Stories help shape our perceptions of the world, including how we perceive gender. But our society’s conventional gender norms, so often depicted in the media we consume, don’t tell the whole story. Young audiences need access to stories that paint a more complete picture of gender and reflect their lived experiences.
That’s why we took a look at some of the gender-expansive, gender-inclusive, and LGBTQ+ affirming books currently available for children. Here are some of the books we found at the Des Moines Public Library:
- And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell, illustrated by Henry Cole: This book tells the story of a same-sex penguin couple and how they show affection much like other penguin couples do.
- I Am Jazz by Jessica Herthel and Jazz Jennings, illustrated by Shelagh McNicholas: This book tells the story of Jazz, a transgender child who explains who she is inside and the difference it makes to be accepted by others for who she is.
- King & King by Linda de Haan and Stern Nijland: This book tells a story of love at first sight between two princes.
- Morris Micklewhite and the Tangerine Dress by Christine Baldacchino, illustrated by Isabelle Malenfant: This is the story of Morris and his love for a beautiful tangerine dress. It depicts the wonderful things that can happen when children are allowed to explore what they love and who they are without labels.
- Worm Loves Worm by J.J. Austrian, illustrated by Mike Curato: This story reframes the need for traditional gender roles when it comes to love.