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Celebrating Canada's 2SLGBTQI+ Communities

12 2SLGBTQI+-Friendly Books You’ll Want To Read With Kids

This collection of 2SLGBTQI+-friendly picture books for storytime introduces children to important figures from history, features characters that live in diverse families, and celebrates self-expression and individuality

The news cycle throughout the past few months has been dominated by voices both for and against 2SLGBTQI+ education and, in some provinces, new pronoun policies in schools. 

To bring the conversations home with little ones, consider reading one of these 12 picture books for storytime. With charming illustrations and engaging text, they reflect on the power of love for all, introduce children to important figures from history in a digestible manner, feature characters that live in diverse families, and celebrate self-expression and individuality.

Red: A Crayon’s Story
By Michael Hall
(Suggested for ages 4 to 8)

This adorable picture book tells the story of a crayon labelled Red. But try as he might, he can only draw the colour blue. His crayon friends and teachers think that Red just needs more practice. The art supplies try to help; the masking tape holds Red together and the sharpener tries to make him sharper. But in the end, Red happily realizes that he was just mislabelled, and that he is really Blue.

Kai’s Tea Eggs
By Karina Zhou
(Suggested for ages 3 to 7)

Nineteen-year-old Vancouver author Karina Zhou’s just-released Kai’s Tea Eggs is a sensitively told story about a young Chinese girl named Kai who learns more about her family’s heritage and gains a better appreciation for who she is. The beautifully illustrated children’s book is a charming story for anyone who, like Kai, has felt the frustration of trying to fit in before finally learning to appreciate who they are.

My Two Dads and Me
By Michael Joosten and Izak Zenou
(Suggested for ages 0 to 3)

In this little board book for toddlers, children with two dads happily go about their day, starting with a yummy breakfast, playing with blocks, and finishing the night with a bubble bath and lullaby.

Prince & Knight
By Daniel Haack and Stevie Lewis
(Suggested for ages 4 to 8)

In traditional fairy tale fashion, this book begins “once upon a time” when a prince’s parents start searching for a bride for their son. But instead, the prince falls in love with the brave knight who fights by his side.

Julián is a Mermaid
By Jessica Love
(Suggested for ages 4 to 8)

In this book celebrating individuality and self-expression, little Julián spots three women dressed as glamorous mermaids on the bus. When he gets home, he is eager to dress up like a mermaid too. But what will his Abuela think?

Pride: The Story of Harvey Milk and the Rainbow Flag
By Rob Sanders and Steven Salerno
(Suggested for ages 5 to 8)

This picture book, inspired by the life and legacy of Harvey Milk, opens with a man lying in the sun daydreaming that one day, “everyone – even gay people – would have equality.” The book proceeds to recount Milk’s path to activism and later political office, and his role in the design of the rainbow flag, in an easy-to-digest and hopeful story for children.

Pink is for Boys
By Robb Pearlman and Eda Kaban
(Suggested for ages 6 to 8)

In this picture book, girls can like blue and boys can like pink. And even more than that: girls can race cars and boys can play dress-up. This sweet story encourages children to express themselves beyond traditional gender binaries.

Love the World
By Todd Parr
(Suggested for ages 3 to 6)

This book for preschoolers celebrates love for all creatures, people and objects. Using whimsical drawings and rhymes, it teaches children to go into the world with kindness, love and empathy for all.

Minnow: The Girl Who Became Part Fish
By Willie Poll
(Suggested for ages 6 to 10)

In this tale, a young Indigenous water protector named Minnow goes on an underwater journey, learning from our ocean-living relatives. This children’s book (available in hardcover and softcover) is told in lyrical rhyme and helps children gain a better respect for Indigenous water and land protectors, the environment and the world around them; and helps show children activism at an early age.

The Important Thing About Margaret Wise Brown
By Mac Barnett and Sarah Jacoby
(Suggested for ages 4 to 8)

This picture book tells the true story of Margaret Wise Brown, the author behind children’s classics such as Goodnight Moon and The Runaway Bunny, who brought joy to generations of nurseries. Over the course of 42 pages of text and whimsical watercolour illustrations, this book covers important parts of Margaret’s 42 years of life, discussing her childhood, her work as an author, the time she fell in love with a man named Pebble and a woman named Michael, and the pets she had.

Princess Puffybottom…and Darryl
By Susin Nielsen and Olivia Chin Mueller
(Suggested for ages 3 to 7)

Everything is going well for Princess Puffybottom, a pampered kitten with two loving and attentive owners (who are depicted, in the background to the story, as a lesbian couple), until an intruder arrives: a silly new puppy named Darryl. The story follows as Princess Puffybottom eventually learns to welcome this newest member of the family.

From the Stars in the Sky to the Fish in the Sea
By Kai Cheng Thom and Kai Yun Ching
(Suggested for ages 3 to 8)

In this book, a child is born to a loving and accepting mother. Because they are born in the moment right between night and day, they cannot decide whether they are a girl or a boy, a bird or a fish, or a flower or shooting star. Instead of choosing just one, this shape-shifting child continues to evolve and grow.

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1 Comment

    Blair Smith / 01 December 2023

    Also an excellent book for young children is Danny Ramadan’s “Salma Writes A Book, the latest in a series.


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