Thanks to Little Feminist, Brightly, Welcoming Schools, and PSP members for the below suggestions! For even more kids’ books that address themes of gender identity, sexuality, and gender roles, check out Feminist Books for Kids, Book Riot, and Social Justice Books. If you have a New York Public Library card, one parent also recommends: "I was pleased to see that the main Manhattan library (on 5th Ave and 40th Street) has various book baskets of children's books that deal with social issues, including one devoted to gender and sexuality, including Jacob's New Dress (which the Brooklyn library has too) and My Princess Boy, both of which we liked a lot."
A Fire Engine for Ruthie by Lesléa Newman: Ruthie loves to visit Nana, but they don’t always like to play with the same things. Ruthie loves fire engines and motorcycles, while Nana loves dolls and dress-up clothes. Nana’s neighbor, Brian, gets to play with fire engines and motorcycles. So why doesn’t Ruthie?
A Quick & Easy Guide to They/Them Pronouns by Archie Bongiovanni: Archie, a snarky genderqueer artist, is tired of people not understanding gender neutral pronouns. Tristan, a cisgender dude, is looking for an easy way to introduce gender neutral pronouns to his increasingly diverse workplace. The longtime best friends team up in this short and fun comic guide that explains what pronouns are, why they matter, and how to use them.
And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell: In the zoo there are all kinds of animal families. But Tango's family is not like any of the others. This illustrated children's book fictionalizes the true story of two male penguins who became partners and raised a penguin chick in the Central Park Zoo.
Annie's Plaid Shirt by Stacy B. Davids: Annie loves her plaid shirt and wears it everywhere. But one day her mom tells Annie that she must wear a dress to her uncle's wedding. Annie protests, but her mom insists and buys her a fancy new dress anyway. Annie is miserable. She feels weird in dresses. Why can't her mom understand? Then Annie has an idea. But will her mom agree?
A Princess of Great Daring by Tobi Hill-Meyer: When Jamie is ready to tell people that she's really a girl inside, she becomes a princess of great daring in a game she plays with her best friends to gather her courage.
Backwards Day by S. Bear Bergman: Andrea looks eagerly forward to Backwards Day every year, so she can turn into a boy for the day. But one year she doesn't turn along with everyone else. She's miserable. The very next day, however, she turns into a boy - and stays that way! He's delighted, but his parents are distressed, and take him to the big city to consult with Backwardsologists. When they finally figure out what's happened, the miracles of Backwards Day are fully revealed to the reader.
Be Who You Are by Jennifer Carr: Nick was born in a boy's body, but has always felt like a girl inside. Nick's family supports him when he says he no longer wants to be called a boy or dress like a boy; "Always remember to be who you are Nick. Remember that we love you, and we are so proud of you."
Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out by Susan Kuklin: Author and photographer Susan Kuklin met and interviewed six transgender or gender-neutral young adults and used her considerable skills to represent them thoughtfully and respectfully before, during, and after their personal acknowledgment of gender preference.
Bow-Wow-Meow by Blanca Lacasa: A laugh-out-loud funny and charming picture book about being yourself and understanding others.
Everybody Knows That! by Susan Pearson: A young girl decides to teach her playmate a lesson after he lets her know she can't do certain things because she's a girl.
Except When they Don’t by Laura Gehl: This rhyming picture book encourages children to celebrate their individuality and lets them know that it's okay to play with whatever toys they want to!
Frog and Toad series by Arnold Lobel
What parents are saying: “This is about a very close and very sweet friendship between 2 male frogs. The author was gay and died of AIDS in the 80's. In general this could be a good book to foster ANY healthy warm male relationships, but might be particularly salient to a boy who may be gay.”
From the Stars in the Sky to the Fish in the Sea by Kai Cheng Thom: A children’s picture book that incorporates lush visual storytelling with poetic language to tell the tale of a magical gender variant child who brings transformation and change to the world around them with the help of their mother’s love.
George by Alex Gino: When people look at George, they think they see a boy. But she knows she's not a boy. She knows she's a girl. George thinks she'll have to keep this a secret forever. Then her teacher announces that their class play is going to be Charlotte's Web. George really, really, REALLY wants to play Charlotte. But the teacher says she can't even try out for the part . . . because she's a boy.
I Am Jazz by Jessica Herthel and Jazz Jennings: The story of a transgender child based on the real-life experience of Jazz Jennings, who has become a spokesperson for transkids everywhere.
I Love My Colorful Nails by Alicia Acosta, Luis Amavisca: A young boy who loves to paint his nails in cheerful colors is made fun of at school. His father and those around him paint their nails to stand against Ben's bullies, encouraging him to be himself, despite what others think.
Introducing Teddy: A Gentle Story About Gender and Friendship by Jess Walton: One sunny day, Errol finds that Thomas the Teddy is sad, and Errol can't figure out why. Then Thomas the Teddy finally tells Errol what Teddy has been afraid to say: “In my heart, I've always known that I'm a girl Teddy, not a boy Teddy. I wish my name was Tilly.” And Errol says, “I don't care if you're a girl teddy or a boy teddy! What matters is that you are my friend.”
It Feels Good to Be Yourself: A Book about Gender Identity by Theresa Thorn: This sweet, straightforward exploration of gender identity will give children a fuller understanding of themselves and others.
Jacob's New Dress by Sarah Hoffman and Ian Hoffman: Jacob loves playing dress-up, when he can be anything he wants to be. Some kids at school say he can't wear "girl" clothes, but Jacob wants to wear a dress to school. Can he convince his parents to let him wear what he wants?
Julián Is a Mermaid by Jessica Love: While riding the subway home from the pool with his abuela one day, Julián notices three women spectacularly dressed up. When Julián gets home, daydreaming of the magic he's seen, all he can think about is dressing up just like the ladies in his own fabulous mermaid costume. But what will Abuela think about how Julián sees himself?
What parents are saying: "Julián is a Mermaid is another great book - a little advanced (I read it with my older one when she was 3-4), but it's so beautifully illustrated."
Love Makes a Family by Sophie Beer: Whether you have two mums, two dads, one parent, or one of each, there's one thing that makes a family a family... and that's love.
My Gender Workbook: How to Become a Real Man, a Real Woman, the Real You, or Something Else Entirely by Kate Bornstein: Cultural theorists have written loads of smart but difficult-to-fathom texts on gender, but none provide a hands-on, accessible guide to having your own unique gender. With My Gender Workbook, Kate Bornstein brings theory down to Earth and provides a practical approach to living with or without a gender.
Neither by Airlie Anderson: In this colorful and touching story that celebrates what makes each of us unique, a little creature that's not quite a bird and not quite a bunny--it's "neither"--searches for a place to fit in.
One of a Kind, Like Me / Único Como Yo by Laurin Mayeno: Tomorrow is the school parade, and Danny knows exactly what he will be: a princess. Mommy supports him 100%, and they race to the thrift store to find his costume. It's almost closing time; will Danny find the costume of his dreams in time?
Out!: How to Be Your Authentic Self by Miles McKenna: Activist Miles McKenna came out on his YouTube channel in 2017, documenting his transition to help other teens navigate their identities and take charge of their own coming-out stories. From that wisdom comes Out!, the ultimate coming-out survival guide.
Pink Is for Boys by Robb Pearlman: Pink is for boys... and girls... and everyone! This timely and beautiful picture book rethinks and reframes the stereotypical blue/pink gender binary and empowers kids – and their grown-ups – to express themselves in every color of the rainbow.
Pride Colors by Robin Stevenson: Through gentle rhymes and colorful photographs of adorable children, Pride Colors is a celebration of the deep unconditional love of a parent or caregiver for a young child. The profound message of this delightful board book is you are free to be yourself; you'll always be loved.
Sex is a Funny Word: A Book about Bodies, Feelings, and YOU by Cory Silverberg: A comic book for kids that includes children and families of all makeups, orientations, and gender identies, Sex Is a Funny Word is an essential resource about bodies, gender, and sexuality for children ages 8 to 10 as well as their parents and caregivers.
Sparkle Boy by Lesléa Newman: Casey loves to play with his blocks, puzzles, and dump truck, but he also loves things that sparkle, shimmer, and glitter.
The Boy & The Bindi by Vivek Shraya: A beautiful children’s picture book that showcases a young Indian boy’s fascination with his mother’s bindi, the red dot commonly worn by Hindu women. Rather than chastise her son, she teaches him about its cultural significance and doesn’t flinch when he asks for one himself.
The Gender Wheel: A Story about Bodies and Gender by Maya Gonzalez: This body positive book is a powerful opportunity for a supportive adult and child to see a wide range of bodies, understand the origins of the current binary gender system, how we can learn from nature to see the truth that has always existed and revision a new story that includes room for all bodies and genders.
The Gender Quest Workbook: A Guide for Teens and Young Adults Exploring Gender Identity by Rylan Jay Testa, Deborah Coolhart, and Jayme Peta: Incorporates skills, exercises, and activities from evidence-based therapies—such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)—to help teens address the broad range of struggles they may encounter related to gender identity, such as anxiety, isolation, fear, and even depression.
The Moon Within by Aida Salazar: Celi Rivera's life swirls with questions. About her changing body. Her first attraction to a boy. And her best friend's exploration of what it means to be genderfluid. But most of all, her mother's insistence she have a moon ceremony when her first period arrives. It's an ancestral Mexica ritual that Mima and her community have reclaimed, but Celi promises she will NOT be participating. Can she find the power within herself to take a stand for who she wants to be?
The Pants Project by Cat Clarke: “Girls must wear a black, pleated, knee-length skirt,” says the dress code for Liv’s new school. Here’s the thing: People at school may think Liv is a girl, but on the inside, he’s a boy.
They Call Me Mix/Me Llaman Maestre by Lourdes Rivas: They Call Me Mix is a bilingual (English and Spanish) Children's book geared towards Kinder-2nd grade age students about what it means to be a transgender person of color.
They, She, He Easy as ABC by Maya Gonzalez: They, She, He: Easy as ABC shows that including everyone is all part of the dance. It’s easy. It’s fundamental. As the dance begins the kids proclaim, “No one left out and everyone free,” in a sing-song rhyme about inclusion.
Tough Boris by Mem Fox: Boris von der Borch is a mean, greedy old pirate--tough as nails, through and through, like all pirates. Or is he? When a young boy sneaks onto Boris's ship, he discovers that Boris and his mates aren't quite what he expected.
What Are Your Words?: A Book About Pronouns by Katherine Locke: Follow Ari through their neighborhood as they try to find their words in this sweet, accessible introduction to gender-inclusive pronouns that is perfect for readers of all ages.
When Aidan Became A Brother by Kyle Lukoff: When Aidan was born, everyone thought he was a girl. His parents gave him a pretty name, his room looked like a girl's room, and he wore clothes that other girls liked wearing. After he realized he was a trans boy, Aidan and his parents fixed the parts of life that didn't fit anymore, and he settled happily into his new life. Then Mom and Dad announce that they're going to have another baby, and Aidan wants to do everything he can to make things right for his new sibling from the beginning--from choosing the perfect name to creating a beautiful room to picking out the cutest onesie. But what does "making things right" actually mean? And what happens if he messes up?
Who Are You?: The Kid's Guide to Gender Identity by Brook Pessin-Whedbee: This brightly illustrated children's book provides a straightforward introduction to gender for anyone aged 4+. It presents clear and direct language for understanding and talking about how we experience gender: our bodies, our expression and our identity.
William's Doll by Charlotte Zolotow: William’s Doll was published in 1972 and was one of the first picture books to deal with gender stereotypes. William's Doll has been welcomed by teachers, librarians, and other caregivers as a springboard for discussion about gender roles and intolerance, whether shared one on one or with groups in a classroom or library setting.
Tip from a member on making any storybook gender-neutral: “One thing that i've done is to take classic stories that could be any gender but the author chose to make the protagonist male/female for no reason... and i just change those pronouns to ‘They.’ One of my friends suggested making stickers to cover the He's (maybe i should as she gets closer to reading) but i just do it on the spot. Example Are You My Mother? ... there is no way the mother bird knows her baby is a boy when it's in the egg. There is no way that this baby bird knows that they are a boy (They don't even know that they are a bird. Maybe I'm a cat? or a plane?) So I use THEY. It helps me practice using They in these cases in real life. but also just seems more appropriate to the story itself.”
At the Broken Places: A Mother and Trans Son Pick Up the Pieces by Mary Collins and Donald Collins: In this collaborative memoir a mother and trans son reflect on the emotionally complex journey they shared as Donald transitioned from female to male.
Gender Explorers by Juno Roche: Life-affirming interviews with young trans people who share their empowering experiences of questioning and exploring gender.
In Their Shoes: Navigating Non-Binary Life by Jamie Windust: Combining light-hearted anecdotes with their own hard-won wisdom, Jamie Windust explores everything from fashion, dating, relationships and family, through to mental health, work and future key debates. From trying on clothes in secret to iconic looks, first dates to polyamorous liaisons, passports to pronouns, Jamie shows you how to navigate the world and your evolving identity in every type of situation.
Nonbinary: Memoirs of Gender and Identity, edited by Micah Rajunov and Scott Duane: What happens when your gender doesn’t fit neatly into the categories of male or female? Even mundane interactions like filling out a form or using a public bathroom can be a struggle when these designations prove inadequate. In this groundbreaking book, thirty authors highlight how our experiences are shaped by a deeply entrenched gender binary.
Parenting Beyond Pink & Blue: How to Raise Your Kids Free of Gender Stereotypes by Christia Spears Brown: A guide that helps parents focus on their children's unique strengths and inclinations rather than on gendered stereotypes to more effectively bring out the best in their individual children, for parents of infants to middle schoolers.
Rethinking Normal: A Memoir in Transition by Katie Rain Hill: In her unique, generous, and affecting voice, nineteen-year-old Katie Hill shares her personal journey of undergoing gender reassignment.
Transitions of the Heart: Stories of Love, Struggle and Acceptance by Mothers of Transgender and Gender Variant Children, edited by Rachel Pepper: The first collection to ever invite mothers of transgender and gender variant children of all ages to tell their own stories about their child's gender transition.
A Guide To Gender Identity Terms is NPR’s glossary of terms relating to gender identity, with the goal of helping people communicate accurately and respectfully with one another.
Educating Parents of Non Binary Kids is a group for parents who have non binary children to get together and share experiences. This group is a growth and educating zone.
Gender Spectrum works to create gender sensitive and inclusive environments for all children and teens through online consulting, resources, and support groups.
Gender Creative Kids offers resources to support and educate kids, youth,
and their families on gender and the wide spectrum of identities it can encompass.
Grand Armyon Netflix is appropriate for parents and kids age 13+ to watch together. It follows five students at the largest public high school in Brooklyn who are taking on a chaotic world as they fight to succeed, survive, break free, and seize the future. The show tackles issues of race, class, and queer inclusion.
How to Be a Girl is an audio podcast produced by a single mom about life with her young transgender daughter, as they attempt together to sort out just what it means to be a girl.
Miss Representation is a 2011 documentary that explores the under-representation of women in positions of power and influence in America, and challenges the media's limited portrayal of what it means to be a powerful woman.
Planned Parenthood has guides to help you discuss sexual orientations and gender identities with kids of all ages, and advice on how to support them if they’re LGBTQ.
Amaze has accessible short videos on gender identity.
The Human Rights Campaign’s Resources on Gender-Expansive Children and Youth includes support and education starting points for parents, kids, and educators.
The Mask You Live In is a 2015 documentary that explores how our culture's narrow definition of masculinity is harming our boys, men and society at large and unveils what we can do about it.
Sex Positive Families provides the education and resources that help families raise sexually healthy children.
The NYC Department of Education has Guidelines on Gender Inclusion, including the following statement that may be helpful to raise with teachers and staff when discussing inclusive practices:
"Generally, school-based practices should not be based on gender—including, for example, when dividing students into lines or for lunch, recess, or discussion groups. Schools should not use colors, images, or symbols traditionally associated with one gender (e.g., pink vs. blue, construction hats vs. tiaras) to divide or otherwise categorize students by gender. Schools should also avoid gender-based events such as father-daughter dances and designating kings or queens for dances or proms."
GLAAD rewrites the script for LGBTQ acceptance, aiming to tackle tough issues to shape the narrative and provoke dialogue that leads to cultural change. They provide resources for youth engagement and information for people of various racial, sexual, and gender identities.
GLSEN works to ensure that LGBTQ students are able to learn and grow in a school environment free from bullying and harassment.
GSA Network is a next-generation LGBTQ racial and gender justice organization that empowers and trains queer, trans and allied youth leaders to advocate, organize, and mobilize an intersectional movement for safer schools and healthier communities.
The Trevor Project is the leading national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer & questioning (LGBTQ) young people under 25. Trevor NextGen is the NYC-based chapter of Trevor’s volunteer-led groups that design and organize local fundraising, outreach, and volunteer recruitment opportunities supporting The Trevor Project.
Trans Lifeline’s Hotline is a peer support phone service run by trans people for trans and questioning peers.
TransYouth Family Allies empowers children and families by partnering with educators, service providers and communities, to develop supportive environments in which gender may be expressed and respected.
Stand with Trans’ Ally Parents program brings parents of trans kids together to help any trans/non-binary person and chat with parents who need some support.
Brooklyn Community Pride Center provides a safe, common space offering physical and mental health services, social support, recreational and cultural programming, as well as being a hub of information for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals and families in Brooklyn.
LGBT Health at Mount Sinai offers advocacy for LGBT health equity, access to comprehensive transgender health services, patient health education, primary care, and more.
Callen-Lorde offers full-spectrum health services as well as Health Outreach To Teens, a welcoming, non-judgmental, confidential program designed specifically to meet the medical and mental health needs of LGBTQ adolescents and young adults ages 13-24.
PFLAG NYC is a partnership of parents, allies, and LGBT people working to make a better future for LGBT youth and adults. They offer support groups for parents, families and friends of lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender people. LGBT people are also welcome to attend. PFLAG also offers a confidential helpline for anyone needing one-on-one support.
The Gender & Family Project (GFP) at the Ackerman Institute for the Family empowers youth, families and communities by providing gender affirmative services, training and research.
The Hetrick-Martin Institute for LGBTQ+ Youth offers programs, services, and online resources. Their membership program provides a safe space for all youth ages 13-24, regardless of sexual orientation or identity.
The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center offers connection, resources, and support for LGBT youth and families.
The New York Area Bisexual Network serves as a central communications network for Bisexual & Bi-Friendly Groups and Resources in all five borough's of NYC and the surrounding Tri-state area.
The New York City Anti-Violence Project empowers lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and HIV-affected communities and allies to end all forms of violence through organizing and education, and supports survivors through counseling and advocacy.
Children's Books with a Positive, Feminist Message (includes recommendations for children's books with characters who do not conform to gender stereotypes)