For those who saw my speech yesterday about "Raising Gender-Conscious Freethinkers", these were my suggested readings from the speech. The next few lists will be posted throughout the week. Enjoy!
Books for Younger Children
My Princess Boy by Charyl Kilodavis
This is a cute book written by the mother of a child who identifies as a boy but still loves to wear dresses and pretty things. And really, what's not to love?
Be Who You Are by Jennifer Carr
This is one of the best books out there to explain what it's like to be transsexual to children. It's from a little trans girl's point of view, and addresses the coming out process and some of the complications placed by society, but ultimately has a happy ending.
10,000 Dresses by Marcus Ewert
The artwork in this book is absolutely gorgeous! It's about a child who dreams about creating and wearing beautiful dresses, but is told upon waking that "Dresses are for girls." The gender of the child is a little more ambiguous, which is great because most gender-variant children don't really "decide" until they're older.
William's Doll by Charlotte Zolotow
This may be one of my favorites. I must admit it made me cry the first time I read it because it hits so close to home for me. Through the book William asks each family member for a doll, but instead gets other toys like footballs and trucks. Finally, his grandmother gets him a doll, because she gives zero fucks about gender norms and gets on to William's dad for his behavior. Reminds me of the doll my Aunt Carole gave me when I was 5.
The Paper Bag Princess by Robert Munsch
I have not personally read this one, but I hear nothing but good things about it. It's nice to have some princesses out there who actually do something!
It's Not the Stork! by Robie Harris
It's So Amazing! by Robie Harris
This book and it's sister books, It's So Amazing! and It's Perfectly Normal are possibly the best books you could get to teach your child about sex and the human body. My only complaint is that while the series do include sexual orientation and masturbation (at the appropriate stages, mind you) they don't really touch on intersex bodies or transgender identities. However, I would still wholeheartedly recommend these books.
The Different Dragon by Jennifer Bryan
Not only does this book touch on masculinity issues from the story of a dragon who doesn't want to be fierce anymore, but it also features lesbian parents in an inobtrusive way. It's not about the dragon having two moms, he just so happens to have two moms. I love this!
And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson
This book is adorable and is based on a true story of two Central Park Zoo penguins who wanted to have a baby. Not only does this story touch on gay parents, but it also touches on adoption which is important to me as someone who plans to adopt in the future. Plus you can use it to discuss how homosexuality is extremely common in the animal kingdom.
The Family Book by Todd Parr
It took some adjusting for me to adjust to Todd Parr's art style, but I know kids love it because it looks like something they could draw and it's super colorful. The Family Book talks about all the different kinds of families out there and that the one thing that matters is that they love each other. It's silly and fun and kids will love it.
It's Okay to Be Different by Todd Parr
This one is also by Todd Parr, but has a more general message that we're all weird. And it's okay to be weird. In fact, it's fantastic to be weird. Again, the bright artwork and easy story and great for young kids and it's a silly book to enjoy.
The Princess Knight by Cornelia Funke
Again, I'm not certain why every female protagonist needs to be a princess these days, but at least she's wearing something practical. This story turns typical gender roles on their head and is generally just a fun adventure book.
King and King by Linda de Haan
King and King is pretty hilarious in parts. The Queen keeps harping on her son to find a princess to marry, to which her son winks "I've never liked princesses much." A series of princesses are brought to the castle, none of which interest the Prince until he meets Princess Madeline, and more importantly her brother Prince Lee. The book ends with a "very special" wedding and the acceptance of their families. Inclusive, but with a sense of humor. And don't forget about the sequel King and King and Family.
Sometimes the Spoon Runs Away With Another Spoon by Jacinta Bunnell
This is my favorite coloring book ever! The publishers also have a feminist coloring book Girls Are Not Chicks and an older queer coloring book Boys Will Be Girls Will Be Boys, but Spoon is the best put together of the three. One of my favorite pages has to be the princess kissing a frog with thought bubbles that read, "I hope it's another princess! I hope it's another princess!" You're going to love coloring these pages as much, if not more, than your kids.