Celebrate Pride: LGBTQIA+ Book Recommendations for Young Readers

The Iowa City Pride Fest & Parade is June 15th. This year ICPL is curating lists of LGBQTIA+ books to support Iowa City Pride. This list is a part of that series of recommendations. 

In this list you'll find books discussing family make-up, gender identity, and sex roles as well as a few reassuring titles encouraging children to be and love themselves. This list has been put together with children and families ranging from birth through second grade in mind. 

If you would like to find more titles like these in our catalog, the following are some recommended search terms: LGBTQ, Gender, Gender Identity, Gender Noncomformity, Gender Expression, Transgender People, Gay Pride, Social Acceptance, Individuality, and Sex Role. Another way is to find a title you like and click the hyperlinked subject headings within the title description. For more help finding great LGBTQIA+ titles for kids feel free to ask a librarian! 

Pink is for boys

Robb Pearlman

jE Pearlman
Picture Books

A celebration of how colors are for everyone depicts characters engaging in their favorite activities.

Love, Z

Jessie Sima

jE Sima
Picture Books, Fantasy, Travel, Adventure, Philosophy, LGBTQ+

A little robot named Z finds a message in a bottle signed, "Love, Beatrice" and, unable to learn what love is from other robots, sets out on a quest to find the answer.

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Z sets out on a quest to find out what "love" is. On the journey Z might just find a place in your heart.
- Casey


Airlie Anderson

jE Anderson
Picture Books

Because Neither is unlike both the rabbits and birds of the Land of This and That, it sets out to find a new place where all kinds of creatures are welcome.

Who are you? : the kid's guide to gender identity

Brook Pessin-Whedbee

j305.3 Pessin-Whedbee

Remarkably you

Pat Zietlow Miller

jE Miller
Picture Books

Rhyming text encourages young readers to discover what they are good at and use it to make a difference in big ways or in small ones.

All are welcome

Alexandra Penfold

jE Penfold
Picture Books

Illustrations and simple, rhyming text introduce a school where diversity is celebrated and songs, stories, and talents are shared.

I love my colorful nails

Alicia Acosta

Picture Books

Ben liked painting his nails, until some of the kids at school started teasing him. When Dad realized why Ben was sad, he decided to paint his nails too.

Perfectly Norman

Tom Percival

jE Percival
Picture Books

Norman is thrilled to discover he grew a pair of wings overnight, but his excitement turns to doubt when he realizes he is now different from everyone else, causing him to question whether there is such thing as perfectly normal.

A house for everyone : a story to help children learn about gender identity and gender expression

Jo Hirst

Picture Books

At lunchtime, all of Tom's friends gather at school to work together building their house. Each one of them has a special job to do, and each one of them has a different way of expressing their gender identity. Jackson is a boy who likes to wear dresses. Ivy is a girl who likes her hair cut really short. Alex doesn't feel like 'just' a boy, or 'just' a girl. They are all the same, they are all different - but they are all friends. A very simple story that challenges gender stereotypes and shows 4 to 7 year olds that it is OK to be yourself. An engaging story that is more than just an educational tool, this book will assist parents and teachers in giving children the space to explore the full spectrum of gender diversity and will show children the many ways they can express their gender in a truly positive light.

Maiden & princess

Daniel Haack

jE Haack
Picture Books

When a maiden reluctantly attends a ball for her friend, the prince, everyone considers her his perfect match until she surprises them--and herself--by finding true love with someone else.

Dress like a girl

Patricia Toht

jE Toht
Picture Books

Explores the concept of dressing "like a girl," in which girls dress in space suits, police officer uniforms, and laboratory coats to prove that girls can be anything they want to be.

Sewing the rainbow : the story of Gilbert Baker and the rainbow flag

Gayle E. Pitman

jE Pitman
Picture Books

"Sewing the Rainbow is the powerful story of Gilbert Baker and the creation of the rainbow flag. This book takes readers from Gilbert's childhood in a small town in Kansas where he didn't fit in, to his historic artistic career in San Francisco. Today the flag is everywhere, even in the small town where Gilbert grew up! This book shows that when you see a rainbow flag, you'll know it's okay to be your colorful self. Includes a Note to Parents and Caregivers with more about Gilbert and the flag's history." --Publisher description.

The day you begin

Jacqueline Woodson

jE Woodson
Picture Books

Other students laugh when Rigoberto, an immigrant from Venezuela, introduces himself but later, he meets Angelina and discovers that he is not the only one who feels like an outsider.

Baby's first words

Christiane (Illustrator) Engel

Board Books

Brief text relates the daily activities of a city baby with two daddies by featuring terms for objects, actions, and sounds. On die-cut board pages with tabs.