Books for kids of all ages about transgender and non-binary people
Updated: Aug 29, 2020
It's Pride month this month, and we're more than a little sad that we won't be waving our rainbow flags at the Pride in London event this year to support our LBGTQ+ friends and family. But that doesn't mean we can rest on our laurels when it comes to helping our kids understand important topics that not only include Black Lives Matter and Pride month, but also helping them to respect and understand transgender and non-binary people. JK Rowling: we're so not impressed with you right now...
Anyhoo: a good book is always a great starting block when it comes to teaching our small humans to become understanding adults, so here are 10 reads we think are awesome when it comes to talking to your kids about transgender and non-binary people.
I am Jazz by Jessica Herthel
From the time she was two years old, Jazz knew that she had a girl's brain in a boy's body. She loved pink and dressing up as a mermaid and didn't feel like herself in boy's clothing at all. The story is based on the real-life experience of Jazz Jennings - a spokesperson for transkids - and it's told in a simple, easy to understand way that makes it a hit for kids and grownups alike. Which leads us neatly onto...
Being Jazz: My Life as a (Transgender) Teen by Jazz Jennings
For older kids, this insightful read is the memoir of Jazz Jennings and covers much more than the picture book above, so is perfect for tweens. Jazz reflects on how she's been bullied, discriminated against and rejected on her journey to becoming her true self, and how mainstream attitude has been changing towards the transgender community. Amazing.
I'm a Girl! by Yasmeen Ismail
I'm a Girl! is a wonderful celebration of being who we are and not being pigeon-holed or restricted by gender stereotypes. It's also about friendship, having fun and reinforces that pink absolutely doesn't have to be for girls, and blue for boys. Funny and warmhearted, this will be one that the kids will want to read over and over.
Neither by Airlie Anderson
In the Land of This and That, there are only two kinds of creatures: blue bunnies and yellow birds. But one day a funny green egg hatches, and a little cutie that's not quite a bird and not quite a bunny pops out. It's Neither! Neither tries hard to fit in but finds it dreadfully hard and so heads off to a new land where all kinds of creatures are welcome. A colourful, simple story that promotes diversity for even the smallest of readers, we adore Neither!
A Boy Named Queen by Sara Cassidy
Aimed at young readers age eight to 11 years, A Boy Named Queen is the lovely tale of a girl named Evelyn who, despite the bullies, befriends new boy in school, Queen. Queen is unfazed by his critics and lives life by his own rules while teaching his new friend about the world and about herself.
Jack (Not Jackie) by Erica Silverman
A big sister realizes that her little sister, Jackie, doesn't like dresses or fairies, but instead loves ties, bugs and playing in the mud. She doesn't want long hair, she doesn't like dresses, and she wants to be known as Jack. This super sweet story about change and acceptance has been published in partnership with Gay and Lesbian Association of Doctors and Dentists (GLADD) to help children understand LGBTQ+, inclusivity and acceptance, and we love it!
George by Alex Gino
Written for kids around 10 years and up, this excellent read is about George, who knows she is a girl even if her teacher doesn't see it that way. When George wants to try out for the role of Charlotte in the school's production of Charlotte's Web, and she's not allowed because her teacher insists she is a boy, her best friend helps her communicate to the important people in her life as to who she really is.
How to Understand Your Gender: A Practical Guide for Exploring Who You Are by Alex Iantaffi and Meg-John Barker
Perfect for teens and young adults, and indeed us grownup folk too, this down-to-earth guide is for anybody who wants to know more about gender, from its biology, history and sociology, to how it plays a role in our relationships and interactions with family, friends, partners and strangers. It's like having a really knowledgable, approachable friend in book form!
From the Stars in the Sky to the Fish in the Sea by Kai Cheng Thom and Kai Yun Ching
Miu Lan is not an ordinary child, but one who can change into any shape they want to be. The only problem is they can’t decide what to be: A boy or a girl? A bird or a fish? A flower or a shooting star? The kids at school don't know what to make of them, but Miu Lan knows their mother will love them no matter what they are. The illustrations in this picture book are especially gorgeous.
The Witch Boy by Molly Knox-Ostertag
In 13-year-old Aster's family, all the girls are raised to be witches, while boys grow up to be shapeshifters, and anyone who dares cross those lines is exiled. Unfortunately for Aster, he still hasn't shifted, and he's fascinated by witchery, no matter how forbidden it might be. Readers age eight to 12 years will love the magic element to this story - the first in a series of three books - which combines adventure and intrigue with a child's discovery of her true self.
Like this read? Here's some more by London for Kidz that you might find useful: