As we celebrate Pride Month, we are reminded that inclusivity and acceptance are values that should be fostered from an early age. One powerful way to introduce children to the LGBTQ+ community and promote empathy, understanding, and diversity is through reading LGBTQ+ books. By offering young readers stories that reflect a wide range of identities and experiences, we can cultivate a generation of compassionate individuals who celebrate differences and stand up against discrimination.
By reading inclusive stories to our children, we can help them:
Build Empathy: Reading LGBTQ+ books exposes children to diverse perspectives and experiences. These stories help them develop empathy and compassion by allowing them to walk in the shoes of characters who may have different sexual orientations or gender identities. By immersing themselves in these narratives, children learn to embrace differences and appreciate the struggles and triumphs of the LGBTQ+ community.
Engage in Self-Discovery: For young readers who may be questioning their own identities, LGBTQ+ books provide a vital resource for self-discovery and self-acceptance. These stories validate the experiences of LGBTQ+ individuals and offer comfort, support, and guidance. When children see characters who share similar feelings and challenges, they realize they are not alone, helping them navigate their own journeys of self-understanding.
Challenge Stereotypes: Reading LGBTQ+ books challenges stereotypes and misconceptions that may be prevalent in society. These stories present LGBTQ+ characters as fully developed individuals, breaking free from one-dimensional portrayals. By encountering LGBTQ+ protagonists who are strong, resilient, and diverse in their personalities, children learn to question societal norms and appreciate the rich tapestry of human experiences.
Foster Inclusivity: LGBTQ+ books promote inclusivity by creating spaces where all identities are valued and respected. Reading about different family structures, identities, and relationships helps children understand that love knows no boundaries and that every individual deserves to be seen and celebrated.
Become Allies: Reading LGBTQ+ books is not only valuable for LGBTQ+ children but also for their peers. By exposing all children to LGBTQ+ stories, we can create a generation of allies who understand the importance of equality and acceptance. These books teach children to challenge discrimination, stand up against bullying, and embrace diversity in all its forms.
Here are a few of our recommended reads:
Love Makes a Family by Sophie Beer
This book shows that it doesn’t matter what your family looks like, the only thing that makes a family a family, is love! Each page showcases bright illustrations of diverse families doing special activities together, from baking a cake to finding a lost shoe. (Ages 0-3)
Twas the Night Before Pride by Joanna McClintick, illustrated by Juana Medina
Discover the history behind Pride month and how it became nationally recognized with this gorgeous picture book. Young readers will learn about Stonewall, AIDS, protests, and other significant events in an age-appropriate way. It’s a must-read for anyone interested in Pride history. (Ages 4-8)
Zenobia July by Lisa Bunker
Zenobia July is a hacking and coding prodigy who’s attending a new school as a girl for the first time. Though she’s recently lost her family of origin, she creates a chosen family in the LGBTQ+ community. (Ages 10+)
I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson
When this book came out, it seemed to be on everyone’s must-read list, and with good reason. I’ll Give You the Sun is the emotional and breathtaking story of twin brothers who no longer speak, and what—if anything—can bring them back to each other. (Young Adult)