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 Beads||Koja and Angel Adeyoha||Yes||When 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 Dresses||Marcus Ewert||A young child dreams of wearing dresses, much to their familiy's dismay. A great book for discussing pronouns and gender identity.|
|A Church for All||Gayle E. Pitman||Yes||This simply worded picture book features scenes from an inclusive church.|
|A Family is a Family is a Family||Sara O'Leary||Students 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 Everyone||Jo Hirst||A story about four young friends with varying gender identities and expressions.|
|A is for Activist||Innosanto Nagara||An alphabet book that depicts various races and genders.|
|A Plan for Pops||Heather Smith||Lou 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 Mommies||Vanita Oelschlager||A young child explains how her two moms love and take care of her.|
|A Tale of Two Daddies||Vanita Oelschlager||A young child explains how her two dads - her daddy and her poppa - love her and take care of her.|
|Ada Twist, Scientist||Andrea Beaty and David Roberts||An engaging and dynamic book about a young child full of questions and a desire to explore. A great representation of a young girl of color scientist.|
|All Are Welcome||Alexandra Penfold||Features a diverse group of children throughout an elementary school.|
|All I Want to Be is Me||Phyllis Rothblatt||A book - and a song - about being your true self and expressing your gender outside the stereotypes.|
|Allie's Basketball Dream||Barbara E. Barber||Allie loves to play basketball, but everyone - including her friends - think it is a "boy's game".|
|Amazing Grace||Mary Hoffman||Yes|
Grace 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 Equality||Chana Ginelle Ewing||Yes|
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 Three||Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson||This 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 Aglow||Heather Smith||Angus 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 Shirt||Stacy B. Davids||A biracial girl tells her mom she doesn't want to wear a dress to her uncle's wedding.|
|Auntie Uncle: Drag Queen Hero||Ellie 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 Day||S. Bear Bergman||Yes|
On 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!
|Be Who You Are||Todd Parr||This vibrant, simple book encourages children to celebrate what makes them unique.|
|Beautiful||Stacy McAnulty||This 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 Bob||James Howe||Big 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.|
|Boys Dance||John Robert Allman||This upbeat rhyming book highlights boy ballet dancers, and spotlights some real male dancers at the end of the book.|
|Bunnybear||Andrea J. Loney|
Bunnybear 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 Arbol||Maya Gonzalez||A 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 Boy||Juan A. Ríos Vega||A Carnival tradition in Panama expands when a supportive abuela encourages her grandson to follow his fairy boy dreams!|
|C is for Country||Lil Nas X||Yes|
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 Original||Hannah Carmona Dias||Yes||Travis 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 Day||Leslea Newman||Donovan is excited to be a ring bearer in his moms' wedding.|
|Drum Dream Girl: How One Girl's Courage Changed Music||Margarita Engle||A 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't||Laura Gehl||This 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."|
|Families||Shelley Rotner and Sheila M. Kelly||This 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 Lang||This book depicts families with cartoon animals instead of people, with each page following the format "some families have...".|
|Felix's New Skirt||Kerstin Brichzin||When Felix's classmates tease him for wearing skirts, his parents help to teach his peers about acceptance.|
|Free to Be Incredible Me!||Joelle-Elizabeth Retener||Manny's dad helps him discover that being a boy can mean anything he wants, including playing with dolls and wearing pink.|
|From the Stars in the Sky to the Fish in the Sea||Kai Cheng Thom||Yes||A young child identifies outside the binary. When they begin to attend school, their mother assures them that she will love them no matter what.|
|Grace for President||Kelly Dipucchio||When 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 Love||Matthew A. Cherry||While Mom's away on a trip, a loving dad learns how to style his daughter's hair.|
|Harriet Gets Carried Away||Jessie Sima||A costume-loving girl of color with two dads loves to wear costumes goes on an adventure.|
|Heather Has Two Mommies||Leslea Newman||Yes||Heather 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 Warrior||Heather 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!||Molly Allis||Yes|
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.
|How Do You Dance?||Thyra Heder||Beautiful illustrations follow a wide variety of adults and children of different genders dancing however they feel.|
|I Am Enough||Grace Byers||This 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 Jazz||Jessica Herthel and Jazz Jennings||Yes||This 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 Purse||Belle 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 Play||Beth Reichmuth||Yes||Jay, 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 Cinderella||Deborah Underwood||This 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 Friendship||Jessica Walton||Teddy 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 Identity||Theresa 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 Birdsong||A girl goes through her day, facing her fears and using her voice to be heard.|
|Jack and Jim||Kitty Crowther||A seagull and a blackbird become friends, in a tale that alludes to race, gender, and tolerance.|
|Jack, Not Jackie||Erica 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 Dress||Sarah and Ian Hoffman||From the back cover: "There are lots of different ways to be a boy."|
|Jacob's Room to Choose||Sarah and Ian Hoffman|
Jacob 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.
|Jamie and Bubbie: A Book About People's Pronouns||Afsaneh 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 Way
|Afsaneh Moradian||At school, a child encounters classmates who claim some toys are just for boys or just for girls.|
|Jerome By Heart||Olivier Tallec||Raphael 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 Wedding||Jessica Love||Julián 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 Mermaid||Jessica 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 Adventure||Cheril N. Clarke and Monica Bey-Clarke||For Keesha's birthday, her two moms surprise her by taking her on a vacation to South Africa.|
|King & King||Linda de Haan and Stern Nijland||A fairytale featuring two kings.|
|Little Kunoichi: The Ninja Girl||Sanae Ishida||Yes||As little Little Kunoichi practices and performs, she learns explores important values, such as mindfulness and perseverance.|
|Looking Like Me||Walter Dean Myers||Yes||With dazzling collage, this book explores the endless facets of a child's personality, from the concrete (I am a brother, a son) to the more abstract (a silver-rayed moonbeamer).|
|Love is Love||Michael Genhart||After 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 Powerful||Heather Dean Brewer||Mari 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 Family||Sophie Beer||A board book that gives examples of what love is, with illustrations of what it looks like in different types of families.|
|Lucía La Luchadora||Cynthia Leonor Garza||Yes||Lucía 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 Masks||Cynthia Leonor Garza||Yes||When 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 Raffi||Craig Pomranz||Raffi is a shy boy who knits, despite that his classmates think knitting is for girls.|
|Maiden Voyage||Adam Reynolds and Chaz Harris||Yes|
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 Combina||Monica Brown||Marisol 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 Wants||Keith Negley||This 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 Max||Kyle Lukoff||Yes|
When 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 Farm||Kyle Lukoff||Yes||Max 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 Show||Kyle Lukoff||Yes||Max, 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 Polkadot||Talcott Broadhead||This 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 Child||Tiffany Rose||Yes||In 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 Dress||Christine 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 Bruce||Ryan T. Higgins||Bruce is a bear who accidentally becomes caretaker for a flock of goslings. He reluctantly takes on a maternal role.|
|My Maddy||Gayle E. Pitman||Yes||A 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 Mechanic||Doug Cenko||A little boy shows that it's okay for mother figures to take on different roles during playtime.|
|My Papa is a Princess||Doug Cenko||A little girl shows that it's okay for father figures to take on different roles during playtime.|
|My Rainbow||Trinity and DeShanna Neal||Yes||Trinity 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 Boy||Cheryl Kilodavis||A 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.|
|Neither||Airlie Anderson||Born into a binary world, a bunny-bird hybrid must decide where it belongs.|
|Nerdy Birdy||Aaron Reynolds||A bird who enjoys reading and video games doesn't fit in with his peers.|
|Not Quite Narwhal||Jessie Sima|
A unicorn lives in the sea among narwhals, and believes they are one, too. But on a visit to dry land, they encounter a world of unicorns who reveal that they're a unicorn. What is their true identity? Who will they choose to live with?
|Odd Dog Out||Rob Biddulph||A rainbow scarf-wearing dog learns that maybe it's not so bad to be different, after all.|
|Ogilvy||Deborah Underwood||In this rhyming narrative, Ogilvy the Bunny comes to realize that his personality, not his clothes, determine his identity.|
|Oliver Button is a Sissy||Tomie DePaola||Yes||Oliver is a boy who loves to dance, even though the other boys call him a sissy. His parents enroll him in dance class.|
|One||Kathryn Otoshi||The first in a series featuring colors and numbers as its characters, Number One acts as an ally to Blue after Blue is bullied by Red. A simple introduction to allyship.|
|Otter and Odder: A Love Story||James Howe|
Instead of eating Myrtle the fish, Otter unexpectedly falls in love with her. The other otters tell him that the pairing isn't right or natural, but Otter and Myrtle decide to follow their hearts.
|One Family||George Shannon||This book with sparse but lovely text describes all sorts of ways to be a family.|