June was Pride Month and when we consider this topic and relevant books, it’s good to have first-hand recommendations from someone in the community. Over on Instagram, we have many wonderful and varied bookish friends, and one of these lovely people is James who goes by the Instagram handle of @bookfacejames. We asked James if he could tell us about some of his favourite LGBTQ+ books for younger readers.
‘I am honoured to have been asked by Little English Bookworm to contribute to their blog for Pride Month and talk about books for young children that feature LGBTQ+ families.
The number of amazing children's books in any bookstore is astounding. Wonderful authors such as Julia Donaldson and Oliver Jeffers are huge favourites in our family. You have to look a little harder however to find a book that represents us. Myself and my husband have two beautiful adopted daughters who are aged 1 and 6. Despite 1 in 8 UK adoptions now being same-sex couples (a number which has been steadily increasing) it can be hugely difficult to find things that represent our family – how many fathers' day cards do you see with 'Papa' on?
I am a huge Young Adult fiction fan and there are some fantastic books out there for teenagers who are working out their sexual identity that I wish I could have read when I was younger. Books for younger children however are harder to find.
I am excited to share with you some of the great children's books on offer that include a more diverse range of families. These are perfect not only for people with same-sex parents but also for those wanting to show their children the wonderful diversity in families.
And Tango Makes Three – Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson
A beautiful story based on Roy and Silo – two male penguins at Central Park Zoo. Roy and Silo are given an egg to look after so that they can have a child. This is a wonderful book for introducing same-sex relationships to young children as well as the idea of adoption or surrogacy and can be used as a conversation starter, plus cute penguins!
Daddy, Papa and Me (Mommy, Mama and Me) – Leslea Newman and Carol Thompson
This is one of the very first things we bought for our eldest daughter before we met her and we read it so many times! It’s a simple rhyming story about a family that does lots of fun things together and ends with a very tired Daddy and Papa (huge points for realism here!) Such a simple book but it really helped us in the early days and shows that same-sex families are the same as any other.
The Girl with Two Dads – Mel Elliott
This is a recently re-published book and as soon as I saw it I had to buy it. Pearl makes friends with the new girl at school and they do all the usual fun things together. Pearl realises that Matilda has two dads and asks her where her mum is; the explanation and acceptance on this page is so simple yet so beautiful. When Matilda invites Pearl for tea she is ecstatic as she thinks Matilda's family will be different and more fun, she soon finds out that this is not the case! This book sends a perfect message of all families being the same no matter who is in them as well as demonstrating the acceptance and understanding of children.
As non-traditional families increase in number we will likely see more books enter the market, books like this should also be popping up in primary schools as education around LGBTQ+ relationships and families becomes part of the curriculum.’
Thank you so much James for sharing your favourite titles with us – we of course love those picks too.
To purchase these books or for more book ideas then do get in touch.