To mark World Book Day, Amazon’s LGBTQ affinity group glamazon have pulled together 10 books perfect for LGBTQ families.
Growing up gay and not knowing why I was different, I always looked around me for something I could identify with and relate to. Are there people like me? What happens when I grow up? Without a role model, access to the right gayducation and some sort of explanation of what being myself really meant, all these questions went unanswered for a long time.
Looking at the list of these 10 inspiring and heart-warming books, I almost wish I could go back and be a curious kid all over again. They are informative, light-hearted and an example of how normalcy comes in different shapes, forms and identities.
Then some others are more daring and challenge the assumptions that fairy-tales can only be for non-questioning people, showing a different perspective, and proving how “happily ever after” applies to everyone. They are never patronising, they explain in simple terms what it means to be yourself, what it means to have parents that deeply love you but don’t conform to the society-enforced standards (“Some mums turn into dads and some dads turn into mums”) and what to do to support the loved ones, in clear unmistakable language.
Each book represents a different shade of the bright and proud LGBTQ rainbow with complex feelings and emotions that cannot be summarised by one of the five letters. For us at glamazon, Amazon’s affinity group for LGBTQ employees and allies, all 10 writers perfectly describe inclusivity and love. – Luca Sale, Manager, Solutions Architecture, Amazon
1. And Tango Makes Three
The charming picture book by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell, illustrated by Henry Cole, is about two male penguins, Roy and Silo, who build a nest together at Central Park Zoo in New York. They are given an abandoned egg to protect until it hatches. This a particularly interesting book because the story of penguins Roy and Silo and their daughter Tango is a true story.
“We purchased this as a gift for our best friend’s daughter when she was born (we’re affectionately known as Guncle’s). She had picked it out a fair few months later when I was doing story-time, which was lovely in itself, and having never read it before it made me well up a little bit! Lovely story with great illustrations, clearly captured her imagination!” – Ed Freckelton, Finance, Amazon
2. Mommy, Mama and Me
This is a rhyming book with beautiful illustrations which teaches toddlers and young children about same-sex families. The story shows a toddler spending a normal day with its two mum’s. This book was published at the same time as highly acclaimed book Daddy, Papa and Me, which was nominated for the Stonewall Book Award 2010.
“This is a lovely book with calming illustration, which represents gender and racial diversity as well as sexuality. Allowing children access to a book like this will help to encourage an understanding and acceptance, which isn’t explicitly found in the majority of children’s literature. The fact that the story revolves around the family doing ‘normal’ every day family activities will give any children reading it the important message that sexuality doesn’t influence the effectiveness of parenting, or the amount of love a family can share.
“Overall, this is a compassionate demonstration of the variety of people we have living in society and a good way to communicate this to our future leaders.” – Christon Mallett, Marketing Manager, Amazon
3. The Family Book
Written by Todd Parr, The Family Book celebrates different kinds of families and assures its young readers that no matter what kind of family you have – two mothers or two dads, a big family or a small family, a clean family or a messy one – every family is special in its own unique way.
“I found this book a great inspiration for children from diverse backgrounds. It spreads the powerful message that there is no such thing as a ‘normal family’, and helps to stamp out any stereotype of what a family should look like, encouraging an open-minded approach. I wish messages like this appeared more in children’s media to help us bring up a new generation of kind and accepting young people.” – Grace Hanton, Investigations Manager, Amazon
4. This Is a Book for Parents of Gay Kids
In a simple Q&A format, this is a go-to resource for parents looking to understand and communicate with their gay child with love and understanding. Filled with real-life experiences from gay kids and parents, this book is highly informative and easy to understand.
“The insights provided by LGBTQ children and their parents in this book are an excellent information source for parents who may be worried about their child coming out or seeking reassurance and guidance on how to provide a safe and comfortable environment for their child to be who they are. I know my mum would have really benefitted from access to a book like this when I came out and I’m happy that such a book exists to help spread awareness and support other families!” – Grace Hanton
5. This is my Family: A First Look at Same-Sex Parents
This picture book for young, pre-school aged children introduces children to same-sex parenting and helps them understand and overcome problems that might trouble them in social and family relationships. This book also includes helpful notes for parents and teachers on how to share this book with a child or class. Written by an experienced psychotherapist, this book not only informs, but seeks to promote positive interactions among children, parents, and teachers.
“This is the perfect book for families with kids who start socialising and interacting with their peers, coming home with many questions about their family. I bought it for a friend whose son was incredibly inquisitive and started wondering why some of his friends at reception didn’t have two daddies.
“It is educational, and provide a grown-up yet child-friendly explanation about diversity in families, not only of gender. Plus, it gives adults plenty of resources to make this educational journey as smooth as possible. Highly recommended!” – Luca
6. The Misfits
Written by James Howe, this fast read is perfect for young people aged between 11-14. It focuses on diversity and acceptance, and is the story of four kids who try to end name-calling in their school. The Misfits is now widely read and studied in schools, and was the inspiration for the national movement known as No Name-Calling Week.
“As well as being a celebrating diversity and acceptance, a key message of this book is that change can begin at grassroots level and that every person can make a difference. If every child across the world read and took forward the message that James Howe portrays in this book, we could stamp out of the bullying that plagues our playgrounds and inspire our children to flourish in an accepting and welcoming environment.” – Christon
7. 10,000 Dresses
This is a modern, uplifting fairytale about becoming the person you are inside. While Bailey dreams of wearing glamorous dresses, his parents have other ideas, telling Bailey – “You’re a boy! You shouldn’t be thinking about dresses at all. Until one day Bailey meets an older girl and they start a wonderful, accepting relationship, making dresses together.
“This is such a fun, gentle and yet powerful story about gender and how parents can help their kids unlock their true potential. It challenges stereotypes and encourages everyone to be themselves, helping parents deal with complex feelings and helping kids define who they are based on their inner-self, not just a letter on their birth certificate. It’s lovely to see how it resonates with teachers and parents alike.” – Luca
8. Simon vs The Homo Sapiens Agenda
For teens (and their parents), this work of fiction about to become a major motion picture is about 16 year old Simon, as he navigates trying to work out who he is and what he is looking for.
“Lovely book that is very well written, with a great flow and a sensitive, realistic depiction of being a young member of the LGBTQ community.” – Jim Smith, Brand Specialist, Amazon
9. Families Are Like Ice Cream Flavours
This innovative children’s book is about different types of families and is the first to include a photograph of a transgender mum and her daughter (with the text “Kimmy’s mom was once a man”.) This book is ideal for small children in non-traditional families or to help encourage children to be open minded about modern family arrangements.
“This book is a great way to educate young children on gender diversity within the family. So much of what children learn in their early years is centred around the typical heterosexual and cisgendered nuclear family and this book provides a profound means to nurture understanding of difference.
“I would recommend this for families with LGBTQ members as well as those without. This book will assist in teaching children the beauty in our difference, and that difference is in fact, normal and healthy.” – Christon
10. King and King
A wonderfully illustrated, postmodern fairytale, the Prince’s mother decides that he must marry. But despite meeting successions of princesses, none of them catch the Prince’s eye… Until he falls in love with one princess’s brother and the book concludes with a Royal, same-sex wedding.
“If I had this book when I was a kid I would have come out of my shell much earlier than I did! It’s sweet, perfectly illustrated, unconventional and empowering. A story reminding us of Cinderella but in a very modern key, showing how society, even in a monarchy, can embrace diversity and let love triumph no matter what.
“The ending makes us dream in awe, and shows us how we can reach the true happy ending by being open minded and following our instincts.” – Luca