We’re here to profile #lgbtcharacters who #smashstereotypes!

It’s Day 10 folks, and we’re so excited that the topic of #lgbtcharacters has come up, because as two queer educators, we are super passionate about the representation that younger LGBTQ folks can experience with the wealth of books now available!

To check out our list of Top Books with LGBTQ Characters, read on!


from the stars in the sky to the fish in the sea

Written by: Kai Cheng Thom

Illustrated by: Wai-Yant Li and Kai Yun Ching

For ages: 3-8 years

from the stars in the sky to the fish in the sea is an incredible portrait of what it feels like to be a child in between. Gorgeously illustrated by Way-yant Li and Kai Yun Ching, it tells the story of Miu Lan. “Born when both the moon and the sun were in the sky”, Miu Lan “couldn’t decide what to be.” Supported and loved by their mother, Miu Lan is a “strange, magical child” with the ability to adopt various animal characteristics. This empowering home environment is contrasted with Miu Lan’s experience at school, where the other students are all “either boys or girls”. Challenging gendered expectations, Miu Lan must discover how to express their truth fully and without fear.


Jack Not Jackie

Written by: Erica Silverman

Illustrated by: Holly Hatam

For ages: 4-8 years

 When the two kids’ mom gives them haircuts, Susan goes first.  She wants her hair long, but Jackie urges their mother to keep cutting more and more hair off until Susan yells that Jackie looks like a boy.  “I am a boy!” says Jackie, and their mother is quiet, finally recognizing that Jackie has been telling them something important for a long time.  Jackie asks Susan to call him Jack, and Susan begins to cry, saying she doesn’t want a brother, she wants a sister.  Susan goes to sit alone in her tent to think things over, and brings art supplies with her.  She draw two pictures-one of Jackie and one of Jack. Susan notices that both pictures have the same eyes and the same smile. 


I Am Jazz

Written by: Jessica Herthel and Jazz Jennings

Illustrated by: Shelagh McNicholas

For Ages: 4-8 years

This book is great for readers of any age, introducing the real-life experiences of of trans youth in a thoughtful, understandable way.  The prevailing notion of living your own personal truth has been a very strong narrative most recently, and Jazz’s story adds her valuable experience. She says that she feels good when she does things like play on the girls soccer team, and ignores kids in her school that make fun of her.  The book closes with Jazz saying she doesn’t mind being different, because she is special and proud to be who she is!


George

Written by: Alex Gino

For Ages: 8-12 years (chapter book)

George wants to be Charlotte in the school play, but the role is only for a girl.  She secretly looks at beauty magazines and wishes she were friends with the glossy images.  These characters are beautifully developed for a young adult novel, and have very believable reactions and dialogue with each other. This book is beautiful, and the unexpected twists and turns make it hard to put down.  The plot explores a young mind from that believable perspective-unsure yet sure at the same time, nervous but yearning to break free.  Character development and tender exchanges between George and Scott were unexpected and welcomed, as Scott accepts George immediately, and subverts the “older brother is a bigoted jock” narrative that is common in a lot of LGBTQ media!

Day 9 of the May #smashingstereotypes Challenge!

Day 9’s theme is books that feature #samesexcouples, and we love so many books that feature that theme! Check out the summaries below, and be sure to check out the full posts that are linked to learn more, including questions that can deepen reading comprehension as well as activities that allow readers to create and express their feelings after reading the book!

A Family is a Family is a Family

Written by: Sara O’Leary

Illustrated by: Qin Leng

For Ages: 4-7 years

This book covers a multitude of family types when a teacher asks their class to describe who they live with.  The narrator is nervous, because their family “is not like everybody else”.  Families with lots of kids, two singing moms, lots of grandparents, families that look alike and not alike, shared custody, and interracial families are described.  The narrator listens to all of the different families in their class before reflecting on their own family. 

In Our Mother’s House

Written & Illustrated by: Patricia Polacco

For ages: 6-10 years

This story details the family life of Marmee, Meema, and their three children. They happen to be the only family with two mothers on the block, but that’s hardly noticeable to their children.  The two women adopted three children from three different places, and the book details all the ways they create a close-knit community and family.

When You Look Out the Window: How Phyllis Lyon and Del Martin Built a Community

Written by: Gayle E. Pitman

Illustrated by: Christopher Lyles

For Ages: 4-8 years

This book is told from the perspective of Phyllis Lyon and Del Martin.  It briefly talks about how they met and fell in love, eventually buying a house on a hill.  The rest of the book looks at community landmarks in San Francisco that they had a hand in creating for fellow LGBT San Franciscans.

Daddy, Papa and Me

Written by: Lesléa Newman

Illustrated by: Carol Thompson

For Ages: infant and up

This book is a companion to Mommy, Mama, and Me.  This board book follows a young child doing all sorts of activities with their two daddies.  A wide range of fun games, activities, and projects are illustrated-paper airplanes, sewing, guitar playing, and so much more!  A quick book to normalize LGBT parents, and a fantastic book that does not reinforce gender stereotypes!

Mommy, Mama and Me

Written by: Lesléa Newman

Illustrated by: Carol Thompson

For Ages: infant and up

This is a simple board book about all of the activities a child does with their two mothers.  A wide range of activities, this is a simple book that introduces the concept of same-sex parenting to very young children.  This will also help enhance understanding in young children with same-sex parents, as they are able to see themselves represented in literature from a very young age.

Donovan’s Big Day

Written by: Lesléa Newman

Illustrated by: Mike Dutton

For Ages: 3-7 years

The plot line of this story follows Donovan, who is getting ready for a big event in his life.  He takes a bath, gets dressed in a fancy outfit, and squishes into the backseat with his relatives.  When Donovan gets out of the car, the reader realizes that he is part of a wedding-for his two moms!

Antonio’s Card/ La Tarjeta de Antonio

Written by: Rigoberto González

Illustrated by: Cecilia Concepción Álvarez

For Ages: 7-10 years

This book is very realistic, and one of the first LGBT bilingual books that were recommended to me. It would be helpful in a bilingual program, an immersion classroom, or language class. To have Latinx authors creating LGBT and Latinx characters is a crucial intersection in children’s literature, and I would love to see more of them.