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LGBTQ Lives in Selected Children's and Young Adult Books

©2021, 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

Levithan, David and Billy Merrell, compiler. The Full Spectrum: A New Generation of Writing About Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, Questioning, and Other Identities. Alfred A. Knopf, 2006. 272 pages.

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


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

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

Fogliano, Julie. Old Dog Baby Baby. Illustrated by Chris Raschka. Neal Porter Books/Roaring Brook, 2016. 32 pages. Ages 2-4

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

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

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

Emezi, Akwaeke. Pet. Make Me A World/Random House, 2019. 204 pages. Age 12 and older

Farizan, Sara. Here to Stay. Algonquin, 2018. 265 pages. Age 13 and older

Garvin, Jeff. Symptoms of Being Human. Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins, 2016. 335 pages. Age 14 and older

Gilbert, Kelly Loy. Picture Us in the Light. Hyperion, 2018. 353 pages. Age 13 and older

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

Johnson, Leah. You Should See Me in a Crown. Scholastic Press, 2020. 324 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

Kokie, E. M.. Radical. Candlewick, 2016. 437 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. When the Moon Was Ours. St. Martin's Griffin/Thomas Dunne Books, 2016. 273 pages. Age 14 and older

Mejia, Tehlor Kay. We Set the Dark on Fire. HarperCollins/Katherine Tegen Books, 2019. 364 pages. Age 13 and older

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

Nazemian, Abdi. Like a Love Story. Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins, 2019. 413 pages. Age 14 and older

Ness, Patrick. Release. HarperTeen, 2017. 277 pages. Age 15 and older

Panetta, Kevin. Bloom. Illustrated by Savanna Ganucheau. First Second/Roaring Brook, 2019. 351 pages. Age 13 and older

Podos, Rebecca. Like Water. Balzer + Bray, 2017. 312 pages. Age 13 and older

Romanoff, Zan. Look. Dial/Penguin Random House, 2020. 352 pages. Age 14 and older

Schmatz, Pat. Lizard Radio. Candlewick, 2015. 280 pages. Age 13 and older

Smedley, Zack. Deposing Nathan. Page Street, 2019. 400 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.

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

Federle, Tim. Five, Six, Seven, Nate!. Simon & Schuster, 2014. 293 pages. Ages 8-11

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

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, 2017. 395 pages. Age 13 and older

Sex and Gender Identity/Gender Nonconformity

Baldacchino, Christine Morris Micklewhite and the Tangerine Dress. Illustrated by Isabelle Malenfant. Groundwood, 2014. 32 pages. Ages 3-8

Deracine, Anat Driving by Starlight. Godwin Books/Henry Holt, 2018. 280 pages. Age 12 and older

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

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

Hashimi, Nadia One Half from the East. Harper/HarperCollins, 2016. 256 pages. Ages 9-13

Herthel, Jessica and Jazz Jennings I Am Jazz. Illustrated by Shelagh McNicholas. Dial, 2014. 24 pages. Ages 3-9

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

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

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

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.