We recently received some good news in the United Kingdom. The National Lottery awarded a £500,000 grant to the transgender children’s organization Mermaids. Everyone who cares about transgender children was relieved by this news, as the process of receiving this grant had not been as simple as it should have been. When Mermaids first received the funds, they were the target of a vicious campaign by a tiny but loud number of transphobes, who lodged false complaints against the organization, forcing the National Lottery to examine their grant.
Unfortunately, this isn’t new. Many self-described socialist and feminist critics in the UK media have repeatedly thrown punches at transgender persons, even though they don’t face military prohibitions in the UK. The existence of organizations like Mermaids and the expanding number of children’s literature addressing gender identity provides trans children and their classmates with the support they may not receive from society at large. Gender identification books for kids of all ages can be found in the books listed below.
Are You a Boy or Are You a Girl? by Sarah Savage and Fox Fisher
Colorful illustrations depict Tiny, a youngster who enjoys dressing up and playing games, but isn’t keen on informing people if they’re male or female. With this book, parents can begin discussing gender identification with their kids.
I Am Jazz by Jessica Herthel and Jazz Jennings
I Am Jazz is a terrific book for young children that teaches gender identity and being trans in an easy-to-understand manner based on the experiences of co-author Jazz Jennings. This book is a joy to read thanks to the stunning pictures by Shelagh McNicholas.
Who Are You? The Kids’ Guide to Gender Identity by Brook Pessin-Whedbee
An excellent nonfiction book for children ages 5 and up is this one. A part for parents includes discussion points about the differences between children’s bodies, expression, and identities.
The Gender Wheel: A Story About Bodies and Gender for Every Body by Maya Gonzalez
In this follow-up to Gonzalez’s Gender Now coloring book, the Gender Team, a cast of characters, examine gender identity throughout history and play with gender in language in this picture book. This book deconstructs gender binaries by focusing on a non-Western paradigm of gender.
Gracefully Grayson by Ami Polonsky
Gracefully Grayson is a middle-grade novel about a transgender teen who comes out to her family and friends. In the midst of her fears, Grayson finds a new buddy and a compassionate teacher to lean on.
Lizard Radio by Pat Schmatz
There is a genderqueer protagonist in this young adult dystopian novel, which is a planet where gender roles are even more rigid than we have them here on Earth. This story is a great choice for teenagers who enjoy sci-fi, psychic skills, and strong, defying friendships.
Not Your Villain by C.B. Lee
Young shapeshifter and trans guy Bells is practicing his talents in an effort to establish a name for himself in the League of Heroes in a dystopia that is more subdued (though no less nasty) than that ofLizard Radio. A horrifying cover-up is revealed to Bells, and Bells comes to the conclusion that the villains may actually be on the side of good after all.
Transphobia: Deal With It and Be a Gender Transcender by J. Wallace Skelton
Sadly, transphobia is still a reality for trans people of all ages. To help youngsters of all gender identities recognize and eliminate transphobia in their schools and peer groups, J. Wallace Skelton wrote a nonfiction book.
Introducing Teddy by Jess Walton
Eager to be called Tilly, Errol’s favorite teddy bear, Thomas is eager to be recognized as Tilly in this beautiful story about gender and friendship. This book is sure to become a favorite among young readers, thanks to its endearing message and charming images.
George by Alex Gino
Young trans girl George wants nothing more than to portray Charlotte in her school’s upcoming performance of Charlotte’s Web, but is terrified that she will be unable to do so because others still refer to her as a boy. Some of the grownups in George’s life are bigoted and don’t understand her, but she has the support of her friends.
The Boy and the Bindi by Vivek Shraya
The young protagonist in this picture book becomes enamored with his mother’s bindi. However, instead of forbidding him from donning one, his mother allows him to do so while also explaining the meaning of the accessory in this brief, pleasant, and rhyme-filled tale about individuality and familial ties.
Dreadnought by April Daniels
Danny, a transgender teen who takes on the heroic identity of Dreadnought following the death of the previous Dreadnought, is the star of the Nemesis series’ debut novel. As a result of her superheroic change, Danny now has to cope with transphobic sentiments from her family and friends — while at the same time saving the city from destruction.
Wandering Son by Shimura Takako
The transgender best friends Shuichi and Yoshino are the focus of the first in an eight-part manga series called Wandering Son. This is a terrific book for comic-loving kids, thanks to its adorable visual style and heartfelt content.
Phoenix Goes to School by Michelle Finch
Her new peers may or may not accept her gender identification, which is making Phoenix concerned about attending her new school. Her mother, instructors, and friends help her find a space at school, where she is able to talk about her identity, expression, and who she is with the other students.
When Kathy is Keith by Wallace Wong
One of my favorite children’s books about transgender children follows the story of a little boy who is currently known to his family and friends as Kathy. Even though Keith has to cope with individuals who don’t understand who he truly is, his family and friends help him overcome this obstacle. Very young children will be able to grasp the concepts of gender identity and expression in this picture book because of its simplicity and directness.