Kids books to read for IDAHOBIT

The International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia (IDAHOBIT), celebrated every year on May 17, is a day to stand with the LGBTIQ+ community, celebrate LGBTQI+ people, champion inclusion and build a better world for the LGBTQI+ community.

We’ve put together some recommended children’s books to read on IDAHOBIT, or any other day of the year.


PICTURE BOOKS


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Love Makes a Family by Sophie Beer

This cheerful rainbow-hued book by Australian illustrator Sophie Beer shows all different sorts of families engaging in activities that bring them together. There are families with two mums, two dads, one parent, or one of each, and from a variety of cultural backgrounds in this inclusive board book. Whether it’s baking a cake, finding a lost teddy, watching amateur theatrics or splashing in puddles, the common denominator these families have is love for each other. For ages 1 and up.


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Introducing Teddy by Jessica Walton

When Errol wonders why his usually bubbly best friend Thomas the teddy is feeling so sad, Thomas reveals that she is a girl teddy and would prefer to be called Tilly. Errol and Tilly’s other friends meet this news with acceptance and love, and the group of friends is able to continue its games and activities as usual. This is a sweet and gentle introduction to gender identity, and pays tribute to the bravery involved in letting our friends see us authentically. For ages 2 and up.


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Julian is a Mermaid by Jessica Love

Julian sees three fabulously-dressed women on the subway and decides that they’re mermaids. He’s so inspired by this sighting that he creates his own flamboyant costume using things he finds at home, daydreaming about his own mermaid transformation. When Julian’s abuela sees Julian in his costume she takes him to the Coney Island Mermaid parade, where he meets lots of people who love dressing up as much as he does. This almost-wordless picture book features stunning illustrations, an expressive gender-questioning protagonist, and a loving and accepting grandmother. For ages 4 and up.


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Wrestle by Maya Newell, Charlotte Mars, Gus Skattebol-James & Tom Jellett

Gus loves professional wrestling so much he decides to dress as a wrestler for the Mardi Gras Parade, but his mums, Jen and Jamie, are not so sure. After Gus and his sister Rory have a little wrestling accident, his mums ban the sport. Gus and Rory conspire to make up a new sort of wrestler, one who is kind and respectful of others, and the whole family ends up marching happily in the parade. This sweet picture book is based on, and co-authored by, the real-life young wrestling fan Gus from Newell’s documentary Gayby Baby. The delicate negotiations between kids and parents will be very familiar for many readers! For ages 4 and up


JUNIOR AND MIDDLE FICTION


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George by Alex Gino

When Melissa’s school puts on a production of Charlotte’s Web she’s desperate to play the lead role of Charlotte. But when she goes to audition, her teacher tells her she can’t audition because she’s a boy called George. Melissa has a loyal and accepting best friend Kelly, though, who helps her hatch a plan to appear as Charlotte in the play and allow everyone to see her true identity. George doesn’t downplay the bullying, fears and self-doubt faced by Melissa, but it remains an uplifting and sensitive story about friendship, family and acceptance. For ages 9 and up.


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The Whispers by Greg Howard

Eleven-year-old Riley’s mother went missing months ago and no one in his family will talk about it. Bullied and living in a small town where Christianity looms large, Riley is weighed down with guilt over his bedwetting and his crush on a boy. He stakes all his hopes in “The Whispers” from his mother’s favourite story – magical creatures that grant wishes if you leave them offerings. An ambitious plan sees Riley heading into the woods with two friends and his dog, to communicate with The Whispers and get his mother back. This gently unfolding mystery is tinged with imagination and humour, even while it touches on serious themes of grief, loss and self-acceptance. For ages 10 and up.


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To Night Owl, From Dogfish by Meg Wolitzer & Holly Goldberg Sloan

Twelve-year-olds Avery and Bett live on opposite sides of the country when their respective single fathers fall in love at a conference, secretly date for months, and then develop a plan for their daughters to bond at summer camp while they zoom around China on motorcycles. Avery and Bett start exchanging emails and, even though they couldn’t be more different from each other, start to slowly form a close friendship. When their fathers hit a relationship snag in China, Avery and Bett are forced to shift their plotting from break ‘em up to make 'em up. A sweet and funny look at what holds families together. For ages 10 and up.


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Drama by Raina Telgemaier

When seventh-grader Callie’s school puts on a musical production of Moon Over Mississippi, she takes on the ambitious task of creating Broadway-worthy sets for the production. Auditions are held, rehearsals begin, exploding props are tested, ticket sales lag and opening night looms. In this hothouse of musical theatre, friendships are tested, jealousy runs high and crushes bloom. Raina Telgemaier is a bestselling graphic novelist beloved for her extremely sympathetic takes on the highs and lows of being a tween. Drama has gay students, same-sex attractions, and a diverse group of tweens learning to work together. For ages 10 and up.


For even more recommendations, browse our collections of LGTQIA+ books for kids and LGBTQIA+ books for teens.


Leanne Hall is a children’s and YA specialist at Readings Kids. She also writes books for children and young adults.

The Whispers

The Whispers

Greg Howard

$14.99Buy now

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