When I was a kid, the definition of family seemed to be pretty rigid — mom, dad, and children. Some kids I knew had stepparents, but basically, I thought all families followed the same formula.
The truth is, families come in all shapes and sizes, with all kinds of parents and kids. Representation matters, and I think it’s important for kids to see families like theirs in the books that they read. It’s also important for kids from a more “traditional” family structure to learn about other types of families, so they can learn to treat them with respect and kindness. The common denominator in a family isn’t the gender or orientation of its members; the common denominator is love.
20 LGBT+ Picture Books for Kids
Heather Has Two Mommies by Leslea Newman — This groundbreaking book tells the story of Heather, a little girl who loves both of her moms. She faces many questions at school, and her wise teacher explains to the class that what really matters in a family is that everyone loves each other. The version I’ve linked to has updated illustrations that are absolutely lovely.
The Family Book by Todd Parr — This book is the perfect way to introduce very young kids to all kinds of families. Parr shows how families can be different based on their color or their members, but reminds readers that all families share things in common, too. His bold illustrations make the book fun and engaging.
And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell — Another groundbreaking classic! Roy and Silo, two penguins at the Central Park Zoo, love each other and want to pass on that love. Through the help of a caretaker at the zoo, they are able to build a family together.
Worm Loves Worm by J. J. Austrian — Worm and Worm love each other very much, and they decide to get married. Their friends have all kinds of questions, like “Who will wear the dress?” But Worm and Worm don’t care about any of that. All that matters is that Worm loves Worm.
Morris Micklewhite and the Tangerine Dress by Christine Baldacchino — Morris is a normal little boy. He likes pancakes, painting, and puzzles. He also likes the tangerine dress at his school’s dress up station. The other kids at school make fun of Morris, but in time they learn that wearing the dress is just one part of who Morris is. Their common interests help bring them together!
I Am Jazz by Jessica Herthel and Jazz Jennings — This book tells the story of Jazz Jennings, who struggled with feeling like she was in the wrong body from the time she was very young. This book is based on Jazz’s own experiences as a transgender child, and tells her story in a simple, clear way.
A Family is a Family is a Family by Sara O’Leary — A teacher asks her students to share what makes their family special. One little girl is nervous because she’s certain no one else in class has a family like hers. As each child shares about their family, she begins to realize that every family is different, and that her family is special, too. I love this book because it features all kinds of families, including blended families, same-sex parents, and families built through foster care or adoption.
Stella Brings the Family by Miriam B. Schiffer — Stella doesn’t have a mom to bring to the Mother’s Day party at her school, and she’s not sure what to do about it. With some help from her friends, she decides to bring all of the people who take care of her, including her two parents, Daddy and Papa.
In Our Mothers’ House by Patricia Polacco — This sweet book is told by the adopted child of two mothers, recalling life as she grew up in her diverse family. The things she remembers will sound familiar to most of us: holiday celebrations, shared meals, and lots of love. And when she brings her own children back to Meema and Marmee’s house, the love grows even more.
Mommy, Mama, and Me and Daddy, Papa, and Me by Leslea Newman — These sweet board books show the loving bond between parents and children. Toddlers and their parents spend a day playing, learning, and growing together. They’re the perfect choice for very young children who have two parents of the same gender, and will help all children see how much families of different types have in common.
10,000 Dresses by Marcus Ewert — Bailey dreams of wearing beautiful dresses, but his parents tell him that he can’t because he’s a boy. He finds support in a friend name Laurel who helps him design the dresses he loves so much.
Two Dads by Carolyn Robertson — An adopted child shares what life with two dads is like. Two dads might seem strange to some, but this child thinks having two dads is double the fun!
Jacob’s New Dress by Sara Hoffman and Ian Hoffman — Jacob loves to play dress up with his friend Emily, and he especially loves wearing dresses. Other children make fun of him, but wise adults step in to explain that Jacob likes wearing what makes him feel comfortable, and that there are many different ways he can be a boy.
Donovan’s Big Day by Leslea Newman — Donovan is both nervous and excited for a very important day. His moms are getting married, and he’s been giving the big job of being the ring bearer. This book is a fun peek in a special day for a loving family.
Introducing Teddy by Jess Walton — Errol loves his teddy bear Thomas, and he’s sad when he discovers Thomas is sad. Inside, Thomas feels like a girl bear, and would rather be called Tilly. Errol supports his friend, and assures Tilly he loves her for who she is, not for her name or her gender.
The Different Dragon by Jennifer Bryan — This book invites the reader in to a family’s bedtime routine — a family that just happens to have two mothers. With one of his moms, Noah creates a story where he and his cat Diva befriend a dragon who is different from the other dragons, and help him find acceptance.
Families, Families, Families! by Suzanne Lang — Adorable portraits of animals show all different kinds of families: families with a mom and a dad, families with just one parent, and families with two moms or two dads. A very sweet look at all of the different ways to make a family.
This Day in June by Gayle E. Pitman — This book invites readers into a pride celebration, and shows why we celebrate unity and acceptance among all people. This book also includes a helpful guide for parents that gives tips on discussing sexual orientation in age-appropriate ways.
ABC: A Family Alphabet Book by Bobbie Combs — This fun alphabet book shows LGBT+ families interacting as they get ready for bedtime. I enjoyed this book because it isn’t preachy or heavy-handed. It simply shows families loving one another.