46 Inspiring LGBTQIA+ Books For All Different Age Levels


46 Inspiring LGBTQIA+ Books For All Different Age Levels

In honor of Pride month, here is a selection of books that celebrate LGBTQIA+ lives. There has been a growing movement in literature, especially children’s literature, to recognize and celebrate diversity, and as a result, there are excellent new books coming out each year featuring gay, bisexual, transgender, asexual, and nonbinary characters. 

Here are also 5 simple ways you can create an inclusive classroom environment for your LGBTQ+ students.

Just so you know, we may get a small share of the sales made through the links on this page.

Picture books

1. This Day in June

by Gayle E. Pitman and illustrated by Kristyna Litten 

This Day in June LGBTQIA+ Books_ Bored Teachers

Get it HERE.

This rhyming picture book takes young readers to a Pride parade. At the end of the book, a reader’s guide and a note to parents/caregivers helps adult talk to children about LGBTQ families. 

2. Jack (Not Jackie)

by Erica Silverman and illustrated by Holly Hatam

Jack (Not Jackie) _ LGBTQIA+ Books_ Bored Teachers

Get it HERE.

Older sister Susan can’t wait until Jackie is old enough to play fairies and dress up, but as Jackie gets older, Jackie would rather be called Jack. And Jack loves bugs and mud. This is a sweet story about family acceptance. 

3. Julián is a Mermaid

written and illustrated by Jessica Love

Julián is a Mermaid

Get it HERE.

Julián sees three beautiful women dressed as mermaids on the subway, and all he can think about is creating his own extravagant mermaid costume – but he worries what his abuela will think when she finds out.

4. Peanut Goes for the Gold

by Jonathan Van Ness and illustrated by Gillian Reid

Peanut Goes for the Gold _ LGBTQIA+ Books_ Bored Teachers

Get it HERE.

Peanut is a gender nonbinary Guinea pig. Peanut prefers the pronoun they and does everything their own way. The message of the book is to be unapologetically yourself. 

5. Be Amazing: A History of Pride 

by Desmond Napoles and illustrated Dylan Glynn

Be Amazing: A History of Pride

Get it HERE.

In Be Amazing, author Desmond is a 12-year-old drag kid who acts as a tour guide through this history of the people who made the world safe for Desmond to be himself. 

6. Red: A Crayon’s Story

written and illustrated by Michael Hall

Red: A Crayon’s Story _LGBTQIA+ Books_ Bored Teachers

Get it HERE.

This is the story of a blue crayon mistakenly identified as red by his crayon wrapper. His parents and teachers try to help him embrace his redness, but in the end, Red discovers that he loves to be blue!

7. A Family is a Family is a Family 

by Sara O’Leary and illustrated by Qin Leng

A Family is a Family is a Family

Get it HERE.

A teacher asks her students what makes their families special, and the kids in the class all learn that families come in lots of shape and sizes. 

Middle Grade

8. Hurricane Child

by Kacen Callender and Kheryn Callender

Hurricane Child _LGBTQIA+ Books_ Bored Teachers

Get it HERE.

Caroline has lived an unlucky life on St. Thomas of the U.S. Virgin Islands, but her luck changes when Kalinda moves to town. Caroline is bullied by everyone else, but Kalinda becomes her only friend and eventually her first crush. 

9. Ivy Aberdeen’s Letter to the World

by Ashley Herring Blake

Ivy Aberdeen’s Letter to the World LGBTQIA+ Books_ Bored Teachers

Get it HERE.

12-year-old Ivy Aberdeen’s life is turned upside down when a tornado wrecks her home. Ivy worries about what will happen if her missing journal is discovered – the journal filled with pictures of girls holding hands. 

10. The Moon Within

by Aida Salazar

The Moon Within LGBTQIA+ Books_ Bored Teachers

Get it HERE.

The Moon Within is Celi Rivera’s story, but it is about the way young people feel about the changes their bodies are going through. Celi is 12 and expecting her period, but she dreads the traditional moon ceremony her mother has planned. Celi’s best friend explores what it means to be gender fluid, and Celi’s crush, Ivan, isn’t so accepting of gender fluidity. 

11. The Prince and the Dressmaker

by Jen Wang

The Prince and the Dressmaker  LGBTQIA+ Books_ Bored Teachers

Get it HERE.

Prince Sebastian has a secret – by night, he is the fabulous Lady Crystallia, a fashion icon who wears the most fantastic dresses. Frances, Sebastian’s dressmaker, is the only one in on the secret. She longs to show her fashion designer talent to the world but doesn’t want to betray her friend’s confidence. 

12. Drumroll Please

by Lisa Jenn Bigelow

Drumroll Please

Get it HERE.

Melly’s best friend badgers her into joining the band, but to Melly’s surprise, she loves playing the drums. She finds herself rocking out at summer camp and falling for another girl. This novel teaches readers to quite literally march to their own beat. 

13. The Pants Project

by Cat Clarke

The Pants Project  LGBTQIA+ Books_ Bored Teachers

Get it HERE.

Liv, who knows deep inside he was meant to be a boy, makes it his mission to change the school’s dress code, which currently forces him to wear a skirt. 

14. Zenobia July

by Lisa Bunker

Zenobia July  LGBTQIA+ Books_ Bored Teachers

Get it HERE.

Zenobia moves from Arizona to Maine where she is able to live life as the girl she knows she is meant to be, instead of the boy everyone tells her she is. 

Young Adult novels

15. This is kind of an epic love story

by Kacen Callendar

This is kind of an epic love story  LGBTQIA+ Books_ Bored Teachers

Get it HERE.

Nate plays it safe. He knows there’s no such thing as happy endings in the world of romance. That is, until his childhood best friend, Ollie, moves back to town. 

16. Like a Love Story 

by Abdi Nazemian 

Like a Love Story  LGBTQIA+ Books_ Bored Teachers

Get it HERE.

Set in 1989 in New York City, Like a Love Story follows the lives of three teenagers: Reza, who is gay but who also knows the world only sees gay men through the “men with AIDS” stereotype, Judy, whose Uncle Stephen has AIDS, and Art, who rebels against his conservative parents by documenting the AIDS crisis through his photographs.

17. What if it’s us 

by Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera 

What if it’s us  LGBTQIA+ Books_ Bored Teachers

Get it HERE.

Arthur and Ben have a feeling the universe keeps pushing them together, but in rom-com worthy style, they can’t quite seem to get their first date right. 

18. They both die in the end

by Adam Silvera

They both die in the end  LGBTQIA+ Books_ Bored Teachers

Get it HERE.

In a futuristic world, Death-Cast calls you at midnight on the day you will die. You don’t know how you will die, just that it will happen sometime in the next 24 hours. Two teens, Rufus and Mateo both get the call. They spend their last day together thanks to an app called Last Friend. (And, sort-of spoiler alert – they do both die in the end). 

19. Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda

by Becky Albertalli 

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda  LGBTQIA+ Books_ Bored Teachers

Get it HERE.

Simon is gay but in the closet. His secret falls into the wrong hands and he has to find a way to step out of his comfort zone and into the spotlight. 

20. Leah on the Offbeat 

by Becky Albertalli 

Leah on the Offbeat  LGBTQIA+ Books_ Bored Teachers

Get it HERE.

In this sequel to Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda, Leah Burke struggles to tell her friends she is bisexual. On top of that, the end of school is approaching, and with it, her previously solid friend group starts to fracture. 

21. The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue

by Mackenzi Lee

 LGBTQIA+ Books_ Bored Teachers

Get it HERE.

18th century British lord Henry “Monty” Montague is a bit of a disaster. He loves a life of debauchery, seducing both men and women and consuming heroic amounts of alcohol. Monty is expected to take over his father’s business and is sent on a tour of the continent by said father, so he can get the hedonism out of his system. 

22. The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy

by Mackenzi Lee

The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy  LGBTQIA+ Books_ Bored Teachers

Get it HERE.

In this sequel to The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue, Monty’s sister Felicity gets top billing. Felicity lives in a man’s world but she rejects society’s role. Instead of desiring to be a mother and a wife, Felicity wants to be a doctor. What makes Felicity quite unique in the world of YA is that she doesn’t pursue romance of any kind, making her a rare asexual character. 

23. The Disasters

by M. K. England

The Disasters  LGBTQIA+ Books_ Bored Teachers

Get it HERE.

In this sci-fi adventure, Nax is kicked out of the Ellis Station Academy after a stunningly short 24 hours. He is sent back to earth in disgrace along with three other teens, but on the way they witness a terrorist attack. The four teens take great risks to tell the truth. The cast of characters is diverse, featuring bisexual and trans individuals, though their sexuality is not the focus of this story.

24. We Set the Dark on Fire 

by Tehlor Kay Mejia 

 LGBTQIA+ Books_ Bored Teachers

Get it HERE.

In this dystopian thriller, Daniela Vargas is the star student at the Medio School for Girls where students are trained to be wives and mothers. Dani is recruited as a resistance spy and falls in love – a love that, in her society, is deeply forbidden. 

25. The Meaning of Birds

by Jaye Robin Brown

The Meaning of Birds  LGBTQIA+ Books_ Bored Teachers

Get it HERE.

Jess meets Vivi who becomes her muse and girlfriend. But when Vivi dies, Jess’ world spirals out of control and she abandons the art which had previously been her saving grace. 

26. Love and Other Curses

by Michael Thomas Ford

Love and Other Curses  LGBTQIA+ Books_ Bored Teachers

Get it HERE.

Sam Weyward knows his family is cursed – if he falls in love with someone before his 17th birthday, his lover will die. He spends the weeks before he turns 17 dressing in drag, working with his dad, and spending time with his grandmother. Then, a new guy comes to town, and Sam feels himself falling. 

27. Sawkill Girls

by Claire LeGrand

Sawkill Girls

Get it HERE.

On the island of Sawkill Rock, a monster preys on young girls. No one has been brave enough to fight – until now. Sawkill girls mixes coming of age lesbian romance with intense suspense. 

28. You Don’t Live Here 

by Robyn Schneider 

You Don’t Live Here

Get it HERE.

Sasha is only in high school, but her grandparents are pointing her toward law school – and a relationship with a boy from a good family, a boy like Cole Edwards. But Sasha is more interested in Lily Chen.  

29. Stay Gold

by Tobly McSmith

Stay Gold

Get it HERE.

Pony, who came out as transgender at his old school, starts fresh at Hillcrest High, hoping for a senior year that allows him to fly under the radar. Georgia similarly promises herself to keep a low profile, but when the two lock eyes on the first day of school…well, the rest is history.

30. I’ll Be the One

by Lyla Lee

I’ll Be the One

Get it HERE.

Skye is a bisexual Korean-American girl who dreams of becoming a K-pop star. She does this under the intense scrutiny of a reality tv show and comes under fire for being overweight. The book has a very body-positive message. 

31. The Falling in Love Montage

by Ciara Smith

The Falling in Love Montage

Get it HERE.

Ruby and Saorise embark on a summer of movie-montage worthy dates in this fun, lighthearted romantic comedy.

32. Felix Ever After

by Kacen Calledar

Felix Ever After

Get it HERE.

Felix Love is black, queer, and transgender. He wants to fall in love more than anything but fears that he will never find a partner who accepts him. At a competitive summer arts program, Felix is the butt of cruel bullying when someone posts pictures of him before his transition. 

33. The Fascinators 

by Andrew Eliopulos

The Fascinators

Get it HERE.

Sam, and his best friends James and Delia, are in an amateur magic club. As Sam realizes he might have feelings for James, he starts to notice cracks between the friendships. 

34. The Black Flamingo

by Dean Atta

The Black Flamingo

Get it HERE.

The Black Flamingo is a novel in verse about Michael, who is Greek-Cypriot and Jamaican and gay. Michael struggles to find where he fits in – until he finds the Drag Society.

35. The Gravity of Us

by Phil Stamper

The Gravity of Us

Get it HERE.

Cal is the son of an astronaut chosen for a mission to Mars, which lands the family in Houston smack in the middle of a media circus. Cal meets the son of another astronaut, Leon, and the two fall hard for each other.

36. The Dangerous Art of Blending In 

by Angelo Surmelis 

The Dangerous Art of Blending In

Get it HERE.

Evan wants to escape his mother’s expectations and abuse. He turns to his best friend, Henry, who is suddenly interested in more than friendship.

37. Surrender Your Sons

by Adam Sass

Surrender Your Sons

Get it HERE.

When Connor comes out to his mother, she sends him to conversion therapy. It quickly becomes clear that the conversion therapy camp staff are dangerous, and Connor decides to take them down. 

38. Sissy A Coming of Gender Story

by Jacob Tobia

Sissy A Coming of Gender Story

Get it HERE.

This is Jacob Tobia’s memoir. As a child, Jacob didn’t want to conform to a single-gender standard – they wanted to play with bugs and barbies. Jacob was labeled as sissy for expressing their feminine side. This memoir tells their story.

39. We Contain Multitudes

by Sara Henstra

We Contain Multitudes

Get it HERE.

Kurl and Jonathan become pen pals after a class assignment, and this novel of letters tells the story of their friendship which blossoms into more.

40. I Wish you all the best

by Mason Dever

I Wish you all the best

Get it HERE.

Ben comes out as nonbinary and is thrown out of his house by his parents. Ben retreats into themselves, until Nathan takes Ben under his wing at school. The relationship between Ben and Nathan grows into something more. 

41. The Song of Achilles

by Madeline Miller

The Song of Achilles

Get it HERE.

This story is part myth, part original work. It’s a retelling of the Trojan War era with a focus on the love story between Patroclus and Achilles. 

Nonfiction

42. The 57 Bus

by Dashka Slater

The 57 Bus

Get it HERE.

This work of journalism follows two teenagers – Sasha and Richard. One day, Sasha, who is white and middle class, is asleep on the city bus in a skirt they like to wear. Richard, who is poor and black, lights Sasha’s skirt on fire, resulting in severe burns all over Sasha’s body. International outrage is sparked, and Richard is charged with two hate crimes. A multitude of social justice issues are discussed in this must-read.

43. Queer There and Everywhere: 23 People Who Changed the World

by Sarah Prager and illustrated by Zoe More O’Ferrall

Queer There and Everywhere: 23 People Who Changed the World

Get it HERE.

This is a great collection of 23 stories about gay, queer, bisexual, and transgender individuals who changed the world. It’s highly accessible, entertaining, and often funny.

44. A Queer History of the United States for Young People

by Michael Bronski

A Queer History of the United States for Young People LGBTQIA+ Books_ Bored Teachers

Get it HERE.

This is a young adult adaptation of Bronski’s book A Queer History of the United States. It looks at US history through the lens of the queer movement, demonstrating the cultural impact that historical figures both well-known and unknown have had on the queer movement. 

45. Tomorrow Will Be Different: Love, Loss, and the Fight for Trans Equality

by Sarah McBride

Tomorrow Will Be Different: Love, Loss, and the Fight for Trans Equality

Get it HERE.

Sarah McBride was the first openly transgender person to speak at a national political convention when she spoke at the Democratic National Convention in 2016. Tomorrow Will Be Different is her memoir. It details her youth, her career in politics, and her own love story.

46. The Book Of Pride: LGBTQ Heroes Who Changed the World

by Mason Funk

The Book Of Pride: LGBTQ Heroes Who Changed the World  LGBTQIA+ Books_ Bored Teachers

Get it HERE.

Starting in the 1960s and covering the next fifty years, this book looks at the activists and revolutionaries who characterize the gay rights movement. 

Other book lists from Amy’s bookshelf you’ll love:

46 Inspiring LGBTQIA+ Books For All Different Age Levels

Like it? Share with your friends!

2.1k shares
AuthorAmy

Legend

I am an unrepentant lover of words - and lucky me, I spend all day, every day immersed in them. When I'm not teaching, I'm reading. Or writing. Or teaching eager (and sometimes not-so-eager) adolescents about the power of the written word. I live on the scenic Oregon Coast with my dog, two cats, and five-year-old son.

Choose A Format
Article
Share your amazing stories, tips, opinions, and other stuff that matters.
Video
Upload your funny, inspiring, DIY, or informative video(s) for the world to see!
Personality quiz
Leave the serious quizzes at school, these are strictly fun! You make the questions and pre-define the results.
Trivia quiz
Time to test your friends' knowledge! You choose the subject and have fun seeing who scores the highest!
Poll
Pose any question to millions of educators by creating your own polls/surveys, whether for research, for fun, or for the sake of curiosity!
Photo
Share your classroom decor, costumes, funny classroom antics, silly grading moments, or other teacher life shenanigans!