Author Spotlight: An Interview with CK Malone

Spooky season is upon us, so this month’s Author Spotlight has a Halloween twist! Today, I’m thrilled to be chatting with my friend CK Malone today about their debut picture book A Costume For Charly.

C.K. Malone (they/them) is a bigender award-winning educator and literature coach at the secondary level. When not grading essays or helping students, they’re busy helping design culturally and LGBTQIA+ responsive units for the district and working as a climate and culture coach. When they’re not writing, they’re coaching and advising through alignment with the Genders and Sexualities Alliance Network. C.K. continues this work in the literary world by advocating for all to be given the space to tell their own stories. Though they love the many hats they wear, their favorite is as an advocate for diverse voices.

How did Charly come to be? What inspired you to write this book and how did your experiences with your own identity impact the story?

Charly is much braver than I am, to be honest. I dream of being this strong. Charly came to be because when I was 11 going on 12, I made a mishmash of costumes for myself to show a select group of friends who I was. It didn’t turn out to be as joyous a situation as Charly’s, though. So Charly’s experience is very much how I *wish* it would have been. My own identity is Bigender (technically Intersex but Bigender is the easiest explanation for people) and I wanted to show readers this identity doesn’t have to cause strife when choosing how to express it. Like myself, the easiest way was to choose binary costumes and combine them. 

Author: CK Malone
Illustrator: Alejandra Barajas
Published: September 6, 2022
Publisher: Beaming Books
Format: Picture Books

Writing stories so close to our hearts can be both difficult and rewarding. What has been the biggest challenge in writing A Costume For Charly? What has been the biggest reward?

The biggest challenge was having to omit some items from the story because I was told Charly needed their own agency. There was a person near and dear to my heart in the LGBTQIA+ community who helped me along the way. She has since passed. But I keep my original draft in my home office in a frame next to her picture. The biggest reward is hearing how my book is helping people to not only understand the identity a bit more, but also that they are sharing CHARLY with their kiddos.

Speaking of rewarding, how was it seeing Alejandra Barajas’ amazing illustrations for the first time? It must be such a thrill to see your words come to life on the page!

Alejandra is SUCH a talented artist. I loved seeing how she emulated Charly’s moods through the illustrations. The colors start off muted when Charly is experiencing a lot of lows then become vibrant as they realize they can make their own costume and celebrate it. It was amazing seeing the illustrations for the first time. I cried. A lot.

If children only take one thing away from reading A Costume For Charly, what message would you hope they get?

I hope they receive the message that they are not wrong in how they feel or how they identify. Find a trusted adult to speak to about feelings. So often, kids are told by the wrong people “this is just a phase” and other such nonsense. One of my middle school GSAs is 36 children strong with over 60 who identify who cannot attend meetings due to transportation, so now we hold them virtually as well. I have students at the elementary level sending me emails because they know they are coming to my school someday. There is no “phase” about it. Children know they are different.

You are such a vocal advocate for diverse voices in the kidlit community. What advice would you give those still learning to find their voice and speak up for others?

That’s a hard question. I’m still learning daily how to speak up and out for others without putting myself in danger and without making huge mistakes because I have done both. Both have left scars on an already scarred heart. I’d say joining platforms that support as well as giving money to verified platforms that support helps immensely. Celebrate diversity in all its intersections because it is truly beautiful. And if you have any kind of privilege–even if you are intersectional yourself–use that privilege to help others whenever possible.

What are your plans for Halloween this year? Do you have any creative costumes planned?

I’m going as a bat tap dancer. It’s going to be weird, but kids will like it. Oh, and I can’t even tap dance. Soooo…there’s that. I hope to read at a local bookstore as well as hand out candy. One of the schools is doing a haunted house, so I look forward to joining in on that!

A Costume For Charly is your debut, so I have to ask, what’s next for you?

I have a short story coming out in a literary magazine and we’re waiting to announce my next book. It’s not LGBTQIA+ because I don’t want to write only about my identity since I’m so much more than this. My experiences extend beyond identity. Looking forward to everyone hearing about both!

Is there anything else you’d like to share with Mutually Inclusive’s readers?

If you read this blog, then I know you must be amazing and want the best for your kiddos. Keep being you!

I love that! Thank you so so much for joining us today, CK. It’s been an absolute delight chatting with you!


To learn more about CK and their work be sure to visit them online at carlislemalonebooks.com and follow them on Twitter @CKMalone2 and Instagram @writre_ckmalone.

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Review: ‘Twas the Night Before Pride

I can’t believe Pride Month is only two days away! While I was trying to figure out where the month of May went, I thought of the perfect book to share as Pride approaches. ‘Twas The Night Before Pride by Joanna McClintick and Juana Medina is a beautiful picture book that honors the history of Pride.

Title: ‘Twas the Night Before Pride
Author: Joanna McClintick
Illustrator: Juana Medina
Published: May 10, 2022
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Format: Picture Book

‘Twas the Night Before Pride was one of my most anticipated picture books of 2022, and it did not disappoint! Told with the familiar rhyme scheme of ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas, this wonderful book tells the story of a family preparing to celebrate Pride. Sitting on a couch with one mom on each side, the oldest sibling prepares the youngest sibling for their first pride by telling them the history of this celebration.

This joyous story combines a comprehensive history with honest representation, creating the perfect Pride celebration for young readers. Discussing topics like the Stonewall Riots and the AIDS March in simplified terms for young readers, Twas the Night Before Pride pays respect to those in the LGBTQ+ community who fought against injustice and inequality throughout history.

The illustrations by Juana Medina are an absolute treat! Each page perfectly captures the joy and belonging I feel every year at Pride, allowing me to share it with my little one any day of the year. He will be attending his third Pride this year, and I can’t wait to share this wonderful book with him because I know he’s just as excited to celebrate as I am.

You can pick up your very own copy of ‘Twas the Night Before Pride 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!)

Thank you so much to Candlewick Press for sharing a review copy of ‘Twas the Night Before Pride. I already know this will become a beloved title in our home that we will read year after year, and I’m so grateful to be able to share it with everyone today.

About The Author:

Joanna McClintick is a debut children’s book author and a licensed social worker at the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Community Center in Manhattan. When she was dreaming about building her family, she wrote this poem to honor Pride’s history of resistance and imagined sharing it with her future child one day. It has become a tradition to read it at their annual brunch the day before the Pride March with family and friends. Joanna McClintick lives with her wife and child in Brooklyn. You can learn more about Joanna and her work at her website, joannamcclintick.com.

About The Illustrator:

Juana Medina is the author-illustrator of Juana & Lucas, which won the 2017 Pura Belpré Author Award; Juana & Lucas: Big Problemas; Juana & Lucas: Muchos Changes; and many other titles and has illustrated numerous picture books, including Smick! by Doreen Cronin and I’m a Baked Potato! by Elise Primavera. Born and raised in Bogotá, Colombia, Juana Medina now lives with her family in the Washington DC area. To learn more about Juana and her work, please visit her website at juanamedina.com.

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Review: Mama and Mommy and Me in the Middle

I am thrilled to be sharing another one of my Most Anticipated Picture Books of 2022 with you all again today! Mama and Mommy and Me in the Middle by Nina LaCour and Kaylani Juanita is a beautiful picture book filled to the brim with love, and it has exceeded all of my expectations.

Title: Mama and Mommy and Me in the Middle
Author: Nina LaCour
Illustrator: Kaylani Juanita
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Published: March 29, 2022
Format: Picture Book

Following a young girl who misses her Mommy while she is away for a week-long business trip, Mama and Mommy and Me in the Middle is a great choice for any little ones who are missing someone they love. Though our young narrator loves her Mama, her week just doesn’t feel the same without Mommy around. She talks to Mommy on the phone, but it just isn’t the same. Shortly before Mommy comes back, she hatches a plan with Mama to surprise Mommy when she arrives.

My absolute favorite part of Mama and Mommy and Me in the Middle is that it has such a realistic example of the way we process our emotions. When Mommy comes back home, our young narrator doesn’t immediately forget about the tough week she had, but instead works through the feelings she had and comes to terms with them.

The illustrations by Kaylani Juanita are wonderful, as always. As far as I’m concerned, Kaylani Juanita is the Queen of Character Design. There is so much care and attention put into every detail of each character, as well as their surroundings. I think my favorite detail is all the houseplants in the family’s home. I even spotted a string of pearls!

Mama and Mommy and Me in the Middle officially releases next week (March 29, 2022) but I would highly recommend preordering it today! Preorders are available 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!)

Thank you so much to Candlewick Press for providing me with a review copy of Mama and Mommy and Me in the Middle. I am so happy to be able to share it with everyone today!

About The Author:

Nina LaCour is the award-winning author of several books for young adults, including We Are Okay, which won the Michael L. Printz Award, and Hold Still, which was a William C. Morris Debut Award finalist and won the Northern California Book Award. Nina LaCour lives in California with her wife and daughter.

About The Illustrator:

Kaylani Juanita is the illustrator of several books for children, including the Stonewall Book Award winner When Aidan Became a Brother by Kyle Lukoff. She is also the illustrator of Magnificent Homespun Brown by Samara Cole Doyon, A House for Every Bird by Megan Maynor, and The Little Things: A Story About Acts of Kindness by Christian Trimmer. Kaylani Juanita lives in California.

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Review: Love, Violet

I am so excited to share another one of my most anticipated titles of the year with you all for Valentine’s Day! Love, Violet by Charlotte Sullivan Wild and Charlene Chua is a beautiful picture book with the kind of queer representation I wish I had seen in books as a child.

Title: Love, Violet
Author: Charlotte Sullivan Wild
Illustrator: Charlene Chua
Publisher: Farrar Straus Giroux (Macmillan Kids)
Published: January 4, 2022
Format: Picture Book

Following a young girl name Violet and her crush Mira, Love, Violet is a beautiful story of first loves and crushes. Violet struggles to find the words to tell Mira how she feels, but as Valentine’s Day approaches, she is determined to succeed. This story is so sweet and I can’t recommend it enough!

The watercolor illustrations by Charlene Chua are absolutely delightful and pair perfectly with Charlotte Sullivan Wild’s narrative. The illustrations really bring the characters to life. I love Violet’s red hair (No surprise there. I’ve always been a fan of redheads.) and her cowboy hat. I love Mira’s yellow scarf and the way she smiles at Violet. Every page is filled with wholesome queer love and it fills my heart with joy.

Love, Violet is available now wherever you normally purchase books, 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!)

Thank you so much to Macmillan Kids for providing me with a digital review copy of this delightful book. I loved it so much I had to go buy myself a physical copy right away!

About The Author:

Charlotte Sullivan Wild is the author of the picture book The Amazing Idea of You illustrated by Mary Lundquist (Bloomsbury, 2019). She has previously worked as an educator, bookseller, and volunteer radio host for Write On! Radio (KFAI). Originally from frosty Minnesota, she now lives wherever her spouse is stationed, most recently in San Antonio, Texas and now in Italy! charlotteswild.com

About The Illustrator:

Charlene Chua is the author of the debut picture book Hug? out in September 2020. When she is not making art, she enjoys cooking, reading, and playing with her cats. She now lives with her husband (and cats!) in Hamilton, Ontario. charlenechua.com

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30 LGBTQ+ Children’s Books For Pride Month

It’s almost June, and we all know what that means! It’s Pride, y’all!

Though the first Pride rally was celebrated over 50 years ago, the queer community is still one of the most underrepresented voices in children’s books today. So whether you’re a queer family or are raising active allies, I wanted to make your search for books to read to your little ones to celebrate Pride a little bit easier. I have gathered thirty of my favorite queer titles, including both fiction and nonfiction titles. With one book for every day in June, young readers will learn about the history of Pride itself and hear wonderful stories about families with queer kids, parents, grandparents, and more. There’s even a gay fairy tale!

So without further ado, here are my 30 picks for Pride Month!

Please Note: This post contains affiliate links. Affiliate links allow me to receive a small commission from purchases made, with no additional cost to you. This commission is used to maintain this site and continue bringing content to you.

Love Is Love: An Important LGBTQ Pride Book for Kids About Gay Parents and Diverse Families by Michael Genhart, Illustrated by Ken Min (Bookshop | Amazon)

Open a dialogue with the children in your life about the importance of love and acceptance with this Silver Moonbeam Award Winner story celebrating open mindedness, diversity, and the LGBTQIA+ community. Perfect for your family library or a storytime read-aloud for any day of the year.

It’s love that makes a family.

When a boy confides in his friend about bullies saying he doesn’t have a real family, he discovers that his friend’s parents―a mom and a dad―and his two dads are actually very much alike.

Dr. Michael Genhart’s debut story is the perfect resource to gently discuss discrimination with kids. This sweet and straightforward story shows that gay families and straight families and everything in between are all different kinds of normal. What makes a family real is the love that is shared.”

When Aiden Became A Big Brother by Kyle Lukoff, Illustrated by Kaylani Juanita (Bookshop | Amazon)

“When Aidan was born, everyone thought he was a girl. His parents gave him a pretty name, his room looked like a girl’s room, and he wore clothes that other girls liked wearing. After he realized he was a trans boy, Aidan and his parents fixed the parts of his life that didn’t fit anymore, and he settled happily into his new life.

Then Mom and Dad announce that they’re going to have another baby, and Aidan wants to do everything he can to make things right for his new sibling from the beginning–from choosing the perfect name to creating a beautiful room to picking out the cutest onesie. But what does “making things right” actually mean? And what happens if he messes up? With a little help, Aidan comes to understand that mistakes can be fixed with honesty and communication, and that he already knows the most important thing about being a big brother: how to love with his whole self.

When Aidan Became a Brother is a heartwarming book that will resonate with transgender children, reassure any child concerned about becoming an older sibling, and celebrate the many transitions a family can experience.”

Stonewall: A Building. An Uprising. A Revolution by Rob Sanders, Illustrated by Jamey Christoph (Bookshop | Amazon)

“From Rob Sanders, author of the acclaimed Pride: The Story of Harvey Milk and the Rainbow Flag, comes this powerful and timeless true story that will allow young readers to discover the rich and dynamic history of the Stonewall Inn and its role in the LGBTQ+ civil rights movement–a movement that continues to this very day. In the early-morning hours of June 28, 1969, the Stonewall Inn was raided by police in New York City. Though the inn had been raided before, that night would be different. It would be the night when empowered members of the LGBTQ+ community–in and around the Stonewall Inn–began to protest and demand their equal rights as citizens of the United States. Movingly narrated by the Stonewall Inn itself, and featuring stirring and dynamic illustrations, Stonewall: A Building. An Uprising. A Revolution is an essential and empowering civil rights story that every child deserves to hear.”

My Rainbow by Trinity and Deshanna Neal, Illustrated by Art Twink (Bookshop | Amazon)

A dedicated mom puts love into action as she creates the perfect rainbow-colored wig for her transgender daughter, based on the real-life experience of mother-daughter advocate duo Trinity and DeShanna Neal.

Warm morning sunlight and love fill the Neal home. And on one quiet day, playtime leads to an important realization:Trinity wants long hair like her dolls. She needs it to express who she truly is.

So her family decides to take a trip to the beauty supply store, but none of the wigs is the perfect fit. Determined, Mom leaves with bundles of hair in hand, ready to craft a wig as colorful and vibrant as her daughter is.

With powerful text by Trinity and DeShanna Neal and radiant art by Art Twink, My Rainbow is a celebration of showing up as our full selves with the people who have seen us fully all along.”

Stella Brings The Family by Miriam B. Schiffer, Illustrated by Holly Clifton-Brown (Bookshop | Amazon)

“Stella’s class is having a Mother’s Day celebration, but what’s a girl with two daddies to do? It’s not that she doesn’t have someone who helps her with her homework, or tucks her in at night. Stella has her Papa and Daddy who take care of her, and a whole gaggle of other loved ones who make her feel special and supported every day. She just doesn’t have a mom to invite to the party. Fortunately, Stella finds a unique solution to her party problem in this sweet story about love, acceptance, and the true meaning of family.”

Pride Puppy by Robin Stevenson, Illustrated by Julie McLaughlin (Bookshop | Amazon)

“A young child and their family are having a wonderful time together celebrating Pride Day―meeting up with Grandma, making new friends and eating ice cream. But then something terrible happens: their dog gets lost in the parade! Luckily, there are lots of people around to help reunite the pup with his family. 

This rhyming alphabet book tells a lively story, with rich, colorful illustrations that will have readers poring over every detail as they spot items starting with each of the letters of the alphabet. An affirming and inclusive book that offers a joyful glimpse of a Pride parade and the vibrant community that celebrates this day each year.”

Be sure to check out my full review of Pride Puppy for more information!

Maiden and Princess by Daniel Haack and Isabel Galupo, Illustrated by Becca Human (Bookshop | Amazon)

“In this modern fairy tale, a strong, brave maiden is invited to attend the prince’s royal ball, but at the dance, she ends up finding true love in a most surprising place.

“The prince is smart and strong,”

she confided in her mother.

“But if I’m being honest,

I see him as a brother.”

Her mother said, “Just go!

And have a bit of fun.

The prince might not be right,

but you could meet the one.”

Once in a faraway kingdom, a strong, brave maiden is invited to attend the prince’s royal ball, but she’s not as excited to go as everyone else. After her mother convinces her to make an appearance, she makes a huge impression on everyone present, from the villagers to the king and queen, but she ends up finding true love in a most surprising place. This book is published in partnership with GLAAD to accelerate LGBTQ inclusivity and acceptance.”

This Day in June by Gayle. E Pitman, Illustrated by Kristyna Litten (Bookshop | Amazon)

“In a wildly whimsical, validating, and exuberant reflection of the LGBT community, this title welcomes readers to experience a pride celebration and share in a day when we are all united. Also included is a reading guide chock-full of facts about LGBT history and culture, as well as a ‘Note to Parents and Caregivers’ with information on how to talk to children about sexual orientation and gender identity in age-appropriate ways.”

A Family is a Family is a Family by Sara O’Leary, Illustrated by Qin Leng (Bookshop | Amazon)

“When a teacher asks the children in her class to think about what makes their families special, the answers are all different in many ways — but the same in the one way that matters most of all.

One child is worried that her family is just too different to explain, but listens as her classmates talk about what makes their families special. One is raised by a grandmother, and another has two dads. One is full of stepsiblings, and another has a new baby.

As one by one, her classmates describe who they live with and who loves them — family of every shape, size and every kind of relation — the child realizes that as long as her family is full of caring people, her family is special.

A warm and whimsical look at many types of families written by award-winning author Sara O’Leary, A Family is a Family springs to life with quirky and sweet illustrations by Qin Leng.”

Auntie Uncle: Drag Queen Hero by Ellie Royce, Illustrated by Hannah Chambers (Bookshop | Amazon)

“Told from the perspective of their adoring nephew, Auntie Uncle: Drag Queen Hero is the story of a courageous drag queen who saves the day, and brings two communities together.

The young narrator thinks it’s awesome that his Uncle and his Auntie are the same person. Uncle Leo is an accountant, and is great at helping with math homework. Auntie Lotta is a fabulous performer, and loves to sing and dance with her nephew. One day Lotta’s family comes to watch her perform at the local Pride parade. Suddenly, a dog breaks free of its leash and nearly causes a float-crash, but Lotta springs into action just in time to save the dog and the parade. The mayor wants to give her a medal for courage and to throw a big party for her and all her friends, but Lotta worries that her friends who only know him as “Leo” won’t get along with her fellow drag performers who know her as “Lotta.” With the help of their nephew they put together a fierce look that is both Leo and Lotta, the perfect ensemble for an Auntie Uncle. A sweet, uplifting story about fearlessly letting your true self shine.”

What Are Your Words by Katherine Locke, Illustrated by Anne (Andy) Passchier (Bookshop | Amazon)

“Follow Ari through their neighborhood as they try to find their words in this sweet, accessible introduction to gender-inclusive pronouns that is perfect for readers of all ages.

Whenever Ari’s Uncle Lior comes to visit, they ask Ari one question: “What are your words?” Some days Ari uses she/her. Other days Ari uses he/him. But on the day of the neighborhood’s big summer bash, Ari doesn’t know what words to use. On the way to the party, Ari and Lior meet lots of neighbors and learn the words each of them use to describe themselves, including pronouns like she/her, he/him, they/them, ey/em, and ze/zir. As Ari tries on different pronouns, they discover that it’s okay to not know your words right away—sometimes you have to wait for your words to find you.”

For more on What are Your Words?, check out my full review.

Two Grooms on a Cake by Rob Sanders, illustrated by Robbie Cathro (Bookshop | Amazon)

“Long before marriage equality was the law of the land, two grooms stood on a wedding cake with their feet firmly planted in fluffy white frosting. That cake belonged to Jack Baker and Michael McConnell, who were wed on September 3, 1971, becoming the first same-sex couple in America to be legally married. Their struggle to obtain a marriage license in Minnesota and their subsequent appeals to the Minnesota Supreme Court and the Supreme Court of the United States is an under-told story of LGBT history. This beautiful book celebrates the love story of two pioneers of marriage equality for all through the baking of their wedding cake!”

Daddy and Dada by Ryan Brockington and Isaac Webster, Illustrated by Lauren May (Bookshop | Amazon)

Families can come in all shapes and sizes, and this heartwarming picture book affirms that no matter what your family looks like, love is the most important part!

Hi, I’m Rumi.
Some of my friends have one mom and one dad.
Some have one mom or one dad.
I have two dads. Daddy and Dada.
Daddy sings songs with me. Dada reads me stories.
Every family is different.
And that’s pretty cool.

This sweet, open-hearted book began as a love letter from authors Ryan Brockington and Isaac Webster to their daughter—and became a joyous celebration of love, family, and acceptance for all to read and share.”

Make sure to read the full review here!

A Church for All by Gayle E. Pitman, Illustrated by Laure Fournier (Bookshop | Amazon)

“On Sunday morning, we gather together. We are every color. Every age. Rich and poor. Our church is open, affirming, and accepting. We believe in love instead of hate. There’s room for everyone! This book celebrates a spiritual community that embraces all people―no matter their age, race, class, gender identity, or sexual orientation―in love and faith.”

Born Ready: The True Story of A Boy Named Penelope by Jodie Patterson, Illustrated by Charnelle Pinkney Barlow (Bookshop | Amazon)

“Jodie Patterson, activist and Chair of the Human Rights Campaign Foundation Board, shares her transgender son’s experience in this important picture book about identity and acceptance.

Penelope knows that he’s a boy. (And a ninja.) The problem is getting everyone else to realize it.

In this exuberant companion to Jodie Patterson’s adult memoir, The Bold World, Patterson shares her son Penelope’s frustrations and triumphs on his journey to share himself with the world. Penelope’s experiences show children that it always makes you stronger when you are true to yourself and who you really are.”

Heather Has Two Mommies by Lesléa Newman, Illustrated by Laura Cornell (Bookshop | Amazon)

“Heather’s favorite number is two. She has two arms, two legs, two pets—and two mommies. When Heather goes to school for the first time, someone asks her about her daddy, but Heather doesn’t have a daddy. Then something interesting happens. When Heather and her classmates all draw pictures of their families, not one drawing is the same. This delightful edition for a new generation of young readers features fresh illustrations by Laura Cornell and an updated story by Lesléa Newman.”

The GayBC’s by M.L Webb (Bookshop | Amazon)

“A joyful celebration of LGBTQ+ vocabulary for kids of all ages!

A playdate extravaganza transforms into a celebration of friendship, love, and identity as four friends sashay out of all the closets, dress up in a wardrobe fit for kings and queens, and discover the wonder of imagination. From A is for Ally to F is for Family to Q is for Queer, debut author/illustrator M. L. Webb’s bright illustrations and lively, inclusive poems delight in the beauty of embracing one’s truest self. A glossary in the back offers opportunity for further discussion of terms and identities. The GayBCs is perfect for fans of A Is for Activist and Feminist Baby—showing kids and adults alike that every identity is worthy of being celebrated.”

Grandad’s Camper by Harry Woodgate (Bookshop | Amazon)

“Gramps and Grandad were adventurers. They would surf, climb mountains, and tour the country in their amazing camper. Gramps just made everything extra special. But after Gramps died, granddad hasn’t felt like traveling anymore. So, their amazing granddaughter comes up with a clever plan to fix up the old camper and get Grandad excited to explore again.

This beautiful picture book honors love and reminds us not only to remember those we have lost, but to celebrate them.”

For more on this book, check out the full review here.

Ho’onani: Hula Warrior by Heather Gale, Illustrated by Mika Song (Bookshop | Amazon)

“An empowering celebration of identity, acceptance and Hawaiian culture based on the true story of a young girl in Hawaiʻi who dreams of leading the boys-only hula troupe at her school.

Ho’onani feels in-between. She doesn’t see herself as wahine (girl) OR kane (boy). She’s happy to be in the middle. But not everyone sees it that way.

When Ho’onani finds out that there will be a school performance of a traditional kane hula chant, she wants to be part of it. But can a girl really lead the all-male troupe? Ho’onani has to try . . .

Based on a true story, Ho’onani: Hula Warrior is a celebration of Hawaiian culture and an empowering story of a girl who learns to lead and learns to accept who she really is–and in doing so, gains the respect of all those around her.”

Pride: The Story of Harvey Milk and The Rainbow Flag by Rob Sanders, Illustrated by Steven Salerno (Bookshop | Amazon)

“In this deeply moving and empowering true story, young readers will trace the life of the Gay Pride Flag, from its beginnings in 1978 with social activist Harvey Milk and designer Gilbert Baker to its spanning of the globe and its role in today’s world. Award-winning author Rob Sanders’s stirring text, and acclaimed illustrator Steven Salerno’s evocative images, combine to tell this remarkable – and undertold – story. A story of love, hope, equality, and pride.”

Plenty Of Hugs by Fran Manushkin, Illustrated by Kate Alizadeh (Bookshop | Amazon)

“Two mommies spend a sunny day with their toddler in this cozy, rhyming picture book that is a loving celebration of family.

This cheerful book follows a family from morning to night in lively rhyme that rolls off the tongue. There’s a buzz for each bug, and a breeze for each tree, and plenty of hugs for you and me. The toddler and mommies take a morning bike ride to a farm stand, they visit a zoo in the afternoon, and in the evening there’s the bath and storybook routine before the child is tucked cozily into bed. There are seas for ships and kisses for lips, so we can whisper I love you! This is sure to become a preschool favorite, for bedtime and any time.”

The Hips On The Drag Queen Go Swish, Swish, Swish by Lil Miss Hot Mess, Illustrated by Olga de Dios Ruiz (Bookshop | Amazon)

“Playing off “The Wheels on the Bus,” this nursery rhyme book from a founder of Drag Queen Story Hour is a fun, freewheeling celebration of being your most fabulous self.

The Hips on the Drag Queen Go Swish, Swish, Swish encourages readers to boldly be exactly who they are. Written by a founding member of the nationally recognized Drag Queen Story Hour (DQSH), this playful picture book offers a quirky twist on a classic nursery rhyme by illustrating all of the ways to “work it”. The story plays off “The Wheels on the Bus” as it follows a drag queen who performs her routine in front of an awestruck audience. A fun frenzy of fierceness, this book will appeal to readers of all ages.”

Uncle Bobby’s Wedding by Sarah S. Brannen, Illustrated by Lucia Soto (Bookshop | Amazon)

“When Chloe’s favorite uncle announces that he’s getting married, everyone is excited. Everyone except Chloe, that is. What if Uncle Bobby no longer has time for picnics, swimming, or flying kites? Chloe just wants to keep having fun with her favorite uncle, but she’s afraid everything is going to change. Can Uncle Bobby and his boyfriend Jamie show Chloe that, when it comes to family, the more the merrier? In this inspiring, love-filled story, Chloe learns just what family means.

Produced in coordination with GLAAD, this adorable picture book is a positive example of same-sex marriage and a celebration of family.”

From Archie To Zack by Vincent X. Kirsch (Bookshop | Amazon)

“An unapologetic celebration of friendship and first crushes

“Archie loves Zack!”
“Zack loves Archie!”
Everyone said it was so.
But Archie hasn’t told Zack yet. And Zack hasn’t told Archie. They spend just about every minute together: walking to and from school, doing science and art projects, practicing for marching band, learning to ride bikes, and so much more.
Over the course of a few months, Archie tries to write a letter to Zack to tell him how he feels: “From A to Z.” None of his drafts sound quite right, so he hides them all away. One by one, Archie’s friends (Zelda, Zinnia, and Zuzella) find the letters . . . but they know exactly whom they’re meant for.
This new picture book from Vincent X. Kirsch celebrates young, queer love in a whimsical, kid-friendly way.”

Be sure to check out the full review of From Archie to Zack here.

Pride 1,2,3 by Michael Joosten, Illustrated by Wednesday Holmes (Bookshop | Amazon)

“Celebrate and march along in the Pride Parade with this lively counting board book!

1 parade in the month of June
2 DJs spin fabulous tunes
3 families of all different types
4 activists fight the good fight

Teach your little ones about the Pride Parade with this colorful, energetic counting book! Featuring a diverse cast of characters and families, this board book highlights and celebrates the LGBTQIA+ community, love, and standing up for who you are while counting to ten. Perfect for all families, this counting board book should be shared and read with pride!”

Sylvia and Marsha Start A Revolution by Joy Michael Ellison, Illustrated by Teshika Silver (Bookshop | Amazon)

“Someday girls like us will be able to wear whatever we want. People will call us by the names we choose. They’ll respect that we are women. The cops will leave us alone and no one will go hungry.”

Sylvia and Marsha are closer than sisters. They are kind and brave and not afraid to speak their truth, even when it makes other people angry.

This illustrated book introduces children to the story of Sylvia Rivera and Marsha P. Johnson, the two transgender women of colour who helped kickstart the Stonewall Riots and dedicated their lives to fighting for LGBTQ+ equality. It introduces children to issues surrounding gender identity and diversity, accompanied by a reading guide and teaching materials to further the conversation.”

Sam Is My Sister by Ashley Rhodes-Courter, Illustrated by MacKenzie Haley (Bookshop | Amazon)

“Evan loves being big brother to Sam and Finn. They do everything together―go fishing, climb trees, and play astronauts. But lately, Evan notices that he and Sam don’t look like brothers anymore. Sam wants to have long hair, and even asks to wear a dress on the first day of school. As time goes by, Evan comes to understand why Sam wants to look like a girl―because Sam is a girl. Sam is transgender. And just like always, Sam loves to dream with Evan and Finn about going to the moon together. Based on one family’s real-life experiences, this heartwarming story of a girl named Sam and the brothers who love and support her will resonate with readers everywhere.”

Ritu Weds Chandni by Ameya Narvankar (Bookshop | Amazon)

“Ayesha is excited to attend her cousin Ritu’s wedding. She can’t wait to dance at the baraat ceremony! But not everyone is happy that Ritu is marrying her girlfriend Chandni. Some have even vowed to stop the celebrations. Will Ayesha be able to save her cousin’s big day?”

Make sure to check out my full review here!

A Plan For Pops by Heather Smith, Illustrated by Brooke Kerrigan (Bookshop | Amazon)

“Lou spends every Saturday with Grandad and Pops. They walk to the library hand in  hand, like a chain of paper dolls. Grandad reads books about science and design, Pops listens to rock and roll, and Lou bounces from lap to lap. But everything changes one Saturday. Pops has a fall. That night there is terrible news: Pops will need to use a wheelchair, not just for now, but for always. Unable to cope with his new circumstances, he becomes withdrawn and shuts himself in his room. Hearing Grandad trying to cheer up Pops inspires Lou to make a plan. Using skills learned from Grandad, and with a little help from their neighbors, Lou comes up with a plan for Pops.”

Our Rainbow by Little Bee Books (Bookshop | Amazon)

“In this beautiful, bold board book, children will learn about the colors of the iconic pride flag!

Red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, black, and brown . . .
These are the colors of our rainbow flag. Do you know what they stand for?

Every young child is enchanted by the beautiful colors of the rainbow. Now, Our Rainbow can teach toddlers all about the meaning of each color of the pride flag. Told in simple, engaging text and paired with bright illustrations, this board book teaches the youngest of readers all about the colors of this rainbow and the simple acts of kindness that can brighten up our world! This book is published in partnership with GLAAD to accelerate LGBTQ inclusivity and acceptance.”

Did I miss any of your favorites? Be sure to share your favorite LGBTQ+ titles in the comments below. Y’all know I love to hear about the books you’re reading.

I hope you all enjoyed this list and found a few titles to add to your celebrations this month. I hope you and your family have a wonderful Pride!

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Pride Puppy

I have another perfect pick for Pride month for you all today! Pride Puppy by Robin Stevenson is a precious LGBTQ+ rhyming alphabet picture book. Unlike most alphabet books, Pride Puppy is not just a collection of words starting with every letter of the alphabet, but a story featuring a family as they attend a Pride parade.

Our story starts with the family waking up and preparing for their big day – packing everyone in the car, including their pup with a cute little rainbow bandana. But during the festivities, there’s an accident and their puppy gets lost, making a big mess of things as everyone tries to catch him. I won’t spoil the ending, but I’ll just say that by the time they get to Z, young readers will be pleased.

I absolutely LOVED the representation in this book. The illustrations have rainbow flags, trans flags, bi flags, two spirit flags, and more. We see folks with a wide range of ages, abilities, races, and genders all celebrating together. There is even representation for colored hair and tattoos! The level of detail and inclusion is absolutely lovely to see, and all the fun bright colors are just icing on the cake.

As someone who is bi, seeing that flag meant the world to me. I have to admit, this is the first time I remember seeing bisexuality specifically represented in children’s literature. I don’t have the words to describe how much it means to me to point to that flag while reading this book with my son and proudly tell him what it means.

Pride Puppy is available now 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!)

Robin Stevenson is an award-winning author of over twenty-five books based in Victoria, Canada. Please visit her website at robinstevenson.com to learn more about her and her work.

Julie McLaughlin is an award-winning freelance illustrator based in Vancouver Island, Canada. To learn more about her and her work, please visit her website at whatwouldjuliedraw.com.

I’m so happy to see more books centering the queer community being published today. I want to thank Orca Book Publishers for sending me a copy of this wonderful book. Now I’m going to cry tears of joy because I get to take my son to his first pride parade this year and I have the perfect book to prepare him for it.

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Prince and Knight: Tale Of The Shadow King

I’m so excited to share Prince And Knight: Tale of The Shadow King with you all today! This follow up to Prince and Knight was one of my most anticipated titles of 2021, and it exceeded my expectations. Like Prince and Knight, Tale of The Shadow King is another modern inclusive fairy tale and continues the story of the prince and knight after their wedding.

In Tale of The Shadow King, our heroes have a big problem to solve – a fog of darkness is covering their kingdom, blocking out all the light. We follow along as our brave heroes set out to find the source of this darkness – the Shadow King. Along the way, they save each other from harm, mirroring the first book of the series. After traveling the land and fighting off monsters, our heroes find the Shadow King only to discover that he’s not at all what they expected.

I won’t spoil anything, but I will say this one has a happy ending, like most fairy tales. I really appreciate that the “bad guy” isn’t really a bad person. By offering the Shadow King’s backstory, Tale Of The Shadow King encourages empathy, acceptance, and understanding for young readers.

Though Prince and Knight had no challenges to the couple’s queerness, Tale of The Shadow King discusses the queer experience with a bit more nuance. It touches on both the harm caused to queer folk when they are not accepted for who they are and highlights the health and happiness that comes from living authentically. I believe Tale of The Shadow King will be a wonderful conversation starter about the way we should love our queer friends, family, and neighbors.

Once again, the illustrations by Stevie Lewis are wonderful! I loved seeing the familiar faces of the prince and knight, but the way she captured the Shadow King is so beautiful. I think he might be my new favorite character in the series.

Tale of The Shadow King is available 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!)

Daniel Haack is a children’s book author and Emmy Award-winning children’s media executive. To learn more about him and his work, please visit his website at www.danielhaack.com.

To learn more about Stevie Lewis and her other work (including one of my recent favorites, Fatima’s Great Outdoors), please visit her website at chocosweete.com.

I want to thank Little Bee Books not only for providing me with a review copy of this wonderful book, but for the continued dedication to promoting LGBTQ+ acceptance through children’s books. As a queer person, it means the world to me for my son and all the other little ones growing up right now to have these books at their fingertips. These were not resources I had as a kid, but I am so grateful for them now.

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