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LGBTQ Lives in Selected Children's and Young Adult Books

©2023, 2009 Cooperative Children's Book Center

This bibliography was designed to provide librarians, teachers, parents and others with suggested books for children and teens that provide information about or reflect the lives of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and questioning (GLBTQ) youth and gay- or lesbian-parented families.

The books in the bibliography are divided into four broad categories, some of which are divided by format (non-fiction, picture books, fiction):

  • General Books about Gay Issues
  • Families with Gay and Lesbian Parents*
  • LGBTQ Children and Teens
  • Sex and Gender Identity/Gender Nonconformity

*This category includes books that reflect gay and lesbian family life, and books that reflect family differences in general and may resonate more deeply with children who live in gay- or lesbian-parented families. It also includes books that aren't specifically about gay- or lesbian-parented families but featuring characters and situations that are open to interpretation.

Interested in additional titles? Check out the annual Rainbow List, created by the American Library Association's Rainbow Project. You can also use our Recommended Book Search to find more books with LGBTQ characters.

General Books about LGBTQ Issues

Bausum, Ann Stonewall: Breaking Out in the Fight for Gay Rights. Viking, 2015. 120 pages. Age 13 and older

Bausum, Ann Viral: The Fight Against AIDS in America. Penguin Random House/Viking, 2019. 168 pages. Age 13 and older

Curlee, Lynn The Other Pandemic: An AIDS Memoir. Charlesbridge, 2023. 164 pages. Age 14 and older

Sanders, Rob Pride: The Story of Harvey Milk and the Rainbow Flag. Illustrated by Steven Salerno. Random House, 2018. 40 pages. Ages 5-8

Sanders, Rob Stonewall: A Building, an Uprising, a Revolution. Illustrated by Jamey Christoph. Random House, 2019. 40 pages. Ages 5-9

Stevenson, Robin Pride Colors. Orca, 2019. 26 pages. Ages birth - 3

Families with Gay and Lesbian Parents or Other Adult Relatives


Arlow, Jake Maia. The Year My Life Went Down the Toilet. Dial/Penguin Random House, 2023. 284 pages. Ages 8–12

Colbert, Brandy. The Only Black Girls in Town. Little, Brown, 2020. 355 pages. Ages 9-12

Levy, Dana Alison. The Misadventures of the Family Fletcher. Delacorte/Random House, 2014. 260 pages. Ages 7-10

Moore, David Barclay. The Stars Beneath Our Feet. Knopf, 2017. 294 pages. Ages 9-13

Nielsen, Susan. No Fixed Address. Random House/Wendy Lamb Books, 2018. 280 pages. Ages 9-13

Polonsky, Ami. World Made of Glass. Little, Brown, 2023. 276 pages. Ages 10-13

Saedi, Sara. I Miss You, I Hate This. Little, Brown/Poppy, 2022. 345 pages. Age 14 and older

Saenz, Benjamin Alire. The Inexplicable Logic of My Life. Clarion/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2017. 445 pages. Age 13 and older

Stead, Rebecca. The List of Things That Will Not Change. Random House/Wendy Lamb Books, 2020. 224 pages. Ages 8-12

Villanueva, Gail D.. My Fate According to the Butterfly. Scholastic Press, 2019. Ages 8-12

Picture Books

Arnold, Elana K.. An Ordinary Day. Illustrated by Elizabet Vukovic. Beach Lane/Simon & Schuster, 2020. 32 pages. Ages 4-8

Cole, Henry. Forever Home: A Dog and Boy Love Story. Illustrated by Henry Cole. Scholastic/Scholastic Press, 2022. 40 pages. Ages 3-7

Lambert, Megan Dowd. Real Sisters Pretend. Illustrated by Nicole Tadgell. Tilbury House, 2016. 32 pages. Ages 4-7

Manushkin, Fran. Plenty of Hugs. Illustrated by Kate Alizadeh. Dial/Penguin Random House, 2020. 32 pages. Ages 2-5

McGinty, Alice Blumenthal. Bathe the Cat. Illustrated by David Roberts. Chronicle, 2022. 40 pages. Ages 3-5

Newman, Leslea. Mommy, Mama, and Me. Illustrated by Carol Thompson. Tricycle, 2009. 16 pages. Birth-3

Newman, Leslea. Daddy, Papa, and Me. Illustrated by Carol Thompson. Tricycle, 2009. 16 pages. Birth-3

Phi, Bao. My Footprints. Illustrated by Basia Tran. Capstone Edition, 2019. 32 pages. Ages 4-8

Sima, Jessie. Harriet Gets Carried Away. Illustrated by Jessie Sima. Simon & Schuster, 2018. 42 pages. Ages 3-6

Williams, Vera B.. Home at Last. Illustrated by Chris Raschka and Vera B. Williams. Greenwillow/HarperCollins, 2016. 32 pages. Ages 6-10

LGBTQ Children and Teens

Fiction for Young Adults

Astot, Moa Backe. Fire from the Sky. Levine Querido, 2023. 205 pages. Age 14 and older

Curato, Mike. Flamer. Illustrated by Mike Curato. Henry Holt/Macmillan, 2020. 366 pages. Age 12 and older

Dimaline, Cherie. Funeral Songs for Dying Girls. Penguin Random House Canada/Tundra, 2023. 271 pages. Age 14 and older

Emezi, Akwaeke. Bitter. Knopf/Random House, 2022. 264 pages. Age 12 and older

Ferguson, Jen. The Summer of Bitter and Sweet. HarperCollins/Heartdrum, 2022. 360 pages. Age 14 and older

Gao, Laura. Messy Roots: A Graphic Memoir of a Wuhanese American. Illustrated by Laura Gao. Balzer + Bray/HarperAlley, 2022. 269 pages. Age 13 and older

Jaigirdar, Adiba. The Henna Wars. Page Street, 2020. 387 pages. Age 12 and older

Jones, Adam Garnet. Fire Song. Annick, 2018. 230 pages. Age 14 and older

Khorram, Adib. Darius the Great Is Not Okay. Dial/Penguin Random House, 2018. 314 pages. Age 12 and older

Khorram, Adib. Kiss & Tell. Dial/Penguin Random House, 2022. 378 pages. Age 14 and older

Konigsberg, Bill. Destination Unknown. Scholastic, 2022. 283 pages. Age 14 and older

Lamb, Sacha. When the Angels Left the Old Country. Levine Querido, 2022. 400 pages. Age 14 and older

Lo, Malinda. Last Night at the Telegraph Club. Dutton/Penguin Random House, 2021. 409 pages. Age 14 and older

Martins, Vitor. Here the Whole Time. Translated by Larissa Helena. Push/Scholastic, 2020. 273 pages. Age 13 and older

McLemore, Anna-Marie. Lakelore. Feiwel and Friends/Macmillan, 2022. 289 pages. Age 14 and older

Mejia, Tehlor Kay and Anna-Marie McLemore. Miss Meteor. HarperCollins/HarperTeen, 2020. 392 pages. Age 12 and older

Murphy, Julie. Pumpkin. Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins, 2021. 326 pages. Age 12 and older

Nazemian, Abdi. Only This Beautiful Moment. Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins, 2023. 390 pages. Age 14 and older

O'Donoghue, Caroline. All Our Hidden Gifts (Gifts, #1). Candlewick/Walker, 2021. 374 pages. Age 12 and older

Reyes, Sonora. The Lesbiana's Guide to Catholic School. Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins, 2022. 385 pages. Age 13 and older

Tamaki, Mariko. Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up with Me. Illustrated by Rosemary Valero-O'Connell. First Second/Roaring Brook, 2019. 289 pages. Age 14 and older

Ukazu, Ngozi. Check Please! (#Hockey, #1). Illustrated by Ngozi Ukazu. First Second/Roaring Brook, 2018. 240 pages. Age 14 and older

Walton, Jessica. Stars in Their Eyes. Illustrated by Aska. Graphix/Scholastic, 2023. 209 pages. Age 11 and older

Fiction for Children

Bigelow, Lisa Jenn. Drum Roll, Please. Harper, 2018. 306 pages. Ages 10-13

Bunker, Lisa. Zenobia July. Penguin Random House/Viking, 2019. 313 pages. Ages 8-13

Callender, Kacen. King and the Dragonflies. Scholastic Press, 2020. 259 pages. Ages 9-12

Callender, Kheryn. Hurricane Child. Scholastic, 2018. 214 pages. Ages 10-13

Dee, Barbara. Star-Crossed. Aladdin, 2017. 277 pages. Ages 9-12

Eliopulos, Andrew. Will on the Inside. HarperCollins/Quill Tree, 2023. 292 pages. Ages 9-13

Melleby, Nicole. How to Become a Planet. Algonquin, 2021. 278 pages. Ages 9-12

Nguyen, Trung Le. The Magic Fish. Random House/RH Graphic, 2020. 229 pages. Age 11 and older


Andrews, Arin and Joshua Lyon. Some Assembly Required: The Not-So-Secret Life of a Transgender Teen. Simon & Schuster, 2014. 248 pages. Age 12 and older

Hancox, Lewis. Welcome to St. Hell: My Trans Teen Misadventure. Illustrated by Lewis Hancox. Graphix, 2022. 298 pages.

Kuklin, Susan. Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out. Candlewick, 2014. 182 pages. Age 12 and older

Thrash, Maggie. Lost Soul, Be at Peace. Illustrated by Maggie Thrash. Candlewick, 2018. 187 pages. Age 13 and older

Thrash, Maggie. Honor Girl. Illustrated by Maggie Thrash. Candlewick, 2015. 267 pages. Age 13 and older

Walden, Tillie. Spinning. Illustrated by Tillie Walden. First Second/Roaring Brook, 2017. 395 pages. Age 13 and older

Sex and Gender Identity/Gender Nonconformity

Brown, Peter Fred Gets Dressed. Illustrated by Peter Brown. Little, Brown, 2021. 40 pages. Ages 3-7

Gabriel, Dani Sam!. Illustrated by Robert Liu-Trujillo. Penny Candy, 2019. 52 pages. Ages 5-7

Gino, Alex Melissa. Scholastic Press, 2015. 195 pages. Ages 8-11

Gow, Robin Dear Mothman. Abrams/Amulet, 2023. Ages 9-12

Love, Jessica Julian Is a Mermaid. Illustrated by Jessica Love. Candlewick, 2018. Ages 3-8

Lukoff, Kyle When Aidan Became a Brother. Illustrated by Kaylani Juanita. Lee & Low, 2019. 32 pages. Ages 4-8

Lukoff, Kyle Too Bright to See. Dial/Penguin Random House, 2021. 188 pages. Ages 8-12

Patterson, Jodie Born Ready: The True Story of a Boy Named Penelope. Illustrated by Charnelle Pinkney Barlow. Crown/Random House, 2021. 32 pages. Ages 4-7

Schrefer, Eliot Queer Ducks (and Other Animals): The Natural World of Animal Sexuality. Illustrated by Jules Zuckerberg. HarperCollins/Katherine Tegen Books, 2022. 225 pages. Age 12 and older

Scotto, Thomas Jerome By Heart. Illustrated by Olivier Tallec. Enchanted Lion, 2018. 24 pages. Ages 4-8

Silverberg, Corey Sex Is a Funny Word: A Book about Bodies, Feelings, and You. Illustrated by Fiona Smyth. Second Story, 2015. 159 pages. Ages 8-13

Thompson, Lin The House that Whispers. Little, Brown, 2023. 330 pages. Ages 9--13

Thorn, Theresa It Feels Good to Be Yourself: A Book About Gender Identity. Illustrated by Noah Grigni. Henry Holt/Macmillan, 2019. 32 pages. Ages 3-9

Tokuda-Hall, Maggie The Mermaid, the Witch, and the Sea. Candlewick, 2020. 357 pages. Age 12 and older

Trimmer, Christian The Good Hair Day. Illustrated by J Yang. Abrams, 2023. 32 pages. Ages 4-9

Underhill, Edward Always the Almost. St. Martin's/Wednesday Books, 2023. 307 pages. Age 14 and older

van Rijckeghem, Jean-Claude Ironhead, or, Once a Young Lady. Translated by Kristen Gehrman. Levine Querido, 2022. 419 pages. Age 13 and older

Wang, Jen The Prince and the Dressmaker. Illustrated by Jen Wang. First Second/Roaring Brook, 2018. 276 pages. Age 11 and older

Can’t find what you’re looking for? Our Recommended Book Search includes subject access to CCBC-recommended titles based on subject headings created by our staff.