There are a number of things we can do at home to work against the impacts of commercialism on our kids, for a more just world. Supporting children in celebrating their own and others’ gender identity and expression as well as the beautiful diversity of family structures is one way to do so!
Experts suggest that parents be proactive about talking to your children about gender identity. Chances are, if you’re not already talking to them about it (even as toddlers), they’re thinking about it anyway! This resource offers some scripts and suggested responses to your child’s natural curiosities. Plus, there are also many ways for us to increase gender inclusion in our schools.
One tool for conversation is BOOKS! Especially for young children, books with pictures are launching pads for discussion, critical thinking, and connection. Find books at the library or stock your home with books where kids can see themselves reflected and also see the beautiful diversity of gender expression and sexuality in our world. Here are some of our favorite books celebrating the rainbow of identity!
When a teacher asks the children in her class to think about what makes their families special, the answers are all different in many ways — but the same in the one way that matters most of all. One child is worried that her family is just too different to explain, but listens as her classmates talk about what makes their families special. One is raised by a grandmother, and another has two dads. One has many stepsiblings, and another has a new baby in the family. As her classmates describe who they live with and who loves them — family of every shape, size and every kind of relation — the child realizes that as long as her family is full of caring people, it is special.
A warm and whimsical look at many types of families, written by award-winning author Sara O’Leary, with quirky and sweet illustrations by Qin Leng.
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 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 a 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? Mesmerizing and full of heart, Jessica Love’s author-illustrator debut is a jubilant picture of self-love and a radiant celebration of individuality.
When Aidan was born, everyone thought he was a girl. His parents gave him a pretty name, his room looked like a girl’s room, and he wore clothes that other girls liked wearing. After he realized he was a trans boy, Aidan and his parents fixed the parts of life that didn’t fit anymore, and he settled happily into his new life.
Then Mom and Dad announce that they’re going to have another baby, and Aidan wants to do everything he can to make things right for his new sibling from the beginning—from choosing the perfect name to creating a beautiful room to picking out the cutest onesie. But what does “making things right” actually mean? And what happens if he messes up? With a little help, Aidan comes to understand that mistakes can be fixed with honesty and communication, and that he already knows the most important thing about being a big brother: how to love with his whole self.
When Aidan Became a Brother is a heartwarming book that will resonate with transgender children, reassure any child concerned about becoming an older sibling, and celebrate the many transitions a family can experience.
In a wildly whimsical, validating, and exuberant reflection of the LGBT community, this title welcomes readers to experience a pride celebration and share in a day when we are all united. Also included is a reading guide chock-full of facts about LGBT history and culture, as well as a ‘Note to Parents and Caregivers’ with information on how to talk to children about sexual orientation and gender identity in age-appropriate ways.
Once upon a time, in a kingdom far from here, there was a prince in line to take the throne, so his parents set out to find him a kind and worthy bride. The three of them traveled the land far and wide, but the prince didn’t quite find what he was looking for in the princesses they met.
While they were away, a terrible dragon threatened their land, and all the soldiers fled. The prince rushed back to save his kingdom from the perilous beast and was met by a brave knight in a suit of brightly shining armor. Together they fought the dragon and discovered that special something the prince was looking for all along.
Pink is for boys . . . and girls . . . and everyone! This timely and beautiful picture book rethinks and reframes the stereotypical blue/pink gender binary and empowers kids-and their grown-ups-to express themselves in every color of the rainbow. Featuring a diverse group of relatable characters, Pink Is for Boys invites and encourages girls and boys to enjoy what they love to do, whether it’s racing cars and playing baseball, or loving unicorns and dressing up. Vibrant illustrations help children learn and identify the myriad colors that surround them every day, from the orange of a popsicle, to the green of a grassy field, all the way up to the wonder of a multicolored rainbow.
Plus, there are a number of book lists out there with even more suggestions. Here are a few:
14 Children’s Books Starring Trans or Gender-Nonconforming Kids by Seattle Public Library
We firmly believe that these books should be read year round, not just during the month of June. Enjoy them with your kids whenever the occasion to read comes up!