Any book list is only as good as the teacher who reads them. In reality, any book could be on this list. What is maybe more important than reading these books is taking the time to unpack any book
your class reads. Gender roles and the gender binary come up in almost everything we share with our classes. It is important that we stop and teach students to think critically about gender no matter
which book they are reading. This is a list to get you started, but even some of the books on this list should be viewed with a critical lens. Happy reading!
47,000 BeadsKoja and Angel Adeyoha YesWhen Peyton, a Native American girl who loves to dance, especially at powwow, says she isn't comfortable wearing dresses anymore, her auntie Eyota asks some friends for help.
10,000 DressesMarcus EwertA young child dreams of wearing dresses, much to their familiy's dismay. A great book for discussing pronouns and gender identity.
A Church for AllGayle E. PitmanYesThis simply worded picture book features scenes from an inclusive church.
Adventures with My DaddiesGareth PeterYesThis sweet rhyming picture book follows a child of color through their imaginative play alongside their two dads, one of whom is white and one of whom is a person of color.
A Family is a Family is a FamilySara O'LearyStudents in a classroom share who is in their family. This is a good book to discuss family diversity, especially foster children and families.
A House for EveryoneJo HirstA story about four young friends with varying gender identities and expressions.
A is for ActivistInnosanto NagaraAn alphabet book that depicts various races and genders.
A Plan for PopsHeather SmithLou spends lots of time with his Granddad and Pops (an interracial couple). When Pops becomes a wheelchair user, Lou's plan and a lot of love help him through.
A Tale of Two MommiesVanita OelschlagerA young child explains how her two moms love and take care of her.
A Tale of Two DaddiesVanita OelschlagerA young child explains how her two dads - her daddy and her poppa - love her and take care of her.
All Are WelcomeAlexandra PenfoldFeatures a diverse group of children throughout an elementary school.
All I Want to Be is MePhyllis RothblattA book - and a song - about being your true self and expressing your gender outside the stereotypes.
Allie's Basketball DreamBarbara E. BarberAllie loves to play basketball, but everyone - including her friends - think it is a "boy's game".
Amazing Grace Mary HoffmanYesGrace dreams of being Peter Pan in the school play. Others tell her she can't because she is black and because she is a girl. Her grandmother helps her find the courage to go for her dreams.
An ABC of EqualityChana Ginelle EwingYes
Explore identity and intersectionality one letter at a time, including accessibility, gender, justice, LGBTQIA, privilege, sex, transgender, and ze! The colorful illustrations and simple, thoughtful definitions are relatable to kids of all ages.
And Tango Makes ThreePeter Parnell and Justin RichardsonThis book is based off a true story of two penguins in the NYC Central Park zoo who worked together to take care of an egg and start a family.
Angus All AglowHeather SmithAngus wears a beautiful shimmering necklace to school. When everyone laughs he runs into the hall to tear it off and it breaks apart. Luckily a friend saves the day.
Annie's Plaid ShirtStacy B. DavidsA biracial girl tells her mom she doesn't want to wear a dress to her uncle's wedding.
Auntie Uncle: Drag Queen HeroEllie Royce
A little boy is thrilled to have a relative with two identities: Uncle Leo, an accountant, and Auntie Lotta, a performer. However, a celebratory event for Lotta threatens to out her to her friends who only know her as either Leo or Lotta.
Backwards DayS. Bear BergmanYesOn planet Tenalp, Backwards Day only happens once a year. When one year Andrea doesn't turn into a boy, Andrea is confused. The next day, however, something even better happens!
Being You: A First Conversation About Gender
Megan Madison, Jessica Ralli, & Anne/Andy Passchier
This delightful book is a great way to introduce gender identity and pronouns to your children. It's in board book form, but is definitely geared toward any age!
Be Who You AreTodd ParrThis vibrant, simple book encourages children to celebrate what makes them unique.
BeautifulStacy McAnultyThis book shows that all girls are beautiful, no matter what they look like. They are beautiful because of who they are and what they do.
Big Bob, Little BobJames HoweBig Bob and Litlle Bob are friends - but they are very different. A book that shows all the ways to be a boy and how friendships across differences can work.
Bodies are CoolTyler Feder
With illustrations that uplift and celebrate big bodies, disabled bodies, and body hair, this book celebrates all the ways people of varying gender presentation happily go about their lives (swimming, painting, being with friends). The rhyming text on each page repeats the refrain, "Bodies are cool."
Born Ready: The True Story of a Boy Named PenelopeJodie PattersonYesA Black mom tells the true story of her Black transgender son and all of things that make him who he is.
Boys DanceJohn Robert AllmanThis upbeat rhyming book highlights boy ballet dancers, and spotlights some real male dancers at the end of the book.
BunnybearAndrea J. LoneyBunnybear doesn't feel like a bear, but he doesn't look like a bunny. Unsure of what to do, he meets Grizzlybun who doesn't feel like a bunny, but doesn't look like a bear. A friendship begins!
Call Me Tree/Llamame ArbolMaya GonzalezA book about growing up, discovering others like you and celebrating differences. A great book where no pronouns are associated with the main character.
Carlos, The Fairy BoyJuan A. Ríos VegaA Carnival tradition in Panama expands when a supportive abuela encourages her grandson to follow his fairy boy dreams!
C is for CountryLil Nas XYes
A sweet ABC picture book featuring Rapper Lil' Nas X as a little kid in a bright pink cowperson suit and matching hat, from when he wakes up on the farm to when he goes to sleep. Illustrations by Theodore Taylor III.
Dazzling Travis: A Story About Being Confident and OriginalHannah Carmona DiasYesTravis is a cisgender boy who loves to play and dress up in lots of ways. When a kid at school gives him a hard time, he replies with strength and resilience.
Donovan's Big DayLeslea NewmanDonovan is excited to be a ring bearer in his moms' wedding.
Drum Dream Girl: How One Girl's Courage Changed MusicMargarita EngleA young girl dreams of playing the drums - but where she lives this is only something boys can do. With the support of her family, she makes her drumming dreams come true.
Except When They Don'tLaura GehlThis book reminds children that there are lots of ways to be themselves, and that, for example, "girls like kittens and ballet...except when they don't."
FamiliesKerry McCluskey and Jesse Unaapik MikeYes Talittuq is a First Nations child beginning second grade, and discovers that many families are structured differently than his own.
FamiliesShelley Rotner and Sheila M. KellyThis book shows photographs of real families that come in all sizes and colors. A great introductory book for discussions about family diversity.
Families, Families, Families!Suzanne and Max LangThis book depicts families with cartoon animals instead of people, with each page following the format "some families have...".
Felix's New SkirtKerstin BrichzinWhen Felix's classmates tease him for wearing skirts, his parents help to teach his peers about acceptance.
Fred Gets DressedPeter Brown
Fred sneaks into his parents' separate closets and decides to use his mom's clothes to dress up. When his parents catch him, they decide to join in on the fun. Note: while this book does feature a male-identified child playing dress up in dresses and with makeup, the book is very binary-driven (it is made clear that dads wear suits and ties, and moms wear dresses and makeup).
Free to Be Incredible Me!Joelle-Elizabeth RetenerManny's dad helps him discover that being a boy can mean anything he wants, including playing with dolls and wearing pink.
From Archie to ZackVincent X. Kirsch
In this sweet book about first crushes, Archie and Zack are friends who spent all of their time together, but neither can figure out the right way to reveal their love for the other. Archie decides to write a letter to Zack, revealing his feelings, but the letters keep falling into the wrong hands of other Z-named kids.
From the Stars in the Sky to the Fish in the SeaKai Cheng ThomYesA young child identifies outside the binary. When they begin to attend school, their mother assures them that she will love them no matter what.
Grandad's CamperHarry Woodgate
While traveling in a VW van, a young Brown child listens as their Grandad tells stories of he and Gramps (also Brown skinned), who recently died. Though Grandad is still grief-stricken, his grandchild convinces him to fix up the van and take a road trip.
Grace for President Kelly DipucchioWhen Grace learns that there have been no female presidents, she decides to run in an election at school. This is a great introduction to elections and the voting process.
Hair LoveMatthew A. CherryWhile Mom's away on a trip, a loving dad learns how to style his daughter's hair.
Harriet Gets Carried AwayJessie SimaA costume-loving girl of color with two dads loves to wear costumes goes on an adventure.
Heather Has Two MommiesLeslea NewmanYesHeather loves things that come in twos - her arms, her pets, and her moms! When she starts school, Heather learns that families can look very different!
Ho'onani: Hula WarriorHeather Gale
Ho'onani doesn't see herself as wahine (girl) OR kane (boy) and feels comfortable "in the middle." The problem is, she wants to be a part of the traditional kane hula chant performance, but only boys are allowed.
Hooray, What a Day!/ ¡Viva, Qué Día!Sunny AllisYes
Written in both English and Spanish, this delightful, affirming story features 10 year-old gender nonconfirming Frankie who lives with her Abuela and narrates their joyful day walking around their city. Frankie joins her chosen family for a parade and a potluck with food from a community garden. The book celebrates Black and Latinx history and culture and its detailed illustrations are excellent jumping-off points to conversations around these topics. **Note: Earlier editions may list the author as 'Molly Allis.' Their name is Sunny Allis.**
How Do You Dance?Thyra HederBeautiful illustrations follow a wide variety of adults and children of different genders dancing however they feel.
I Am EnoughGrace ByersThis beautifully illustrated book reads like a poem. it depicts a variety of girls playing, learning and talking, with the message that everyone is who they are meant to be.
I Am JazzJessica Herthel and Jazz JenningsYesThis book written with help by Jazz Jennings, a trans teen, explores a young girl's gender identity. While some love this book, others find it reinforces the gender binary.
I Love My PurseBelle Demont
When Charlie decides to bring his bright red purse to school, his family and friends initially respond by reminding him of how boys should look and behave. But eventually, Charlie's unapologetic self expression inspires them express themselves, too.
I'm Jay, Let's PlayBeth ReichmuthYesJay, Ren, Finn, Casey and Riley play together play together in preschool and are refreshingly referred to by their names, in a book refreshingly devoid of pronouns.
Interstellar CinderellaDeborah UnderwoodThis book is a new take on the Cinderella story, great for a unit on fairy tale adaptations.
Introducing Teddy: A Gentle Story About Gender and FriendshipJessica WaltonTeddy wishes their name was Tilly. Luckily his owner knows that it doesn't make what his teddy's gender identity is, they will always be friends.
It Feels Good to be Yourself: A Book About Gender IdentityTheresa Thorn"No matter what your gender identity is, you are okay exactly the way you are. And you are loved."
It's Great to Be You!
Courtney Gonzalez and Diana Karczmarczyk
This book highlights a diverse group of kids, sharing what they like, want to be when they grow up, and what they like to play together.
I Will Be Fierce!Bea BirdsongA girl goes through her day, facing her fears and using her voice to be heard.
Jack and JimKitty CrowtherA seagull and a blackbird become friends, in a tale that alludes to race, gender, and tolerance.
Jack, Not JackieErica Silverman
Older sister Susan assumes her sibling, assigned female at birth, is a girl. But when Jack gets old enough to speak, he tells everyone he is a boy. GIC Note: This book heavily reinforces the binary stereotype. It is a description of one type of transgender child, but does not represent the trans* community as a whole.
Jacob's New DressSarah and Ian HoffmanFrom the back cover: "There are lots of different ways to be a boy."
Jacob's Room to ChooseSarah and Ian HoffmanJacob and his friend Sophie use the school bathrooms that align with their gender, but are chased out by peers. The two decide to help make a change and educate others in the process.
Jacob's School Play, Starring He, She, and TheySarah and Ian HoffmanWhile preparing for their school play, Jacob's class explore identity and learn what it means to be nonbinary.
Jamie and Bubbie: A Book About People's PronounsAfsaneh Moradian
Jamie (of 'Jamie is Jamie: A Book About Being Yourself and Playing Your Way') goes out to eat with his Bubbie, but when Bubbie mispronouns someone, Jamie has to teach her about pronouns and respecting others' genders.
Jamie is Jamie: A Book About Being Yourself and Playing Your WayAfsaneh MoradianAt school, a child encounters classmates who claim some toys are just for boys or just for girls.
Jerome By HeartOlivier TallecRaphael expresses deep love for his friend, Jerome, and he spends his days hanging out with him and making plans for the future.
Julián at the WeddingJessica LoveJulián from Julián is a Mermaid is back, this time in a wedding! When Julián and his abuela attend a wedding that Julián is in, he meets a new friend and gets into some mischief.
Julián is a MermaidJessica Love
Julián sees mermaids while he is out with his grandma. When they return home he decides to dress up as one too. His grandmother surprises him by taking him back out to celebrate with the mermaids in the streets.
Keesha's South African AdventureCheril N. Clarke and Monica Bey-ClarkeFor Keesha's birthday, her two moms surprise her by taking her on a vacation to South Africa.
King & KingLinda de Haan and Stern NijlandA fairytale featuring two kings.
Little Kunoichi: The Ninja GirlSanae IshidaYesAs little Little Kunoichi practices and performs, she learns explores important values, such as mindfulness and perseverance.
Llama GlamaramaSimon James Green
This rhyming picture book features Larry the Llama, who loves to dance. When he finds a secret group of other dancing llamas, he is overjoyed, but worries what the animals back at the barn will think of him. Ultimately, Larry realizes that everyone has characteristics that make them different and unique.
Love is LoveMichael GenhartAfter being teased about his t-shirt with a rainbow heart on it, a little boy discovers that maybe having two dads isn't so different after all.
Love is PowerfulHeather Dean BrewerMari and her mom, both Black, make and carry signs announcing love and justice for all people as they participate in citywide protest.
Love Makes a FamilySophie BeerA board book that gives examples of what love is, with illustrations of what it looks like in different types of families.
Lucía La LuchadoraCynthia Leonor GarzaYesLucía comes from a long line of powerful women luchadores, and when she decides to embody a luchadora, she must sacrifice a part of her identity to help a fellow girl in need.
Lucía the Luchadora and the Million MasksCynthia Leonor GarzaYesWhen Lucía misplaces her mask, she goes on a wacky adventure to complete her Luchadora identity, wishing to be the "Girl of a Thousand Masks."
Made by RaffiCraig PomranzRaffi is a shy boy who knits, despite that his classmates think knitting is for girls.
Maiden VoyageAdam Reynolds and Chaz HarrisYes
Fairytale/fantasy story: "When a fisherman's daughter inherits a map and joins the crew of a courageous female captain, a bond between them soon forms into love. Pursuing them on their high seas adventure is a fierce band of pirates, bewitched by a wicked Queen who is determined to keep her dark secret from surfacing."
Marisol McDonald Doesn't Match/Marisol McDonald No CombinaMonica BrownMarisol is a biracial, Peruvian-Scottish-American who likes to play soccer, pirates, and princesses, even though other people want to force her into a box.
Mary Wears What She WantsKeith NegleyThis fictional tale was inspired by brave Mary Edwards Walker, who in the 1800s, chose to shatter gender norms by wearing pants.
Max and Friends Book 1: Call Me MaxKyle LukoffYesWhen Max starts school, his teacher takes attendance and calls out a name that doesn't feel right. He begins to identify as a boy and befriends Steven, a boy who loves to wear dresses.
Max and Friends Book 2: Max on the FarmKyle LukoffYesMax and his friend Teresa go on an overnight field trip to the farm and get into trouble.
Max and Friends Book 3: Max and the Talent ShowKyle LukoffYesMax, a white transgender boy, becomes the assistant to his best friend Steven, a Black cisgender boy, who decides to perform in the talent show.
Meet PolkadotTalcott BroadheadThis book tells the story of a non-binary transgender child, and is a great introduction to gender.
M is for Melanin: A Celebration of the Black ChildTiffany RoseYesIn this affirming alphabet book, E is for empowerment, P is for pride, and V is for Voice. Rose champions Black children of every gender.
Morris Micklewhite and the Tangerine DressChristine Baldacchino
Morris loves his tangerine-hued dress, but not all of his classmates agree with his choice. Morris' mom helps him to love his identity and clothing choices, and he returns to school with a renewed sense of self.
Mother BruceRyan T. HigginsBruce is a bear who accidentally becomes caretaker for a flock of goslings. He reluctantly takes on a maternal role.
My MaddyGayle E. PitmanYesA little girl talks about her nonbinary parent by describing other things in the world that don't fit along the binary.
My Mama is a MechanicDoug CenkoA little boy shows that it's okay for mother figures to take on different roles during playtime.
My Mommy, My Mama, My Brother, and MeNatalie MeisnerYesA rhyming book follows a biracial family with two moms and two sons as they explore the beach near their home.
My Papa is a PrincessDoug CenkoA little girl shows that it's okay for father figures to take on different roles during playtime.
My RainbowTrinity and DeShanna NealYesTrinity is a Black transgender autistic girl. When Trinity expresses concern that she needs long hair in order to be a girl, her Mom makes her a gorgeous (shorter!) rainbow wig.
My Princess BoyCheryl KilodavisA story inspired by the author's son, it tells the tale of "My Princess Boy," who defies gender roles and especially loves his dress and tiara.