This guest post was written by Joey Mathis, a First Book Marketing and Communication intern. She is currently an undergrad student at Hollins University in Roanoke, Virginia. The Pride book list was curated by Lee Butler, First Book’s Senior Cataloging Manager.
Every June, First Book celebrates Pride Month as part of our mission to promote diversity and inclusion. Whether this topic is new to you as an educator or perhaps you have a few favorite titles of your own, we encourage you to facilitate conversations about the LGBTQ+ community through several of our favorite books. To help you get started, the wonderful team behind the curation of First Book’s Marketplace has picked 16 board and picture books to help you explore topics specific to pride, gender, families, and more!
Eligible educators can shop for these titles and more in the LGBTQ+ Characters and Cultures category on First Book’s Marketplace. Families and other First Book supporters can shop these titles and support us through Bookshop.org where 10% of your purchase directly supports First Book.
The Rainbow Parade written and illustrated by Emily Neilson
One day in June, Mommy, Mama, and Emily take the train into the city to watch the Rainbow Parade. The three of them love how all the people in the street are so loud, proud, and colorful, but when Mama suggests they join the parade, Emily feels nervous. Standing on the sidewalk is one thing, but walking in the parade? Surely that takes something special.
ABC Pride by Louie Stowell and Elly Barnes, illustrated by Amy Phelps – COMING SOON
ABC Pride introduces little readers to the alphabet through the colorful world of Pride. Children can discover letters and words while also learning more about the LGBTQIA+ community and how to be inclusive. Every letter of the alphabet is paired with fun, bold illustrations to support language learning, and a handy list of discussion points at the end gives adults the tools to spark further conversations and discussion.
Pride Colors by Robin Stevenson
Through gentle rhymes and colorful photographs of adorable children, Pride Colors is a celebration of the deep unconditional love of a parent or caregiver for a young child. The profound message of this delightful board book is you are free to be whoever you choose to be; you’ll always be loved. Celebrated author Robin Stevenson ends her purposeful prose by explaining the meaning behind each color in the Pride flag: red = life, orange = healing, yellow = sunlight, green = nature, blue = peace and harmony, and violet = spirit.
Stonewall: A Building. An Uprising. A Revolution by Rob Sanders, illustrated by Jamey Christoph
A 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.
Pride: The Story of Harvey Milk and the Rainbow Flag by Rob Sanders, illustrated by Steven Salerno
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.
Billie Jean! How Tennis Star Billie Jean King Changed Women’s Sports by Mara Rockliff, illustrated by Elizabeth Baddeley
Anything Billie Jean did, she did it ALL THE WAY. When she ran, she ran fast. When she played, she played hard. As a top women’s tennis player, Billie Jean fought for fairness in women’s sports, and when she faced off against Bobby Riggs in the Battle of the Sexes, the most famous tennis match in history, she showed the world that men and women—and boys and girls—are equal on and off the court.
Sharice’s Big Voice: A Native Kid Becomes a Congresswoman by Sharice Davids and Nancy K. Mays, illustrated by Joshua Mangeshig Pawis-Steckley
When Sharice Davids was young, she never thought she’d be in Congress. And she never thought she’d be one of the first Native American women in Congress. During her campaign, she heard from a lot of doubters. They said she couldn’t win because of how she looked, who she loved, and where she came from. But here’s the thing: Everyone’s path looks different and everyone’s path has obstacles. And this is the triumphant story of Sharice Davids’ path to Congress.
Strong by Rob Kearney and Eric Rosswood, illustrated by Nidhi Chanani
Rob dreams of becoming a champion strongman. He wants to flip huge tires, lug boulders, and haul trucks—and someday be the strongest man in the world! But he feels like he can’t fit in with his bright leggings, unicorn T-shirts, and rainbow-dyed hair. Will Rob find a way to step into his true self and be a champion?
Calvin by JR and Vanessa Ford, illustrated by Kayla Harren
Calvin has always been a boy, even if the world sees him as a girl. He knows who he is in his heart and in his mind but he hasn’t yet told his family. Finally, he can wait no longer: “I’m not a girl,” he tells his family. “I’m a boy—a boy in my heart and in my brain.” Quick to support him, his loving family takes Calvin shopping for the swim trunks he’s always wanted and back-to-school clothes and a new haircut that helps him look and feel like the boy he’s always known himself to be. As the first day of school approaches, he’s nervous and the “what-ifs” gather up inside him. But as his friends and teachers rally around him and he tells them his name, all his “what-ifs” begin to melt away.
It Feels Good to Be Yourself: A Book About Gender Identity by Theresa Thorn, illustrated by Noah Grigni
Some people are boys. Some people are girls. Some people are both, neither, or somewhere in between. This sweet, straightforward exploration of gender identity will give children a fuller understanding of themselves and others.
The Pronoun Book by Chris Ayala-Kronos, illustrated by Melita Tirado
How do you know what someone wants to be called? Ask! This lively board book features eye-catching illustrations of a diverse cast of people and simple text that introduces their pronouns, perfect for readers both young and old.
Sam is My Sister by Ashley Rhodes-Courter, illustrated by MacKenzie Haley
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
Mama and Mommy and Me in the Middle by Nina LaCour, illustrated by Kaylani Juanita
For one little girl, there’s no place she’d rather be than sitting between Mama and Mommy. So when Mommy goes away on a work trip, it’s tricky to find a good place at the table. As the days go by, Mama brings her to the library, they watch movies, and all of them talk on the phone, but she still misses Mommy as deep as the ocean and as high as an astronaut up in the stars. As they pass by a beautiful garden, the girl gets an idea . . . but when Mommy finally comes home, it takes a minute to shake off the empty feeling she felt all week before leaning in for a kiss.
Grandad’s Camper written and illustrated by Harry Woodgate
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.
When Aidan Became a Brother by Kyle Lukoff, illustrated by Kaylani Juanita
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 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.
Fred Gets Dressed written and illustrated by Peter Brown
The boy loves to be naked. He romps around his house naked and wild and free. Until he romps into his parents’ closet and is inspired to get dressed. First he tries on his dad’s clothes, but they don’t fit well. Then he tries on his mom’s clothes, and wow! The boy looks great. He looks through his mom’s jewelry and makeup and tries that on, too. When he’s discovered by his mother and father, the whole family (including the dog!) get in on the fun, and they all get dressed together.
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