Pride Month is a time to celebrate being true to yourself. Yet lack of proper LGBTQ+ representation in children’s books can leave kids in the dark, not even knowing that their true self is an option. By introducing children to ideas about diverse genders and sexualities early in life, you not only give them the language to explore their own identities, but encourage them to be more open to others’ as well. Here are some of Cardinal Rule Press’s favorite Pride Month reads with outstanding queer representation!
CALVIN BY JR FORD (AUTHOR), VANESSA FORD (AUTHOR), KAYLA HARREN (ILLUSTRATOR)
In this joyful and impactful picture book, a transgender boy prepares for the first day of school and introduces himself to his family and friends for the first time.
Calvin has always been a boy, even if the world sees him as a girl. He knows who he is in his heart and in his mind but he hasn’t yet told his family. Finally, he can wait no longer: “I’m not a girl,” he tells his family. “I’m a boy—a boy in my heart and in my brain.” Quick to support him, his loving family takes Calvin shopping for the swim trunks he’s always wanted and back-to-school clothes and a new haircut that helps him look and feel like the boy he’s always known himself to be. As the first day of school approaches, he’s nervous and the “what-ifs” gather up inside him. But as his friends and teachers rally around him and he tells them his name, all his “what-ifs” begin to melt away.
Inspired by the authors’ own transgender child and accompanied by warm and triumphant illustrations, this authentic and personal text promotes kindness and empathy, offering a poignant and inclusive back-to-school message: all should feel safe, respected, and welcomed.
LOVE, VIOLET BY CHARLOTTE SULLIVAN WILD (AUTHOR), CHARLENE CHUA (ILLUSTRATOR)
Love, Violet by Charlotte Sullivan Wild and Charlene Chua is a touching picture book about friendship and the courage it takes to share your feelings.
Only one person
makes Violet’s heart skip
Of all the kids in Violet’s class, only one leaves her speechless: Mira, the girl with the cheery laugh who races like the wind. If only they could adventure together! But every time Violet tries to tell Mira how she feels, Violet goes shy. As Valentine’s Day approaches, Violet is determined to tell Mira just how special she is.
Charlene Chua’s luminous watercolors bring to life this sweet and gentle picture book about friendship, love, and the courage it takes to share your heart.
Want to take your learning even further beyond the book? Check out this free companion video by the author!
UNCLE BOBBY’S WEDDING BY SARAH BRANNEN (AUTHOR), LUCIA SOTO (ILLUSTRATOR)
Chloe loves, loves, LOVES her special uncle Bobby. So when she learns that Uncle Bobby is going to be getting married to his boyfriend Jamie she’s not at all pleased. What if Uncle Bobby doesn’t have time to play with Chloe anymore? But after spending a fun-filled day with Bobby and Jamie, she soon realises she’s not losing an uncle, but gaining a whole new one!
An uplifting celebration of love in all its forms, this book is perfect for any child who has a special grown-up in their life.
WHAT RILEY WORE BY ELANA K. ARNOLD (AUTHOR), LINDA DAVICK (ILLUSTRATOR)
Gender-creative Riley knows just what to wear for every occasion during a busy week with family and friends in this sweet and timely picture book from Elana K. Arnold and Linda Davick.
Riley wears whatever clothes feel right each day. On Monday, Riley feels shy and wears a bunny costume to school. On Tuesday, a scary trip to the dentist calls for a superhero cape. For a trip out with Otto and Oma, a ball gown is the perfect outfit.
This charming picture book is a gentle exploration of self-expression and a source of encouragement for being true to oneself despite the expectations of others.
While this list actively tried to work against this, we at Cardinal Rule Press couldn’t help but notice that the vast majority of picture books with queer representation focused on the stories of white people assigned male at birth. These stories are important, but they are by no means the only stories the queer community has to tell. If you are a picture book writer from a marginalized community or intersectional marginalized communities, we encourage you to submit your work to us during our next submission period.
For more book lists and suggestions, be sure to join our monthly newsletter!
Martina Rethman is an editorial intern with Cardinal Rule Press. She is currently a senior at Carnegie Mellon University.
Leave a comment