Pride: Books featuring LGBTQ+ characters

Picture Books

Mama and Mommy and Me in the Middle by Nina LaCour, illustrated by Kaylani Juanita

Published by Candlewick, 2022

A girl misses Mommy when she goes on a business trip, but Mama plans fun activities that help the week pass by quickly until the family can have a happy reunion. 32 pages; ages 3-7.

When Aidan Became a Brother by Kyle Lukoff

Published by Lee and Low Books, 2019

When Aidan was born, his parents thought he was a girl, and it took a few years to convince them that he was a boy. Now the family is about to welcome a new baby, and Aidan’s worried they won’t know his sibling’s gender. His parents assure him that they have learned a lot from him, and they will all love the baby exactly as they are. 32 pages; ages 4-8.

Over the Shop by JonArno Lawson, illustrated by Qin Leng

Published by Candlewick, 2021

A wordless picture book about a girl and her grandmother who rent the apartment over their shop to a young couple. Transgender and nonbinary characters, the rainbow flag, and the dedication “For trans activists of all ages” make this an excellent addition to any LGBTQ+ collection. 48 pages; ages 4-8.

What Are Your Words? A Book About Prounouns by Katherine Locke, illustrated by Anne Passchier

Published by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 2021

Ari is excited that Uncle Lior (they/them) is visiting but is struggling to come up with the right words for today. Sometimes he/him sounds right, sometimes she/her, but today they/them ends up feeling right. 40 pages; ages 4-8.

The Rainbow Parade by Emily Neilson

Published by Dial Books, 2022

Emily’s trip to the “rainbow parade” with her two moms instills in her a pride that she intends to practice all year long. 32 pages, ages 4-8.

Grandad’s Camper and Grandad’s Pride by Harry Woodgate

Published by little bee books, 2021 and 2023

Grandad has been sad since Gramps passed away, but the narrator helps him rediscover the camper he and Gramps traveled in and the Pride activities that were always a source of joy for the two of them. 32 pages; ages 4-8.

Middle Grade Fiction

Drum Roll, Please by Lisa Jenn Bigelow

Published by HarperCollins, 2018

Melly experiences family and friendship drama when she goes to Camp Rockaway, but the most unexpected part of the summer is her crush on fellow camper Adeline. 320 pages; grades 5-8.

Ivy Aberdeen’s Letter to the World by Ashley Herring Blake

Published by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 2018

Ivy’s life is difficult enough before her house is demolished by a tornado one night.  In the months preceding this tragedy, Ivy’s been dealing with colicky new twin brothers, questions about why she keeps drawing pictures of girls holding hands, and a rift with her older sister that’s directly related to those questions. Also by Ashley Herring Blake: The Mighty Heart of Sunny St. James. 320 pages; grades 4-7.

Flight of the Puffin by Ann Braden

Published by Nancy Paulsen Books, 2021

Several characters, including nonbinary T, facing difficulties at home and at school, find ways to reach out and give hope to one another. 240 pages; grades 4-7.

King and the Dragonflies by Kacen Callender

Published by Scholastic, 2020

King is dealing with the sudden death of his older brother, Khalid, as well as the knowledge that Khalid disapproved of King being gay. When the boy King has a crush on goes missing, King knows it’s time to start telling the truth. 272 pages, grades 4-8.

Star-Crossed by Barbara Dee

Published by Aladdin, 2017

When Mattie is cast as Romeo in the eighth-grade production of Romeo and Juliet, she gradually realizes that she has a crush on Gemma, the girl playing Juliet. 277 pages; grades 5-8.

Melissa (formerly published as George) by Alex Gino

Published by Scholastic Press, 2015

Melissa is a fourth-grade girl who was born with a boy’s body. She wants to come out but is afraid. After being turned down for the role of Charlotte in her class’s performance of Charlotte’s Web, her friend Kelly, who knows Melissa’s identity, hatches a plan for her to show who she really is. 208 pages; grades 3-7.

Ben Y and the Ghost in the Machine by K. A. Holt

Published by Chronicle Books, 2021

In this sequel to Ben Bee and the Teacher Griefer, Ben Y takes center stage as they deal with a brother’s death, uncertainty about gender, and a nasty vice principal who insists on enforcing a draconian dress code. 432 pages; grades 4-7.

The Legend of Auntie Po by Shing Yin Khor

Published by Kokila, 2021

This graphic novel about Chinese-American workers in a 19th-century logging camp features Mei, the daughter of the camp’s cook, who dreams of a romance with the boss’s daughter. 304 pages; grades 5-9.

Answers in the Pages by David Levithan

Published by Knopf Books for Young Readers, 2022

Alternating chapters tell the stories of Donovan, a fifth-grade student whose mother challenges an assigned book because of the possibility that two of the characters are gay, and fifth graders Gideon and Roberto whose friendship evolves into something more romantic. The two stories come together in a surprising way at the end. 176 pages, grades 3-7.

In the Key of Us by Mariama J. Lockington

Published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2022

Andi and Zora, the only two Black girls at the prestigious Harmony Music Camp, get off to a bad start as bunkmates. As camp goes on, though, they start to trust each other more, and Zora starts to wonder if what she feels for Andi is more than friendship. 354 pages; grades 5-8.

Different Kinds of Fruit by Kyle Lukoff

Published by Dial Books, 2022

A new classmate leads Annabelle to a path of self-discovery and revelations about her parents’ sexuality that shake her world but ultimately lead her to a new identity and a place for her and her family in the LGBTQ+ community. 320 pages; grades 4-7.

Too Bright to See by Kyle Lukoff

Published by Dial Books, 2021

Guided by the spirit of his recently deceased uncle and his own feelings of unease with his identity, Bug makes an important discovery just before sixth grade–that he is a transgender boy. 192 pages, grades 4-7.

Both Can Be True by Jules Machias

Published by Quill Tree Books, 2021

Ash is a genderfluid teen who has recently switched schools after a bullying incident. Daniel has also experienced bullying due to his sensitivity and tendency to cry easily. Both learn to stand up for themselves to family, friends, and classmates as they navigate middle school, friendship, and a possible romance. 368 pages; grades 5-8.

The Best Man by Richard Peck

Published by Dial Books for Young Readers, 2016

Archie tells the story of the romance between his cool Uncle Paul and celebrity student teacher Mr. McLeod in a book that begins and ends with weddings. 240 pages; grades 4-7.


The Stonewall Riots: Making A Stand for LGBTQ Rights by Archie Bongiovanni, illustrated by A. Andrews

Published by First Second, 2022

Natalia and her friends travel back in time with her abuela to the first night of the Stonewall Riots in this History Comics book. 128 pages; grades 4-8.

Pink, Blue, and You! Questions for Kids About Gender Stereotypes by Elise Gravel with Mykaell Blais

Published by Anne Schwartz Books, 2022

Raises a lot of questions about stereotypes, portraying different families and gender roles with an emphasis treating others with respect and love. 40 pages; ages 4-8.

If You’re a Kid Like Gavin: The True Story of a Young Trans Activist by Gavin Grimm and Kyle Lukoff, illustrated by J Yang

Published by Katherine Tegen Books, 2022

When Gavin began high school as a trans boy, he experienced discrimination and bullying. He chose to believe in himself and fight for his rights. 40 pages; grades 2-5.

Strong by Rob Kearney and Eric Rosswood, illustrated by Nidhi Chanani

Published by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 2022

Rob Kearney worked hard to compete in the Strongman competition but often felt like he couldn’t be his true self. When he fell in love with Joey, he began to feel confident enough to wear colorful clothes and a rainbow mohawk–and strong enough to win the North American Strongman championship. 40 pages; ages 4-8.

Pride: The Story of Harvey Milk and the Rainbow Flag by Rob Sanders, illustrated by Steven Salerno

Published by Random House Books for Young Readers, 2018

Shortly before his murder, Harvey Milk asked artist Gilbert Blake to design a flag to promote hope and equality. The rainbow flag was born, and it has become a symbol of the LGBTQ+ movement. The story concludes in June of 2015, when the White House was lit up like the rainbow flag to celebrate the legalization of gay marriage across the U.S. 48 pages; grades 1-4.

Stonewall: A Building. An Uprising. A Revolution. by Rob Sanders, illustrated by Jamey Christoph

Published by Random House, 2019

The building that became Stonewall narrates its history starting in the 1840’s and continuing until June 28, 1969, when the uprising began that was an important milestone in the struggle for LGBTQ+ rights. 40 pages; grades K-5.

It Feels Good to Be Yourself: A Book About Gender Identity by Theresa Thorn, illustrated by Noah Grigni

Published by Henry Holt and Co., 2019

This picture book defines the terms transgender, cisgender, and non-binary, giving examples of kids who describe themselves in each of these ways, while encouraging readers to listen to their hearts about their gender identities and be accepting of themselves and others exactly as they are. 40 pages; ages 4-8.