Introducing Teddy, written by author Jessica Walton, as a way to talk to her young son about the journey her parent traveled as she transitioned to her authentic self is heart-warming, accessible to even our youngest readers, and the perfect book to talk about loving each other for who we are. Friendship endures in the tale of acceptance, honesty, and celebration of self. Every classroom library should have this book on hand to develop empathy among children we seek in the world. Both young and old readers will enjoy revisiting this story of friendship and kindness. We hope you enjoy this brilliant book as much as we do!
Red: A Crayon’s Story, written by Michael Hall, takes the youngest reader on a journey about recognizing the gifts in others, celebrating the differences that bind us together, and supporting one another’s unique talents. This is a great book to read to our youngest children, as well as, exploring the deeper meaning with our older children. The message of this book expands as children grow older and more knowledgeable about the world. The power to be who you are and to be recognized by others for it.
Be Who You Are!, written by Jennifer Carr the mom of a gender non-conforming child, is an incredibly moving story about social transition, identity, family acceptance, and navigating the world around us. The story captures the emotions and feelings of both youth transitioning, as well as their family’s path along the way. The language of the book is also very helpful to role-play with youth about possible scenarios of speaking about who they are. For example, speaking to a change of name: “Please call me Hope, it would mean a lot to me.” This is a book we’ve found trans youth read over and over, as it sends a message of empowerment.
10,000 Dresses, written by Marcus Ewert, is a touching story about Bailey, a young transgender girl who imagines all the beautiful dresses she’d want to wear if only her mother, father, and brother would truly listen to her and support the authentic person she knows she is inside. Befriended by an older girl, Laurel, Bailey is able to finally see herself, in reality, the way she sees herself in her mind’s eye. This book, about acceptance, friendship, and authenticity, will touch the heart of our youngest readers and spark important conversations with our older readers. We hope you enjoy this book as much as we enjoy Bailey’s journey to find her true self.
Jacob’s New Dress, by parents Sarah and Ian Hoffman, is a beautiful book for our youngest readers to touch on the topics of gender non-conforming children. Jacob, as a young boy who always runs to the dress up play area at school and puts on a dress and crown, confronts the unkind comments some of his classmates say because of his choice in expression. Supported by his parents, his teacher, and his close friend Emily, Jacob learns to find his voice to stand up to bullies and be confident with his steadfast choice to express himself in any way he feels comfortable. This story is beautiful for educators and families looking to create dialogue around topics of compassion, empathy, and standing up for one’s beliefs. A must-read!
My Princess Boy: A Mom’s Story About a Young Boy Who Loves to Dress Up, was written by Cheryl Kilodavis as a way to support her young gender non-conforming son as he entered preschool. Her intent to write this nonfiction picture book was to build acceptance and compassion for all children who want to express themselves in ways that make them feel most authentic to themselves. This beautifully written and illustrated book is perfect for readers of all ages to grow an understanding of celebrating the differences between us and building compassion in our hearts for one another.
When Kayla Was Kyle, written by Amy Fabrikant, a mother of a transgender child and advocate for gender diversity, is a beautiful story following Kayla’s transition. The author wrote this story to make sure that children’s and families voices be heard. We follow Kayla’s journey of transition, how her family, friends, and community support her, and the reality of the bullying and fear that surround transitions at times. All of the profits from the sale of When Kayla Was Kyle go to the Trans Youth Family Allies organization. Educators, if you are looking for a window into a perspective on social transition, this is a beautiful book to give a heartfelt and honest perspective. Families, if you are looking for a book to affirm your transgender child, this is an important read.
Parts & Hearts: A Kids (& Grown-ups) Guide to Transgender Transition, written by transgender writer Jenson Hillenbrand, is a nonfiction text designed to teach children what it means to transition as a transgender child. The book says its target audience is children nine to twelve, but we’ve found it to be very useful for our youngest readers under nine years of age as well. It is a great resource to provide information for children who are themselves transitioning or for family members or allies to understand what transition might entail. One of the ideas we like best in the book is that it illustrates the naturalness of transition and that it’s not a person’s body that makes them who they are, it’s the love in their heart and that stays constant. Very informative with a beautifully accepting message.
All I Want To Be Is Me was written by Phyllis Rothblatt, a therapist who has had much experience supporting gender non-conforming and transgender youth and their families. The book’s message of urging children to be proud of who they are and stand tall uplifts readers of all ages. This book touches on topics such a bullying, pronoun usage, and having the courage to proudly celebrate who you are. The author’s overall message of loving yourself for all your beautiful combined with her artfully illustrated original images makes this book a beautiful addition to your classroom or home library.
I Am Jazz, co-authored by Jessica Herthel and Jazz Jennings, shares the true transition story of inspriational Jazz Jennings, a transgender girl and advocate for transgender rights. This story beautifully follows Jazz and her two best friends, as she learns to advocate for herself, as her family learns to support her, and navigates her life. The message of this story, one of finding inner strength to be who you are and to be proud of and happy with who you are on the inside will build compassion in any home or classroom. A perfect book to learn about the life of real transgender advocates for your classroom, educators. Families, your children will love hearing about Jazz’s life from her perspective. We hope you enjoy this journey with Jazz.
Morris Micklewhite and the Tangerine Dress, by Christine Baldacchino, is a story about little Morris, who likes to dress-up in a beautiful orange dress at school that reminds him of tigers and the sun. This picture book chronicles his journey as he learns to advocate for his love of wearing this dress at school, as classmates are unkind to him because of his gender expression. He learns to use his voice and declares that “this boy does” love to wear dresses. This is a beautiful book about self-expression and the courage to be yourself.
The lovely picture book, by author Leslea Newman of the acclaimed story Heather Has Two Mommies, takes readers on a journey of little Casey, a young boy who loves anything shimmery, and his older sister, Jessie, as she learns to show him, unconditional love. The beautifully illustrated book explores notions of gender expression, pushing back on socialized norms of gender, and how we can support loved ones as they explore their affinities in life. This book should be in every classroom, every library, every home. An immense thank you to Ms. Newman for her unwavering commitment to inclusive books. Your voice and vision are breathtaking.