If you’re looking for a picture book about grandparents, love, and grief with amazing LGBTQ+ representation, I have the perfect book for you today.
Grandad’s Camper follows a young girl who loves to visit her grandad’s cottage every summer, listening to stories of his travels with Gramps. Grandad doesn’t travel much since Gramps passed away, but that’s all about to change, as our young narrator encourages Grandad to dust off his old camper and get back on the road.
I have never seen a children’s book handle grief in such a beautiful way. There is no sorrow here. This book contains only joy, love, and a celebration of Grandad’s life with Gramps as his granddaughter encourages him to follow his passion for exploring in a new way after losing his husband.
As a queer person, I am so grateful to see a long joyful queer future represented in this book. Growing up, I never saw my queer identity on the pages of the books I read. I didn’t have a name for what I was, much less a future attached to it. I’m so proud that my child will have books like this on his shelf so he will know that queer books can be more than just a lesson, but an authentic look into someone’s full experience as a human.
I honestly love everything about this book, especially the illustrations. They capture Grandad’s and Gramps’ travels so beautifully and really bring life to their story.
You can pick up your own copy of Grandad’s Camper today wherever books are sold, including Bookshop and Amazon. (Please note: Some links provided are affiliate links. Affiliate links allow me to receive a small commission for recommendations at no cost to you. This commission is used to maintain this site and to continue bringing content to you. I always appreciate your support!)
Harry Woodgate is an award-winning illustrator who found the inspiration to write Grandad’s Camper after their university dissertation revealed a lack of older LBGTQ+ representation in children’s literature. To learn more about Harry and their work, please visit their website at harrywoodgate.com.
This book is a part of a partnership between Little Bee Book and GLAAD to accelerate LGBTQ+ acceptance through children’s literature. To learn more about this partnership and other LBGTQ+ books, you can visit glaad.org and littlebeebooks.com.
I would also like to thank Little Bee Books for generously providing me with a review copy of Grandad’s Camper. I know I will be reading this wonderful book to my little one for years to come.
Today we celebrate International Transgender Day of Visibility, a day dedicated to celebrating transgender people and raising awareness of the discrimination they face. Sadly, In the United States, we don’t have to look hard to see the discrimination faced by trans people. With multiple anti-trans laws aimed at transgender youth being introduced, it’s hard to ignore the challenges faced by the trans community. This push to remove the healthcare and privacy rights of transgender children is a reminder that we have a long way to go.
As parents, we need to ensure we introduce our children to transgender people positively, and not through a conversation about whether someone deserves to have health care, play on a sports team, or use a specific bathroom. If we want to foster acceptance in the next generation, we must teach our cisgender children to open their hearts and minds and see their transgender friends, classmates, and acquaintances as human beings and not a problem to be solved.
So in honor of International Transgender Day of Visibility, I want to share a few picture books that can help facilitate these conversations with our children. Each of these books provides representation for trans kids to feel visible, while also providing a look into the trans experience for cisgender children.
So without further ado, here they are.
They She He Me: Free to Be! by Maya Christina Gonzalez and Matthew SG (Bookshop | Amazon)
They She He Me: Free to Be! is a fantastic introduction to gender and pronouns for young readers. With pronouns repeated on each page paired with a diverse range of people, this book beautifully illustrates that there is no one way people who use a specific pronoun look. The back matter contains matter-of-fact information about pronouns, as well as a lovely author’s note about Maya and Matthew’s experiences with parenting and pronouns. This is an amazing resource to help young children understand gender expression and encourage them to embrace everyone’s identity.
Ho’onani: Hula Warrior by Heather Gale, Illustrated by Mika Song (Bookshop | Amazon)
Inspired by a true story, Ho’onani: Hula Warrior tells the story of a young girl who doesn’t see herself as a girl or a boy. Ho’onani is just Ho’onani. When her teacher announces that the school will perform a traditional hula chant, Ho’onani knows she wants to take part, though boys traditionally performed hula chants. We follow Ho’onani on her path to becoming a hula warrior, as Ho’onani’s sister struggles to understand and accept Ho’onani’s identity. With its message of understanding and acceptance, Ho’onani: Hula Warrior is a wonderful celebration of both identity and the Hawaiian culture.
When Aiden Became A Brother by Kyle Lukoff, Illustrated by Kaylani Juanita (Bookshop | Amazon)
One of my personal favorites, When Aiden Became A Brother, tells the story of a young transgender boy and his journey toward becoming a big brother. Following along from Aiden’s initial coming out, all the way to the celebration of his younger siblings, this book is all about love and acceptance. When Aiden Became A Brother is perfect for any kid who is expecting a younger sibling, but especially trans kids themselves.
47,000 Beads by Koja Adeyoha and Angel Adeyoha, Illustrated by Holly McGillis (Bookshop | Amazon)
47,000 Beads tells the story of Peyton, who doesn’t want to dance in her jingle dress at Pow Wow. After she talks to her Auntie about her feeling, her Auntie gathers her community, along with a two-spirit mentor to show Peyton the love and support she deserves on her journey to discovering her path. This is an incredibly heartwarming story that teaches us all the importance of embracing our differences and being there for the people we love.
Phoenix Goes to School: A Story to Support Transgender and Gender Diverse Children by Michelle Finch and Pheonix Finch, Illustrated by Shannon Davey (Bookshop | Amazon)
Based on Phoenix Finch’s real life experiences, Phoenix Goes To School follows a young transgender girl as she deals with the anxiety of wearing a dress on the first day of school. This is such an influential book for young readers, because all kids can relate to the anxiety of starting a new school year and meeting new friends. Empowering trans kids and fostering acceptance in cisgender kids, this is a lovely pick for any young reader.
Sylvia and Marsha Start a Revolution!: The Story of the Trans Women of Color Who Made LGBTQ+ History by Joy Michael Ellison, Illustrated by Tekisha Silver (Bookshop | Amazon)
Perfect for the kids who love picture book biographies, Sylvia and Marsha Start A Revolution is all about Sylvia Rivera and Marsha P. Johnson, trans activists and women of color who played a vital role in sparking the Stonewall Riots. This book by trans and queer creators provides an introduction to LGBTQ+ history and the issues that the trans community faces without erasing the women of color we have to thank for Pride today.
I hope you enjoyed this list and found a few more resources to encourage acceptance and understanding in your little ones.
I also hope that you use today to reflect on the issues faced by the trans community, and educate yourself on any harmful laws in the works in your area, especially if you live in the United States. Trans children of America deserve our love and support, and we can show up for them by fighting against the many anti-trans laws being proposed in our country..
Do you have favorite titles featuring transgender characters? Be sure to share them in the comments below!
Please Note: This list originally included the title Who Are You by Brooke Pessin-Whedbee. I removed this title because it was brought to my attention that there are plagiarism issues with this book. For more information, I encourage you to view Maya Gonzalez’s blog post regarding this issue.
From Archie To Zack might be my new favorite book of the year. Written and illustrated by Vincent X. Kirsch, this book tells the most heartwarming story about first crushes.
Archie loves Zack, and Zack loves Archie, but they haven’t quite figured out how to voice these feelings as they spend every day together.
Archie tries writing it down three separate times in a note to pass to Zack, but he second-guesses himself and hides the note each time. When the three notes are found by classmates, they know just what to do.
I love everything about this book! The illustrations are flawless, and I love the pure and wholesome depiction of queer love. This is definitely a book that I wish existed when I was younger, and I’m so glad to be able to share this one with my son.
From Archie To Zack releases next week (12/29), but you can preorder it today! Preorders can be placed anywhere books are sold, including Bookshop and Amazon. (Please note: These are affiliate links. I will receive a small commission from purchases made through these links, at no additional cost to you. This commission allows me to maintain this site and continue putting out content every week.)
If you’re looking for a diverse book about weddings, I’ve got you covered today. Look no further than Ritu Weds Chandni by Ameya Narvankar.
In this book we meet Ayesha, who is thrilled to attend her favorite cousin’s wedding. She is excited to dance in the baraat (a celebratory wedding procession) and celebrate the way she did last year at her older brother’s wedding.
But this wedding is different.
Ritu is marrying her girlfriend Chandni, and she will be the first bride in the Kapoor family to lead a baraat – a tradition that is usually reserved for the groom.
Ayesha’s family tries to explain to her that some people are not pleased with Ritu leading a baraat. When Ayesha wonders where her extended family could be, her aunt tries to explain that many of them are not attending because they do not approve of Ritu marrying Chandni. She even tells Ayesha’s father that some neighbors are so upset they plan to stop the celebration. Ayesha can’t understand why anyone wouldn’t be happy for Ritu and Chandni.
I love the way Ayesha loves her cousin in this book! Ritu Weds Chandnibeautifully captures the unabashed affection that children show the people they love. There will be no spoilers here, but in the end, it is Ayesha’s love and joy that save the day, even when faced with the hatred of homophobia.
Ritu Weds Chandniis a beautiful celebration of love, and both South Asian and LGBTQ+ cultures. I would HIGHLY recommend picking up a copy. You can purchase it wherever books are sold, including Bookshop and Amazon. (Please note: These are affiliate links. I will receive a small commission of any sales made using these links. This commission allows me to maintain this site and continue bringing content to you.)
I would like to thank Yali Books for providing me with a review copy via NetGalley. This was an absolute joy to read!