Building an accepting community would be impossible without raising awareness of important social issues in children. For children who are too young to know much about the birds and the bees, educating them about LGBT issues is often a touchy subject. To foster their appreciation of diversity and to improve their self-confidence as they learn about their own identity, books can serve as an excellent guide for parents struggling to find the right words.
Here are four fantastic picture books that, with the help of a parent, can enlighten children about LGBT issues in a manner that is both approachable and appropriate for their age.
In a wildly whimsical, validating, and exuberant reflection of the LGBT community, This Day In June welcomes readers to experience a pride celebration and share in a day when we are all united. The book is perfect for discussions of LGBT Pride Month and diversity within the LGBT community.
For those who recognize the lack of LGBT-themed picture books in the market, George the Gay Lion will be welcomed with utter joy. The gorgeously rendered illustrations pair with the emotive language of the text to create a heartwarming story of one young lion’s drive to be himself, despite the pressure from his father, the king. George the Gay Lion succeeds in offering an engaging, inspiring tale of hope.
Jacob loves dinosaurs, trucks, pirates, playing tag—and wearing dresses. When the other boys at school begin teasing him, Jacob decides to take a stand. Cute illustrations and realistic dialogue convey the struggles of this proud, determined young boy. Perfect for discouraging gender-nonconforming children from succumbing to bullying, this is a gentle introduction to societal norms and rebellion.
Papa, Dad, their amazing kid, and one fabulous grandmother work together to implement a plan to save Christmas for a child they have never met. It’s a story where joy is found in giving and selfless acts unite families. The depiction of same-sex parents participating in a traditional holiday, without being didactic, allows children to observe LGBT people as normalized in society rather than different.
Aimee Jodoin is deputy editor at Foreword Reviews. You can follow her on Twitter @aimeebeajo.