By Jennifer Sunami
2019 marks the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots, and even as Pride becomes more inclusive and accessible in many ways, it’s critical to remember that Black, Brown, and other non-White voices have often been erased from LGBTQ+ stories. Key figures such as Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera are slowly being recognized for their contributions to the fight for equal rights, but there is still a dearth of media that center queer people of color. That said, books are still a great way to help kids learn LGBTQ+ history and also explore themes of non-conformity and acceptance that will resonate far beyond the Pride Parade. To that end, below is a list of fiction and non-fiction books that showcase the diversity of the LGBTQ+ community, and also provide a more inclusive recounting of the history of Pride, Stonewall, and the fight for civil rights.
For Younger Kids:
• The Great Big Book of Families by Mary Hoffman
A sweet showcasing of the many different forms families can take around the world. Almost encyclopedic in content, but a picture book in format, this book not only covers the basics of family structures, but also looks at the many ways that families can interact with each other and the wider world.
• My Two Moms and Me by Michael Joosten
Suitable for toddlers, this board book shows a variety of different families with two moms. It’s an easy introduction to the subject for the younger set.
• This Day in June by Gayle Pitman
A kids’ eye view of Pride, offering a rhyming description of the parade, This Day in June has appeal for all ages. Though the main text is aimed at children, the book also feature extensive endnotes providing parental information and more details and facts about the various people depicted.
• Julián Is a Mermaid by Jessica Love
The story of a young boy who wants to recreate the beautiful costumes he sees on the subway, but wonders what his Abuela will think….
For Older Kids:
• Princess Princess Ever After by Katie O'Neill
A graphic novel that turns damsel in distress tropes on their heads, Princess Princess Ever After is a gentle romance combined with classic fairy tale adventure.
• Drama by Raina Telgemeier
Seventh-grader Callie is must navigate the confusing emotions and complicated relationships of middle school, all while working on the student musical. A graphic novel that features a diverse cast of characters without feeling forced and heavy-handed.
• Queer, There, and Everywhere: 23 People Who Changed the World by Sarah Prage
Spanning centuries of interesting history, this anthology profiles people from different eras who lived their lives outside the gender and sexuality norms dictated by society.
A general overview of LGBTQ+ history, this book offers fun facts and more in-depth stories that stretch from Ancient Greece to today.
• The Stonewall Riots: Coming Out in the Streets by Gayle Pitman
A well-researched yet readable history of Stonewall and Pride, aimed at a YA audience. The chaos of the riots has made the facts of Stonewall hard to pin down, but this book uses meaningful artifacts to help make the events of those fateful nights more concrete and accessible for readers.