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12 Best New and Noteworthy LGBTQ Children’s Books You Have to Read

Looking for the best LGBTQ children’s books? These LGBT picture books for elementary students are engaging for primary and upper elementary kids. Books with lesson plans and activities linked. Picture books about various topics such as gay families, gender, LGBTQ rights and history and more for your kindergarten, first, second, third, fourth or fifth grade students. Your students will delight in these classic and brand new books!

If you’re a member of the Picture Book Brain Trust Community, you already have access to EVERY lesson plan and activity for these books! Just click on the Lesson Plans button in the menu!

Julian is a Mermaid by Jessica Love

While riding the subway home from the pool with his abuela one day, Julián notices three women spectacularly dressed up. Their hair billows in brilliant hues, their dresses end in fishtails, and their joy fills the train car. When Julián gets home, daydreaming of the magic he’s seen, all he can think about is dressing up just like the ladies in his own fabulous mermaid costume: a butter-yellow curtain for his tail, the fronds of a potted fern for his headdress. But what will Abuela think about the mess he makes — and even more importantly, what will she think about how Julián sees himself? Mesmerizing and full of heart, Jessica Love’s author-illustrator debut is a jubilant picture of self-love and a radiant celebration of individuality.

Get the lesson plan and activities for Julian is a Mermaid HERE

Looking for the best LGBTQ children's books? These LGBT picture books for elementary students are engaging for primary and upper elementary kids. Books with lesson plans and activities linked. Picture books about various topics such as gay families, gender, LGBTQ rights and history and more for your kindergarten, first, second, third, fourth or fifth grade students. Your students will delight in these classic and brand new books!
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Julian at the Wedding by Jessica Love

Julián and his abuela are going to a wedding. Better yet, Julián is in the wedding. Weddings have flowers and kissing and dancing and cake. And this wedding also has a new friend named Marisol. It’s not long before Julián and Marisol set off for some magic and mischief of their own, and when things take an unexpected turn, the pair learns that everything is easier with a good friend by your side. Jessica Love returns with a joyful story of friendship and individuality in this radiant follow-up to Julián Is a Mermaid.

Get the lesson plan and activities for Julian at the Wedding HERE

Pride: The Story of Harvey Milk and the Rainbow Flag by Rob Sanders


In this deeply moving and empowering true story, young readers will trace the life of the Gay Pride Flag, from its beginnings in 1978 with social activist Harvey Milk and designer Gilbert Baker to its spanning of the globe and its role in today’s world. Award-winning author Rob Sanders’s stirring text, and acclaimed illustrator Steven Salerno’s evocative images, combine to tell this remarkable – and undertold – story. A story of love, hope, equality, and pride. The way that it teaches about the history of such a well-known symbol makes it one of the best LGBTQ children’s books.

Stonewall: A Building, an Uprising, a Revolution by Rob Sanders

A powerful and timeless true story that will allow young readers to discover the rich and dynamic history of the Stonewall Inn and its role in the LGBTQ+ civil rights movement–a movement that continues to this very day. In the early-morning hours of June 28, 1969, the Stonewall Inn was raided by police in New York City. Though the inn had been raided before, that night would be different. It would be the night when empowered members of the LGBTQ+ community–in and around the Stonewall Inn–began to protest and demand their equal rights as citizens of the United States. A book more suited for upper elementary and middle school students.

And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson

The heartwarming true story of two male penguins who create a nontraditional family is now available in a sturdy board book edition.

At the penguin house at the Central Park Zoo, two penguins named Roy and Silo were a little bit different from the others. But their desire for a family was the same. And with the help of a kindly zookeeper, Roy and Silo got the chance to welcome a baby penguin of their very own. A story great for talking about having same sex parents.

Get the lesson plan and activities for And Tango Makes Three HERE

Forever Home by Henry Cole

What child hasn’t wanted a pet? How many parents have asked their kids to show that they can be responsible to get a pet? In this book, a boy with dog fever sets out to prove to his dads that he can be responsible enough for a dog going so far as to go on walks with a leash. He finally proves it to them and he notices a stray dog that he eventually rediscovers at the humane society. The boy follows through with all of his plans for his dog being a responsible dog, something many kids need to see, as he gives the dog its forever home. Henry Cole finds ways to communicate some of the deepest messages and changes in time while still including a lot of action and heart. He has another couple of books on this list as well. In the spreads with only the most essential color to draw attention, he tells a story that every student will relate to and inspire them to try similar things in their lives.

In Our Mothers’ House by Patricia Polacco

Marmee, Meema, and the kids are just like any other family on the block. In their beautiful house, they cook dinner together, they laugh together, and they dance together. But some of the other families don?t accept them. They say they are different. How can a family have two moms and no dad? But Marmee and Meema?s house is full of love. And they teach their children that different doesn?t mean wrong. And no matter how many moms or dads they have, they are everything a family is meant to be.

Oliver Button is a Sissy by Tomie dePaola

Oliver Button is a sissy. At least that’s what the other boys call him. But here’s what Oliver Button really is: a reader, and an artist, and a singer, and a dancer, and more. What will his classmates say when he steps into the spotlight? At first glance it is not necessarily one of the standard LGBTQ children’s books but it shows students that not all kids like things that follow standard gender roles.

Get the lesson plan and activities for Oliver Button is a Sissy HERE

Morris Micklewhite and the Tangerine Dress by Christine Baldacchino

Morris is a little boy who loves using his imagination. But most of all, Morris loves wearing the tangerine dress in his classroom’s dress-up center. The children in Morris’s class don’t understand. Dresses, they say, are for girls. And Morris certainly isn’t welcome in the spaceship some of his classmates are building. Astronauts, they say, don’t wear dresses. One day when Morris feels all alone and sick from their taunts, his mother lets him stay home from school. Morris dreams of a fantastic space adventure with his cat, Moo. Inspired by his dream, Morris paints the incredible scene he saw and brings it with him to school. He builds his own spaceship, hangs his painting on the front of it and takes two of his classmates on an outer space adventure.

My Footprints by Bao Phi

Every child feels different in some way, but Thuy feels “double different.” She is Vietnamese American and she has two moms. Thuy walks home one winter afternoon, angry and lonely after a bully’s taunts. Then a bird catches her attention and sets Thuy on an imaginary exploration. What if she could fly away like a bird? What if she could sprint like a deer, or roar like a bear? Mimicking the footprints of each creature in the snow, she makes her way home to the arms of her moms. Together, the three of them imagine beautiful and powerful creatures who always have courage – just like Thuy.

Mommy, Mama and Me by Lesléa Newman

A heartwarming board books about gay parents! A great purchase for new parents and new babies alike, and the perfect gift to show your love for mommy, mama and more! Rhythmic text and illustrations with universal appeal show a toddler spending the day with its mommies. From hide-and-seek to dress-up, then bath time and a kiss goodnight, there’s no limit to what a loving family can do together.

All Are Welcome by Alexandra Penfold

Join the call for a better world with this New York Times bestselling picture book about a school where diversity and inclusion are celebrated. Discover a school where—no matter what—young children have a place, have a space, and are loved and appreciated. Follow a group of children through a day in their school, where everyone is welcomed with open arms. A school where students from all backgrounds learn from and celebrate each other’s traditions. A school that shows the world as we will make it to be.

Best LGBTQ Children’s Books

What are some of your favorite LGBTQ children’s books? Are there any must read LGBTQ children’s books that I left out? Let me know in the comments, and I’ll add it!

Looking for the best LGBTQ children's books? These LGBT picture books for elementary students are engaging for primary and upper elementary kids. Books with lesson plans and activities linked. Picture books about various topics such as gay families, gender, LGBTQ rights and history and more for your kindergarten, first, second, third, fourth or fifth grade students. Your students will delight in these classic and brand new books!
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Hey there! I’m Josh from Picture Book Brain here to share only the best literature for you to use with your students. If you are looking for a specific book, use the search bar below to check my archives. Glad you’re here, and glad to help you!

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