June is LGBTQ Pride Month and, more than ever, we need to celebrate and embrace our lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender friends and family members.
Growing up, I sadly did not see myself in children’s literature as there were very few examples of LGBTQ characters. Luckily, children today are seeing a continuous growth of diverse books. It’s amazing to see how many publishers and diverse authors are striving to ensure all children see themselves in books. It’s so important kids can relate to the books they read as our research shows that children look for books with “characters that look like them” (Kids & Family Reading Report).
There are many titles that I read as an adult, such as The Frontrunner by Patricia Nell Warren and the Tales of City series by Armistead Maupin, that showcased LGBTQ characters that I could relate to; however, what really left a profound impact on me recently was children’s literature that shared the LGBTQ experience.
Here is a sampling of Scholastic titles I found that can help kids “find myself” in literature:
My top picture book read:
- Monday is One Day by Arthur Levine. An excellent picture book highlighting all types of families. It's a love note from a working parent to their child. I particularly enjoy this book because not only does it showcase LGBTQ families, but it shows children how families come in all shapes, sizes and different backgrounds.
My top middle grade read:
- George by Alex Gino. Many people see George as a boy, but she knows she is a really a girl – and fears she will have to keep this secret forever. Her bravery shines through when she tries to aduition for the role of “Charlotte” in the school production of Charlotte’s Web. This book does an excellent job of helping children and parents understand how important it is to “be who you are.” It also recently won the 2016 Stonewall Book Award.
My top graphic novel read:
- Drama by Raina Telgemeier. If you did theater in middle school or high school, you will appreciate this book full of great characters dealing with friendships, crushes and teen angst. It’s really amazing to see how the characters accept each other for who they are, despite the tangled romances of teenage youth.
My top YA read:
- Drag Teen by Jeffrey Self. This book will make you smile ear to ear. JT dreams big and fights tooth-to-nail (and wig) to win the coveted title of "Miss Drag Teen" in New York City. Hilarity ensues as he, his boyfriend and bestie, Heather, work together to help him snag the crown.
Other top picks:
- I am Jazz by Jessica Herthel and Jazz Jennings
- Heather has Two Mommies by Leslea Newman
- In Our Mother’s House by Patrick Polacco
- Stella Brings the Family by Miriam B. Schiffer
- And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell
- Captain Underpants and the Sensational Saga of Sir Stinks-a-Lot by Dav Pilkey
- Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan
- The Marvels by Brian Selznick