grade school books
Credit: Capstone Editions / Lee & Low Books

Kids in grades kindergarten through third will enjoy these diverse stories.

3. Worm Loves Worm

One of the favorite books in my house, this is a funny and sweet story about what happens when two worms fall in love and decide to get married. When their friends ask which one will wear the tux, and which one will wear the dress, the worms point out that the only thing that matters is that they love one another and want to spend their lives together, not which outfits they wear.

Get Worm Loves Worm on Amazon for $10.99

4. My Footprints

The main character in My Footprints is a girl who is Vietnamese-American and has two moms. Bullied by kids at school because her parents are lesbians, she eventually discovers the courage to stand up to the bullies at school—thanks to a magical bird and her moms' love.

Get My Footprints on Amazon for $15.78

5. Antonio's Card

A bilingual book, Antonio's Card is especially unique. The story centers around Antonio, who has two moms, one of whom is an artist. His schoolmates make fun of him for having two moms, but when it comes time to make Mother's Day cards, he wants to find just the right way to express his love for both the mothers in his life.

Get Antonio's Card on Amazon for $9.95

6. Julián is a Mermaid

For an age-appropriate book that focuses on gender identity, you can't beat Julián is a Mermaid. The beautiful illustrations will enchant kids, and the story about self-expression and acceptance is full of valuable lessons.

Get Julián is a Mermaid on Amazon for $9.99

Middle school

LGBTQ middle school books
Credit: HarperCollins / Sourcebooks

Chapter books are perfect for middle school readers.

7. Hazel's Theory of Evolution

Protagonist Hazel is about to enter 8th grade at a new school, and she's grappling with her emotions about one of her moms being pregnant again after two painful miscarriages. It's a great middle school read about struggling to fit in and how complex grief can be.

Get Hazel's Theory of Evolution on Amazon for $7.99

8. The Pants Project

Featuring a main character who is transgender, The Pants Project is about 11-year-old Liv's campaign to get her school to change their outdated skirts-only dress code. Written in the first person, this book has humor, heart, and a happy ending.

Get The Pants Project on Amazon for $8.29

High school

LGBTQ high school books
Credit: Knopf / Mariner Books

High school students are old enough for more mature and thought-provoking story lines.

9. Boy Meets Boy

For a traditional love story with non-hetero characters, look no further than Boy Meets Boy. Set in an enchanting fictional town where being gay is preferred, the story centers around young love and heartbreak. Creative and quirky, this is a book that teens won't be able to put down.

Get Boy Meets Boy on Amazon for $9.99

10. Under the Udala Trees

Set in Nigeria, Under the Udala Trees is a moving book that explores the dangers of being gay in a country where same-sex relationships are not allowed. Sure to spark important conversations about having to hide one's true self, this is a story that leaves a powerful impression.

Get Under the Udala Trees on Amazon for $11.99

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