LGBTQ+ Authors On Their Favorite Children's Books

by Romper Staff

Children are the most honest book critics — if they don't care for a book, they'll quickly wander off, and if they love it, they'll ask to read it again and again, until the cover falls off. The search, then, for a book that will hook them is ongoing. And no one has spent more time in the book stacks taking in all the incredible stories on offer than the authors themselves. For Pride month, we asked some of our favorite LGBTQ+ authors for their children's book picks. Ranging from picture books to middle grade novels, these options explore identity and connection, joy and hardship.

As with the best literature, the experiences of a single character can offer a window through which readers can view the world, going beyond their place and time, and into lives both alike and very different. May these books keep Pride going through the year!

'Mama's Nightingale: A Story of Immigration and Separation' by Edwidge Danticat

Dial Books

"I love that the daughter and mom in Mama's Nightingale: A Story of Immigration and Separation by Edwidge Danticat have a bond even when they’re apart, like me and you have." — Trinity Neal, co-author of My Rainbow with her daughter, DeShanna

"I love the representation of what many children of immigrants are dealing with in this country, done in a beautiful way for them to see themselves but also have hope. — DeShanna Neal, co-author of My Rainbow with her mother, Trinity

Dial Books

'You Matter' by Christian Robinson

Atheneum Books for Young Readers

"As authors/illustrators of picture books, we wrestle with a difficult question, 'What do you tell children who are entering the world now?' Christian Robinson's latest, You Matter, offers a succinct and effective answer to this question in its title alone. It is the duty of everyone to change the world radically and rapidly, and the foundation for such transformation is a deep knowing that you have a voice, you are powerful, that above all else — you matter." — Dylan Glynn, author of Rain Boy.

Atheneum Books for Young Readers

'The Derby Daredevils' series by Kit Rosewater

Harry N. Abrams

“I really enjoyed Kenzie Kickstarts a Team, the first book in Kit Rosewater and Sophie Escabasse's The Derby Daredevils series. Rosewater effortlessly incorporates a transgender parent and a queer crush into this story about roller derby, friendship, and teamwork — its shorter length may also be a plus for reluctant readers. I absolutely loved Nicole Melleby's In the Role of Brie Hutchens as well. Brie's story tackles themes of coming out and sensitively explores how queer identity intersects with religious faith. It releases on June 30, just in time to cap off Pride Month.” — A.J. Sass, author of Ana on the Edge

'Hurricane Child' by Kacen Callender


Hurricane Child and King and the Dragonflies are two of my favorite books for middle grade readers. With beauty and elegance, Kacen Callender writes about self-discovery and bravery, celebrating identity and how love blooms in a variety of forms.” — Ashley Herring Blake, author of The Mighty Heart of Sunny St. James

"Hurricane Child by Kacen Callender, because bravery beats bad luck, especially when it comes to young Black girls going on adventures and possibly falling in love." — Gabby Rivera, author of Juliet Takes A Breath

'This Day In June' by Gayle E. Pitman

Magination Press

This Day In June by Gayle E. Pitman and illustrated by Kristyna Litten is the perfect way to introduce little ones to what Pride is all about, and to give them the chance to join in the celebration.” — L.C. Rosen, author of Camp

Magination Press

'The Tea Dragon Society' series by Katie O'Neill

Oni Press

“Some of my favorite LGBTQ+ books for kids and their families are the trilogy of The Tea Dragon Society graphic novels by Katie O'Neill. Ashley Herring Blake's novels are also full of heart and courage, especially Ivy Aberdeen's Letter to the World and The Mighty Heart of Sunny St. James.— Niki Smith, author of The Deep & Dark Blue

'Red: A Crayon's Story' by Michael Hall

Greenwillow Books

Red: A Crayon’s Story, by Michael Hall. Red’s label says red, his wrapper is red—and yet Red is a crayon that draws blue! Hall’s book uses warmth and humor (and vivid, blocky art) to capture for young readers what it feels like if your essential identity doesn’t match what’s on the outside. It’s a book that’s deep and simple and true.” — Eliot Schrefer, author of The Popper Penguin Rescue

'The Prince and the Dressmaker' by Jen Wang

First Second

The Prince and the Dressmaker by Jen Wang is a beautifully drawn graphic novel about a prince exploring his gender and the dressmaker who creates beautiful dresses in secret for him. It touches on themes of creativity, friendship, identity, family, and coming out, all with a kindness that makes even the most dramatic parts of the book feel like a safe space for queer readers.” — Molly Knox Ostertag, author of The Witch Boy graphic novel series

'King and the Dragonflies' by Kacen Callender

Scholastic Press

King and the Dragonflies by Kacen Callender is a story not only about identity, but also your family and friends, but also about grief and an unbearable sadness. Kacen balances so much so carefully, and created a gut-punch of a book." — Mason Deaver, author of I Wish You All the Best

'A Season To Bee' by Carlos Aponte

Penguin Workshop

"A Season To Bee is a book about accepting who you are, no matter the color or shape. This is a celebration of diversity and creativity." — Carlos Aponte, the author