Since June is Pride Month, it has me looking for LGBTQ-friendly children's books I could add to our home library, especially one title in particular. I'm a huge fan of Last Week Tonight, and when John Oliver reported on Mike Pence's new children's book a few months ago, it definitely piqued my interest. Since Pence has been accused of being homophobic, Oliver decided to have some fun and put out his own "gay version" of Pence's book. When Oliver's book started outselling Pence's original, according to Vice, it was just a brilliant example of people rising up for a good cause, and had me inspired to pick up my own copy.
I think Pride Month is the perfect opportunity to introduce kids to the vitally important matter of equal rights — though really any time of year is. LGBTQ rights certainly have come a long way since the days of the Stonewall Riots that took place on June 28, 1969 (which is why, in fact, we celebrate Pride during the month of June, according to USA Today) but there is still a long way to go. With President Trump banning most transgender people from serving in the military, according to the BBC, and his administration reportedly failing to acknowledge Pride Month for the second year in a row, according to Teen Vogue, we need to teach our kids acceptance now more than ever.
We've rounded up 11 children's book with a powerful LGBTQ messages that every kid — and adult — should hear.
A Day In the Life of Marlon Bundo
As I mentioned above, I was delighted when John Oliver released this parody book about a little gay bunny named Marlon Bundo, who lives with "Grampa, Mike Pence — the Vice President of the United States." The adorable book's powerful message about tolerance and advocacy is anything but a laughing matter though. It's a truly inspirational tale. Good job, Mr. Oliver!
This Day In June
Reading this book about an inclusive Pride celebration is a great way to introduce your child to Pride Month, and LGBTQ history and culture in general. The book comes with a 'Note to Parents and Caregivers' with pointers on how to talk to children about sexual orientation and gender identity.
I Am Jazz
Teaching your children about what it means to be transgender can be easy thanks to this touching, biographical book by Jazz Jennings. Jennings, a trans woman and now an advocate for trans kids, first rose to national prominence after she was interviewed by Barbara Walters back in 2007.
Julián is a Mermaid
This fantastic debut book from writer-illustrator Jessica Love made quite a splash back in April when it was released. It tells the tale of a young boy named Julián, who is mesmerized by three women he sees dressed as mermaids on the subway. After dressing up as a mermaid himself, his accepting abuelo takes him to Coney Island's famous Mermaid Parade.
Red: A Crayon's Story
And Tango Makes Three
This award-winning children's book lovingly depicts a same-sex family. It tells the heartwarming true tale about two male penguins living at the Central Park Zoo. Thanks to a loving zoo keeper, the penguins were able to raise their own baby, a penguin named Tango, together.
Donovan's Big Day
The Family Book
My Princess Boy
Who Are You? The Kid's Guide to Gender Identity
The ABC's of LGBT+
This book by YouTube star Ashley Mardell is an Amazon #1 bestseller for good reason. It teaches teens and parents alike how to talk about gender and sexual identity, and with its helpful infographics and personal anecdotes, it's a great resource for understanding the nuances of both.