Take Pride in learning: Children’s book recommendations from a local librarian 

by Dana Giusti
Posted 6/20/24

June is now well known as Pride Month. Young children may see all the colorful excitement, but you may be unsure how to explain it.

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Take Pride in learning: Children’s book recommendations from a local librarian 


June is now well known as Pride Month, celebrating the LGBTQ+ community. Rainbo flags are plentiful around the neighborhood. Young children may see all the colorful excitement and wonder what it’s all about, but you may be unsure how to explain it.

As a children’s librarian, I believe books are one of the best ways kids can build empathy and understanding, as well as connect to the world. Renowned education professor Dr. Rudine Sims Bishop developed the metaphor of books acting as windows, mirrors, and sliding doors: windows into others’ lives; mirrors reflecting your own experiences; and sliding doors through which we can relate to and interact with each other.

By reading about others’ experiences, children gain a better understanding of lives different from their own. By reading stories that reflect their lives, children gain confidence and validation through representation. And, by imagining beyond the window and into the door of a different world, children learn empathy.

There are many age-appropriate books to begin conversations about Pride and its rich history. One of the simplest places to start is the rainbow flag; where did it come from?

The book “Pride Colors" by Robin Stevenson introduces very young children to the colors that make up the flag through photos of queer families alongside rhyming verses affirming unconditional love.

“Rainbow: A First Book of Pride” by Michael Genhart & Anne Passchier is perfect for toddlers. Each color is given a brief explanation of its symbolic meaning within the flag. 

For school-age youngsters, “Sewing the Rainbow: A Story” About Gilbert Baker by Gayle E. Pitman & Holly Clifton-Brown delves into the history of the flag and its creator. Another great choice is “Pride: The Story of Harvey Milk and the Rainbow Flag” by Rob Sanders and Steven Salerno.

Of course, there would be no Pride without the Stonewall riots. 

“Twas the Night Before Pride" by Joanna McClintick & Juana Medina offers young children an age-appropriate explanation on the celebration’s origins, including why Pride Month is in June.

School-age kids can learn more details about the Stonewall riots and the fight for LGBTQ+ rights in “Stonewall : A Building, an Uprising, a Revolution” by Rob Sanders. 

Tweens and young teens can have a sliding door into what it was like living during the time of the uprising in “History Comics: The Stonewall Riots: Making a Stand for LGBTQ Rights” by Archie Bongiovanni and A. Andrews.

In addition to books that provide historical information, there are many books that also affirm LGBTQ+ identities and communities.

“Pride Puppy" by Robin Stevenson & Julie McLaughlin is a joyful romp through a pride parade alongside a queer family and their dog. 

“My Rainbow" by Trinity and DeShanna Neal, and Art Twink features a transgender girl who is unsatisfied with the wig options in the stores. Her mother ends up helping her craft the rainbow wig of her dreams. 

School-age children will enjoy “This Is Our Rainbow: 16 Stories of Her, Him, Them, and Us.” Edited by Katherine Locke & Nicole Melleby, it is a widely representative collection of short stories about kids just being kids.  

Thankfully, there has been an explosion of LGBTQ+ children’s books published in recent years. These book suggestions act as a jumping-off point for conversations that should continue year-round (and not just in June).  All children deserve to see themselves and their experiences reflected in books. Additionally, kids reading about lives and families different from their own can develop compassion & understanding through these stories. We must read widely and often to our children to prepare them to create a better future for all. And, as we read alongside the young people in our lives, we learn a lot too.

To see what else is available, stop by your local library and ask your librarian for help finding more.