As we approach June, rainbow sightings will ramp up. It’s not a weather phenomenon of course – but the LGBTQ+ community and their allies celebrating Pride month. So here’s some personal picture book recommendations to include young children in the festivities.
Broaching the subject of LGBTQ+ history with children can be a sensitive topic for some. These books are great gentle introductions to what Pride is and where it came from.
Sewing the Rainbow: The Story of Gilbert Baker and the Rainbow Flag by Gayle E. Pitman illustrated by Holly Clifton-Brown. Gilbert Baker is the creator of the rainbow flag that represents Pride and the LGBTQ+ movement, and this book tells the story of how he created the flag and what the colors represent.
Stonewall: A Building, an Uprising, a Revolution by Rob Sanders illustrated by Jamey Christoph. This book tells the story of the police raid on Stonewall Inn leading to the revolutionary night in LGBTQ+ history when members of the LGBTQ+ community began to protest and demand equal rights. The book does sanitize the event to make it more accessible for young children, but covers why that night is important in LGBTQ+ history.
This Day in June by Gayle E. Pitman Illustrated by Kristyna Litten. A rhyming book about a Pride parade and what people will see when they attend. It’s a short and charming read about the happy festivities and celebration.
These picture books are great reads that focus on being comfortable with who you are. While not outright LGBTQ+, they carry the powerful message of discovering and loving yourself.
A Peacock among Pigeons by Tyler Curry Illustrated by Clarione Gutierrez. Peter the peacock finds himself growing up among pigeons and is embarrassed by his feathers. When some new friends of all different kinds of birds visit, Peter learns the importance of being yourself and embraces his colors.
Red: A Crayon’s Story (also available in ebook) by Michael Hall. No matter what Red the crayon tries, the color always comes out blue! Friends and family try to help, but Red doesn’t understand why their color doesn’t work until asked to draw a sea.
Not Quite Narwhal by Jessie Sima. Kelp has always assumed he is a narwhal as he lives with his narwhal family. One day Kelp is swept ashore and discovers unicorns that look a lot like him. Now Kelp feels he has to decide between the two worlds.
There are many, many great picture books out there about how families can be made in different ways, including same-sex parents. These are just some of my personal favorites.
And Tango Makes Three by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson illustrated by Henry Cole. Two male penguins Roy and Silo adopt an egg together with the help of the zookeeper. It’s based on two penguins from New York’s Central Park Zoo.
In Our Mothers’ House by Patricia Polacco. Three young children love their family with two moms, but the people on their block don’t understand and say they’re different. Their two mothers show that different doesn’t mean wrong and they have everything a family is meant to be.
Stella Brings the Family (also available in eBook) by Miriam B. Schiffer. A sweet story about Stella, who faces a dilemma when her school hosts an event for Mother’s Day, and she brings her two fathers instead.
A Family is a Family is a Family (also available in eBook) by Sara O’Leary. A teacher asks her class what makes their family special, and as the children answer they show that families come in all sizes, colors, and relations.
Somethings we act differently from how others expect us to act, and look to find a new way to express who we are. Childhood is all about exploring and learning, and often about yourself. Here’s some books that show different gender expression and address transgender individuals.
A House for Everyone by Jo Hirst. Friends gather on the playground to build a house together. They all have different jobs and have different ways of expressing themselves.
When Aidan Became a Brother by Kyle Lukoff Illustrated by Kaylani Juanita. Everyone thought Aidan was a girl when he was born, and his parents helped fix the parts of his life that didn’t fit anymore. When a new baby is announced, Aidan wants to help but is afraid of making mistakes. Aidan learns that mistakes can be fixed with honesty and communication.
I am Jazz (also available in eBook) by Jessica Herthel and Jazz Jennings illustrated by Shelagh McNicholas. Since she was two, Jazz knew she had a girl’s brain in a boy’s body. Her family is confused, but with love and acceptance they help Jazz express herself. This book is based on real life experiences by one of the authors.
Worm Loves Worm by J.J. Austrian Illustrated by Mike Curato. Worm loves Worm, and they want to get married. Their insect friends all pitch in to help, but who will be the groom and who will be the bride?
Hope everyone has a happy and safe Pride month!