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!
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.
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.
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!
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!