I recently had the pleasure of being a guest on the Balancing Cultures Podcast talking about the basics of transgender terminology, my personal experience as a transgender person, and how to talk to kids about these issues. It was a really awesome episode, and as soon as it is released, I will link it here so you can give it a listen! The wonderful host Meghan asked me to share some of my favorite kids books about gender and pronouns. I figured no one wanted to hear me rattle of a list of books, so I decided to just share a few on the podcast, and write out the rest here. So here’s my complete list of recommendations for kids books about gender and pronouns!
1. WHO ARE YOU? THE KID’S GUIDE TO GENDER IDENTITY
By Brook Pessin -Whedbee
Best Introduction to Gender
This is one of my absolute favorites! It’s a great introductory book that explains the differences between gender identity, gender expression, and sex. It simply explains terms. It’s also interactive! There’s two two page spreads about gender expression that gives kids the opportunity to pick the clothes and toys they like and talk about their expression. There’s also a wheel at the back of the book that allows kids to explore their identity. A great book for opening up the conversation about gender.
2. IT FEELS GOOD TO BE YOURSELF: A BOOK ABOUT GENDER IDENTITY
By Theresa Thorn
Best Introduction to Gender Identities
This book is offers wonderful explanations about gender identity. It give the reader a glimpse into to the lives of several children, each with a different gender identity. It offers simple explanations for terms like transgender, cisgender, nonbinary, and more! And illustrations are absolutely gorgeous! A great book to introduce kids to the idea of gender identity.
3. THEY, SHE, HE, FREE TO BE!
By Maya Gonzalez
Best Introduction to Pronouns
This is an awesome board book that introduces the idea that people who look all different kinds of ways can use all different kinds of pronouns. The book basically shows all different kinds of people and lists their pronouns underneath in a rhythmic pattern. Maya Gonzalez is known for her inclusive illustrations featuring racial, cultural, and ability diversity. There’s also several pages of amazing backmatter in the book to help grownups understand and explain more about pronouns to kiddos.
4. THEY, SHE, HE, EASY AS ABC
By Maya Gonzalez
Best Book About Pronouns
This is another great book about pronouns! There’s a child for each letter of the alphabet, and a bit about each child. In the description, they use each child’s pronouns. It’s a great way to incidentally include pronouns. Again, there’s tons or racial, cultural, and ability diversity and diversity of each person using the pronouns.
5. WHEN AIDEN BECAME A BROTHER
By Kyle Lukoff
Best Incidental Inclusion of a Trans Character
Once you’ve got your understanding of what transgender means, this is great book about a trans kid that isn’t about him being trans. The story centers around Aiden, a little boy who is about the become a big brother! It’s all about his journey learning what it means to be a big brother, but he happens to be trans. A great example of incidental inclusion of a trans character.
6. MY MADDY
By Gayle Pittman
Best Introduction to Transgender/Nonbinary Parent
This is one of my favorites! It’s a book about a little kid who has a nonbinary trans parent. The kid narrates the books and talks about many other “in between” things like their parent that are also awesome! A great book to introduce kids to the concept of what nonbinary is, as well as a great example of representation of transgender parents!
7. 47,000 BEADS
By Koja Adeyoha and Angel Adeyoha
Best Introduction to Two Spirit Identity
This is a really monumental book in that it’s the only picture book I’m aware of that talks about Two Spirit identity. Two Spirit is a First Nations Identity that for some, falls under the nonbinary umbrella. This story is about a little kid who doesn’t quite fit in because they don’t quite feel like a boy or a girl. They are not excited about the upcoming Pow Wow because they don’t want to wear the “female” regalia. So their community comes together to make them special regalia that suits them and their identity. A truly special book that belongs on every bookshelf.
8. IS THAT FOR A BOY OF A GIRL?
By S. Bear Bergman
Best General Book About Gender Roles
This is another great book from one of my favorite publishers, Flamingo Rampant. It shifts between different child narrators who all talk about the things they like to do, even though they don’t conform to the societal standards of their gender. For example. one kid is at a fast food place and wonders why the toys are gendered and not about their interests, etc. This is a really great little book for looking critically at and breaking down these gendered stereotypes.
9. I LOVE MY COLORFUL NAILS
By Alicia Acosta & Luis Amivisca
Best Book About Gender Expression
This is a super sweet book about a kid who loves painting his nails. It’s a joyful book with supportive parents. There is a little bit of bullying (kids saying painting your nails is for girls), but the dad’s response it to paint his nails with his son. Overall just a really lovely book. A good one to just pull off the shelf.
-The Gender Wheel, by Maya Gonzalez