Please find below affirming books that help provide the tools for building empathy for our gender diverse youth.
Books are arranged by Young Children, Teens and Parenting Guides.
About Chris Nina Benedetto. 2016. A young child knows he is a boy, despite the fact that he has a female body, has the strength and courage to be himself.
Morris Micklewhite and the Tangerine Dress, Christine Baldacchino, Groundwood Books (2014). 4-7 Years old. Beautifully illustrated picture book about gender expression and how parents can help children combat the teasing that often accompanies gender expansive youth at school.
Not Every Princess, Jeffrey Bone and Lisa Bone, Magination Press (2014). Ages 5-7. A book that uses art and poetry to play with gender stereotypes. Silly and imaginative, it invites children to laugh along.
The Different Dragon, Jennifer Bryan, Two Lives Publishing (2006). Ages 2 and Up. The story of dragon Noah who doesn’t want to be fierce and happens to have two moms introduces young children to family diversity.
Be Who you Are, Jennifer Carr, AuthorHouse (2010). Ages 7 – 12. A book that helps frame the type of respectful explicit conversations we must have with our children and schools about gender identity, gender expression and social transitions. The book also discusses the process of working with counselors to help the social transition process if children transition after kindergarten. A wonderful and positive book that helps empower children about their gender expansiveness.
The drum dream girl, Margarita Engle, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (2015) Ages 4-8. Illustrations and rhyming text follow a girl in the 1920s as she strives to become a drummer, despite being continually reminded that only boys play the drums, and that there has never been a female drummer in Cuba. Includes note about Millo Castro Zaldarriaga, who inspired the story, and Anacaona, the all-girl dance band she formed with her sisters.
10,000 Dresses Marcus Ewert and Rex Ray, Triangle Square, (2008). Ages 5-10. Despite family concerns, Bailey continues to dreams of dresses. With the help of a friend, Bailey’s wish comes true.
When Kayla was Kyle, Amy Fabrikant Avid Readers Publishing Group (2013). Ages 5 and up. A great book that discusses gender expansive children and specifically transgender children. This book is unique in discussing female to male gender transitions and handles the topic with sensitivity and kindness in order to building social inclusivity and identity safety in schools.
Artistic Expressions of Transgender Youh Tony Ferraiolo, Ferraiolo (2015).
Made by Raffi Craig Pomranz Frances. Lincoln Children’s Books (2014). Ages 5-9. As a shy boy, Raffi is a loner and teased at school until one day he discovers knitting and decides to make a scarf for his father and a cape for the prince in the school play.
Call Me Tree, Maya Gonzales, Lee & Low (2014) Gender Neutral book about the role of nature in the lives of young children. Bilingual English and Spanish. Beautifully illustrated.
Gender Now Coloring Book, Maya Gonzales, Reflection Press (2014). Coloring book about the history of gender expansive people and gender expansive youth. Empowering and respectful for children.
I am Jazz Jessica Herthel and Jazz Jennings, Dial Press (2014). Wonderful book about the story of Jazz Jennings explaining in child centered and developmentally appropriate ways what being transgender or gender expansive means.
Jacob’s New Dress Ian and Sarah Hoffman, Albert Whitman & Company (2014). Ages 4-7 years. A wonderfully illustrated and rollickingly funny book that celebrates gender expansive children. Jacob is a boy who wants to wear a dress to school, much to the chagrin of a boy at school! Jacob has the support of his parents and a strong allies at school.
Roland Humphreys Wearing a What? Eileen Kiernan-Johnson, Huntley Rahara Press (2013). Ages 5-8. A book that helps expand gender stereotypes around gender expression. Another book about boys and dresses, and this book has colorful illustrations and fun verse.
My Princess Boy, Cheryl Kilodavis, Aladdin (2010). Ages 4-8 years old. One of the first books to celebrate princess boys who wear dresses and pink. The book provides a window of family and gender diversity and the loving support of parents and siblings of their princess boys. It continues to be treasured!
One of a Kind, Like Me / Único Como Yo by Laurin Mayeno (2016). Bilingual storybook about a very special young boy.
Truly Willa Willa Naylor and Bex Naylor (Illustrator) Willa Naylor (2016). The Story about Willa Nayor a 8 year old trans advocate from Malta, Europe. Her family’s journey of advocating for gender diversity led to the 2015 law in Malta “Gender Identity, Gender Expression & sexual Characteristics.”
Mommy, Mama and Me Leslea Newman, Carol Thompson (illustrator), Tricycle Press (2009) A board book about a typical, fun family day. (Preschool – K)
Daddy, Pappa, and Me Leslea Newman, Carol Thompson (illustrator), Tricycle Press (2009) A board book about a typical, fun family day. (Preschool – K)
All I want to be is Me, Phyllis Rothblatt MFT, CreateSpace (2011). Ages 5-7. A beautifully illustrated book that celebrates gender fluid and gender expansive youth.
The Family Book Todd Parr, Little Brown Books for Young Readers, (2003). Ages 3-8. A lighthearted book that celebrates different families. Comical illustrations make this book entertaining for a wide range of ages.
It’s Okay to Be Different Todd Parr, Little Brown Books for Young Readers (2001). Ages 3-8. A colorful, silly book that honors how we are all a little different.
In Celebration of Harvey Milk, Angela F. Luna, AuthorHouse (2011). In Celebration of Harvey Milk offers educators materials to teach about Harvey Milk in a way that honors his memory and his important contributions to our society while providing support and instructional materials that cultivate compassion and understanding for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people in our communities.
What Makes a Baby Cory Silverberg, Fiona Smyth (illustrator) Triangle Square Press (2013) This modern, gender-neutral story explains how babies are made. (Preschool – 2nd grade)
King and King Linda De Haan, Stern Nijland (illustrator), Tricycle Press (2001). Ages 3-8. The traditional fairy tale is turned upside down when a young prince falls in love with another prince.
Red: A Crayon’s Story Michael Hall, Greenwillow (Harper Collins, 2015). Ages 4-8. he star of the show is Red, a blue crayon who mistakenly has a red label.
Uncle Bobby’s Wedding Sarah S. Brannan, Putnam (2008). Ages 5-8. A young girl is anxious to maintain her special relationship with in her favorite uncle who is getting married to another man.
And Tango Makes Three Jusin Richardson and Peter Parnell, Henry Cole (illustrator), Simon & Shuster (2005). Ages 5-10. The true story of two male penguins who were given an egg to care for, raise and love.
The Harvey Milk Story Kaarie Krakow & David Gardner, Two Lives Publishing (2002). Ages 7-10. This book tells the true story of the first openly gay elected official in the U.S. who was assassinate in 1978.
Parts & Hearts: A kids (& grown-ups) guide to transgender transition. Jenson J. Hillenbrand and Quinlan Omahne (Illustrator). Lulu Publishing (2016). Ages 4-8. Kid appropriate book helps readers understand transgender transition, both male to female and female to male.
Introducing Teddy: A gentle story about gender and friendship Jessica Walton and Dougal MacPherson (illustrator). Bloomsbury (2016). Ages 3-6. A sweet and gentle story about being true to yourself and being a good friend, Introducing Teddy can also help children understand gender identity.
When Kathy Is Keith Wallace Wong, Xlibris Books (2011). Ages 4-8. An illustrated book written by a psychologist about a female to male transgender youth. Although it discusses the ftm social transition, some have criticized the often negative terms (which parents and guardians can edit out for the very young). It is a powerful book for some to see their reality reflected in pictures and text!
William’s Doll Charlotte Zolotow, Harper & Row (1985). Ages 4-8. A classic book from the classic children’s book author that challenges gender stereotypes and gender expression. Why is it so difficult for a boy to want a doll and why is it so hard to buy a doll for a boy are the central questions of the book.
Older Children/ Middle School to High School
Gracefully Grayson, Ami Polonsky, Disney-Hyperion (2014) Ages 10 and up. A story of an introverted transgender girl realizing her gender journey.
Beautiful Music for Ugly Children, Kirstin Cronn-Mills, Flux (2012). Ages 12 and up. A coming of age story of Liz who is born female but really identifies ages male. Through her radio show “Beautiful Music for Ugly Children” she begins to transform into the male identity of Gabe.
Golden Boy Abigail Tarttelin, Atria Books (2014). Ages 13 and up. A coming of age book about an intersex youth who self identifies as a boy, this tale is told from different perspectives about biological sex, gender identity, gender expression and gender stereotypes and their social constructions. A powerful and gripping tale that begins with an intense event but will reward you with amazing characters and a narrative arc that surprises and is uplifting.
I Am J, Cris Beam, Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, (2011). Ages 15 and up. Jennifer (J) always self-identified as a boy. J begins his gender journey under conflict and alienation from his family and even upon finding a school for LGBT youth continues to be alienated. A message of hope and family of choice for transgender youth.
George, Alex Gino. Scholastic Press (2015). Award winning book about gender identity for young adults.
The Other Boy, MG Hennessey (2016). A triumphant and sensitive portrayal of being transgender in 6th grade. Ages 8 and up.
The Misfits, James Howe, Atheneum Books for Young Readers, (2001) A group of students bring attention to the pervasive name-calling at their school. This book inspired the “No Name Calling Week” campaign across the nation.
From the Notebooks of Melanin Sun, Jacqueline Woodson, Puffin Books, (1995) A teenager reluctantly faces his mother’s new relationship with a white woman. This is a short, but powerful novel that explores issues of both orientation and race.
Deliever Us From Evie, M.E.Kerr, Harper Collins Publisher, (1994) Parr struggles to accept that his sister Evie is a lesbian. Things get more complicated when Evie dates the daughter of the richest man in town.
Rainbow Boy, Alex Sanchez, Simon & Schuster, (2001) The story of three teenage boys who are in various stages of accepting they may be gay. Some content for mature readers.
Luna, Julie Anne Peters, Little, Brown and Company, (2006) Although Regan desperately wants to support her older sibling who is transitioning from male to female, it isn’t always easy to help.
Coffee Will Make You Black April Sinclair, Hyperion (1994) A black, lesbian teenager learns the delicate balance between fitting in and being herself. Set in Chicago during the Civil Rights & Black Power movements.
Parrotfish, Ellen Wittlinger, Simon & Schuster Books, (2007) When Angela announces he is now Grady, his parents, sister and friends are far from supportive, but not entirely surprised.
Queer: The Ultimate LGBT Guide for Teens, Kathy Belge and Marke Bieschke, Zest Books (2011) This comprehensive resource is relevant for those who are already out and for people just starting to ask questions.
Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out Susan Kuklin, Candlewick Press, (2014). Ages 15 and Up. A wonderfully produced photographs and text book about the lives of transgender teens that address different aspects of their lives and different male to female and female to male transitions. Honest portrayals enrich the stories about what it means to be human and will empower many generations of gender expansive youth to come.
The resources below aren’t explicitly for youth & teens, but may be helpful in your child’s gender journey.
Parenting Gender Diverse Youth & Teens
Gender Born, Gender Made: Raising Healthy Gender-Nonconforming Children Diane Ehrensaft PhD, The Experiment (2011).
The Gender Creative Child: Pathways for Nurturing and Supporting Children Who Live Outside Gender Boxes Diane Ehrensaft PhD, The Experiment (2016).
The Transgender Child: A Handbook for Families and Professionals, Stephanie Brill and Rachel Pepper, Cleiss Press, Inc. (2008)
Transitions of the Heart, Rachel Pepper, Cleiss Press, Inc. (2012)
Raising My Rainbow: Adventures in Raising a Fabulous, Gender Creative Son, Lori Duron, Broadway Books, (2013). From prominent Southern California blogger who is raising a gender expansive boy who wears pink and all things glittery, a book about supporting your child in a community that is not as supportive as it could be.
Redefining Realness: My Path to Womanhood, Identity, Love & So Much More, Janet Mock, (2014)
Trans Bodies, Trans Selves: A Resource for the Transgender Community Laura Erickson-Schroth, Oxford University Press (2014). A revolutionary and multi-disciplinary text to empower and enrich the understanding of gender expansive people world wide. Absolutely a must read for all.
The Conscious Parent’s Guide to Gender Identity: A Mindful Approach to Embracing Your Child’s Authentic Self (The Conscious Parent’s Guides) Darlene Tando LCSW, Adams Media (2016).
The Gender Quest Workbook: A Guide for Teens and Young Adults Exploring Gender Identity
by Rylan Jay Testa PhD (Author), Deborah Coolhart PhD LMFT (Author), Jayme Peta MA MS, Instant Help Books (2015).