By: Sydney Spangler
June is LGBTQ+ Pride Month and The Traveling Library CCTX is celebrating diversity and inclusiveness by highlighting family-friendly books that are geared to everyone from the youngest tots to questioning teens to help families grow in understanding.
These books can be read by everyone and anyone to learn their messages of unconditional love and acceptance.
Love Makes a Family
Grade level: Baby-3 years
Love is baking a special cake. Love is lending a helping hand. Love is reading one more book. This fun, inclusive board books celebrates the one thing that makes every family a family, and that’s love! The book features many different families who are shown in happy activities, from early-morning wake-up to a kiss before bed. Whether a child has two moms, two dads, one parent, or one of each, this simple preschool read-aloud demonstrates that what’s most important in each family’s life is the love family members share.
And Tango Makes Three
Grade level: Preschool-Kindergarten
This is the heartwarming true story of two penguins who create a nontraditional family. At the penguin house at the Central Park Zook, two penguins named Roy and Silo were a little bit different from the others. But their desire for a family was the same. With the help of a kind zookeeper, Roy and Silo got the chance to welcome a baby penguin of their very own.
Julián is a Mermaid
Grade level: Preschool-2
While riding the subway home from the pool with his abuela one day, Julián notices three women spectacularly dressed up. Their hair billows in brilliant hues, their dresses end in fishtails, and their joy fills up the train car. When Julián gets home, daydreaming of the magic he’s seen, all he can think about is dressing up just like the ladies in his own fabulous mermaid costume: a butter-yellow curtain for his tail, the fronds of potted fern for his headdress. But what will Abuela think about the mess he makes -- and even more importantly, what will she think about how Julián sees himself?
This is a story of self-love and a radiant celebration of individuality.
One of A Kind, Like Me / Único como yo
Grade level: 1-3
Tomorrow is the school parade, and Danny knows exactly what he will be: a princess. Mommy supports him 100%, and they race to the thrift store to find his costume. It’s almost closing time -- will Danny find the costume of his dreams in time?
Based on a true story, this bilingual picture book uplifts children who don’t fit gender stereotypes, and reflects the power of a loving and supportive community. According to Laurin Mayeno, the author, she hopes this book will give children a sense of belonging, courage to be who they are, and an appreciation for people who are different than themselves.
Lumberjanes Vol. 1: Beware the Kitten Holy
Grade level: 4-7
Five best friends are spending the summer at Lumberjane scout camp for Hardcore Lady Types defeating yetis, three-eyed wolves, and giant falcons! “Lumberjanes” features five but-cking, rad teenage girls who wail on monsters and solve mysteries. Jo, April, Molly, Mal, and Ripley are spunky, loveable characters with vibrant personalities that challenge gender stereotypes The feel-good title celebrates female empowerment, teamwork, and friendship while placing LGbTQ+ characters at the forefront of its stories.
The Magic Fish
Grade level: 7-9
“The Magic Fish” is a gorgeous debut graphic novel that was published in 2020 and named one of the Best Books of the Year by the New York Public Library. It is a powerful read to celebrate Pride Month about family, identity, and the enduring magic of stories.
Tien and his mother may come from different cultures -- she’s an immigrant from Vietnam still struggling with English; he’s been raised in America -- but through the fairy tales he checks out from the local library, those differences are erased.
But as much as Tien’s mother’s English continues to improve as he reads her tales of love, loss, and travel across distant shores, there’s one conversation that still eludes him -- how to tell his parents that he’s gay. Is there even a way to explain what he’s going through in Vietnamese? And without a way to reveal his hidden self, how will his parents ever accept him?
This beautifully illustrated graphic novel folds five stories into its narrative. In addition to Tien’s struggle to come out, his mother, Helen, is struggling to help a sick parent back in Vietnam. Then there are three gorgeous fairy-tale adaptations from around the world. Le Nguyen, the author, also includes details on his own experience as the child of immigrants who spoke a hybrid language at home.
Symptoms of Being Human
Grade level: 9-12
“Symptoms of Being Human” is a young adult novel that creates a powerful and uplifting portrait of a modern teen struggling with high school, relationships, and what it means to be a person. Riley Cavanaugh is genderfluid. Some days Riley is a boy, and others Riley a girl. On top of a fluctuating gender identity, Riley is also facing the pressure of starting a new school in addition to having a congressman father running for reelection. On the advice of a therapist, Riley starts an anonymous blog to vent pent-up emotions and tell the truth of what it’s like to be a genderfluid teenager. But as Riley’s starting to settle in at school, the blog goes viral, and an unnamed commenter discovers Riley’s real identity, threatening exposure. Riley must make a choice: walk away from what the blog has created -- lifeline, new friends, a cause to believe in -- or stand up, come out, and risk everything.