It’s Trans Day of Visibility! This year, celebrate different trans and nonbinary experiences by checking out these picture books that tell the stories of gender-diverse kids and help explain important concepts like identity and expression. Maybe your family is part of the LGBTQIA+ community or maybe a friend, neighbor, or relative is transgender. These stories can help children foster a compassion for others and a pride in themselves.
It Feels Good to Be Yourself: A Book About Gender Identity by Theresa Thorn, illustrated Noah Grigni
This book explains what gender identity means in easy to understand terms. It can help kids better understand themselves, their parents, their friends, and other folks they may meet in life. It also explores the different ways people can express themselves and encourages and celebrates self expression. Additionally, the back of the book defines other terms related to identity and lists resources such as further reading, trans and LGBTQIA+ affirming organizations, and special notes from the author and illustrator. Noah Grigni’s vibrant watercolor illustrations and attention to detail in each character and scene create an atmosphere of love and joy. This is a must-read for LGBTQIA+ families and allies!
Trinity wears many identities proudly. She is a young black, transgender girl who is also autistic. She is creative, expressive, and vibrant, but sometimes her sensory needs hinder that expression. It is hard for her to grow her hair out because of how itchy it feels, but she laments her short hair. Her mother listens to why she desperately wants beautiful long hair. The family sets out to create a perfect surprise for Trinity that is sure to make her both comfortable and happy. See how the family comes together and creates the perfect rainbow surprise to let her sparkle and shine! DeShanna Neal tells a simple but beautiful story about celebrating the identities of those we love. She provides a wonderful opportunity for kids to learn about the intersectionality of different identities such as culture, race, neurodiversity, and gender identity and expression. It is also as colorfully illustrated as you would hope! The pictures also express movement and emotion as they help propel the story.
Ari looks forward to Uncle Lior’s visits. Uncle Lior uses they/them pronouns and knows that Ari often changes what words they like to use so Uncle Lior aks, “What are your words, Ari?” But today Ari isn’t sure. No words feel quite right today. As Ari and Uncle Lior walk through their neighborhood for the big summer bash, they meet many friends and neighbors and we learn their words, the words that describe them and the pronouns they use. All the while Ari wonders what words to use. This story introduces kids to the different words people can use to describe themselves and help them explore what words make them feel most like themselves. It also introduces some characters who use neopronouns they may not have heard of yet and gives them the opportunity to practice them. Overall What are Your Words can start conversations about the importance of the words we use to identify ourselves and others.
I am Jazz is a story about the young life of Jazz Jennings who grew up openly trans in the public eye. Little Jazz explains how it felt to be misgendered as a child and how it felt to fully express herself for who she really is. I am Jazz provides an educational opportunity through the lens of a real story. This can help kids connect with the characters and better understand and have compassion for fellow friends, classmates, family-members or themselves who may be confronting similar situations.
Red: A Crayon’s Story tells the story of a crayon everyone calls Red. His red label was placed on at the crayon factory, but whenever he tries to color red objects like strawberries or stop lights, he can’t quite get it right. No matter how hard he tries he cannot be red. This story can serve as an allegory for LGBTQIA+ experiences because it demonstrates to children that sometimes we are just made a certain way, and get labeled incorrectly, but that doesn’t mean that it is who we are. It shows readers how good it can feel to know who they are and how much happiness can come from being their true selves.
For more recommendations, ask your favorite librarians or visit our online catalog from our website or our SHARE Mobile Library application.