by Powell's Staff, March 31, 2022 9:25 AM
This year for International Transgender Day of Visibility, we have a booklist all about supporting and celebrating transgender and gender-nonconforming youth and their families. Here are euphoric picture books, body books for every body, inclusive reads for families, magical worlds, slices of life, romance, thrills, and joy recommended by the booksellers at Powell's.
Every child deserves to see themselves uplifted and cherished in literature, at home, and in their community. In the midst of hostile, damaging, and sobering legislation across the country (take a look at this comprehensive list from the ACLU of legislation affecting LGBTQ rights across the country to learn more) we strive to keep our shelves, recommendations, and stores welcoming and safe for all readers.
Beyond books, here are some resources to stand up for and support trans youth across the country:
It Feels Good to Be Yourself: A Book About Gender Identity
by Theresa Thorn and Noah Grigni
A picture book that introduces the concept of gender identity to the youngest reader. Some people are boys. Some people are girls. Some people are both, neither, or somewhere in between.
“Colorful, straightforward, and welcoming. A perfect introduction to gender identity for young readers and their families.” — Sarah R.
You Be You!: The Kid's Guide to Gender, Sexuality, and Family
by Jonathan Branfman
An educational children's book that makes gender identity, romantic orientation, and family diversity easy to explain to children. Charming illustrations help children engage with concepts such as intersectionality, discrimination, privilege and allyship in a comprehensible and respectful manner.
“A wonderful, validating introduction to a myriad of topics with simple and accessible language and cute illustrations. Perfect for kids and families looking for language to describe complicated feelings and ideas.” — Sarah R.
by JR Ford, Vanessa Ford, and Kayla Harren
In this joyful and impactful picture book, a transgender boy prepares for the first day of school and introduces himself to his family and friends for the first time.
“Full of SO MUCH LOVE. Calvin introduces himself to family, friends, and teachers and has his nerves met with an outpouring of support and affirmation.” — Sarah R.
The Spectacular Suit
by Kat Patrick and Hayley Wells
It's almost Frankie's birthday and everything is ready — except for something to wear. All of her party dresses feel wrong. Her family tries to help, but it's no good. What Frankie longs for is a suit. A spectacular suit...
“Spoilers, this one does ultimately feature a truly spectacular suit. A quest to plan the perfect party and a heartwarming tale that can serve as an excellent conversation starter for kids and adults to talk gender identity and presentation.” — Sarah R.
by DeShanna Neal, Trinity Neal, and Art Twink
A dedicated mom puts love into action as she creates the perfect rainbow-colored wig for her transgender daughter, based on the real-life experience of mother-daughter advocate duo Trinity and DeShanna Neal.
“An uplifting family story that celebrates self-expression and emphasizes listening, loving, and seeing.” — Sarah R.
From the Stars in the Sky to the Fish in the Sea
by Kai Cheng Thom, Kai Yun Ching, and Wai-Yant Li
Miu Lan is not just any child, but one who can change into any shape they can imagine. The only problem is they can’t decide what to be: A boy or a girl? A bird or a fish? A flower or a shooting star?
“Captivating, accepting, and gentle, this is a perfect fable for gender non-conforming kids and their loved ones.” — Sarah R.
When Aidan Became a Brother
by Kyle Lukoff and Kaylani Juanita
Winner of the 2020 Stonewall Book Award!
This sweet picture book celebrates the changes in a transgender boy's life, from his initial coming out to becoming a big brother.
“Perfect for kiddos who are questioning their gender, kiddos about to become big siblings, or anyone who wants to feel warm fuzzies about creating a world where children are celebrated for being exactly themselves.” — Madeline S.
Obie Is Man Enough
by Schuyler Bailar
Obie knew his transition would have ripple effects. He has to leave his swim coach, his pool, and his best friends. But it’s time for Obie to find where he truly belongs.
"A heartfelt coming-of-age tale about a young trans athlete; readers will be rooting for every one of Obie’s wins, in and out of the pool.” — School Library Journal
by Alex Gino
BE WHO YOU ARE.
When people look at Melissa, they think they see a boy named George. But she knows she's not a boy. She knows she's a girl.
“This brilliant and important book reinvigorated the genre of LGBTQ+ books for middle readers, particularly titles exploring gender identity. Originally published as George, the book was retitled this year to reflect the chosen name of its protagonist. On the subject, nonbinary author Gino says: 'The title of my book makes it seem as though it is ever okay to use an old name for a person when they have provided you with a different name that works better for them. I want to be clear — it isn't.'" — Madeline S.
The Deep & Dark Blue
by Niki Smith
After a terrible political coup usurps their noble house, Hawke and Grayson flee to stay alive and assume new identities, Hanna and Grayce. While Hawke wants to return to his old life, Grayce struggles to keep the threads of her new life from unraveling, and realizes she wants to stay in the one place that will allow her to finally live as a girl.
"This middle reader graphic novel gives off big Alanna the Lioness vibes, which is about as high a compliment as I can pay anything. Adventure, self-discovery, sibling bonds, and enchanting world-building" — Sarah R.
Felix Ever After
by Kacen Callender
From Stonewall and Lambda Award-winning author Kacen Callender comes a revelatory YA novel about a transgender teen grappling with identity and self-discovery while falling in love for the first time.
"I highly recommend this book for everyone, but especially demigender folks and trans young adults who have been waiting for a young adult fiction experience that they can relate to." — Rin S.
Boys Run the Riot
by Keito Gaku
A transgender teen named Ryo finds an escape from the expectations and anxieties of his daily life in the world of street fashion.
A Best Books for Teens 2021 selection from the New York Public Library. This is an award winning 4-volume manga about escaping expectations, finding yourself, and finding ways to show yourself to the world.
by Akwaeke Emezi
A genre-defying novel from the award-winning author NPR describes as “like [Madeleine] L’Engle…glorious.” A singular book that explores themes of identity and justice. Pet is here to hunt a monster. Are you brave enough to look?
“This absolutely masterful speculative novel, about how to combat injustices when society refuses to admit they could be happening, grabbed me from the first page and still hasn't let me go. A must-read for teens and adults alike.” — Madeline S.
May the Best Man Win
by ZR Ellor
A debut YA novel about a throw-down battle for Homecoming King between a transgender teen and the boy he dumped last summer.
"Fans won’t want to miss this thoughtful lovers-to-enemies-to-lovers high-school dramedy with a romantic core." — Booklist
by Anna-Marie Mclemore
When their older siblings move out, Bastián Silvano has one job: protect the secret world they've all shared since they were children. But when Lore Garcia finds their way in, everything changes.
"McLemore crafts vivid magic that balances scenes of overwhelming, unregulated emotions given life by the lake with soothing, sincere moments of love, self-affirmation, and gentle humor...A beauty both bright and deep." — Kirkus Reviews
A Quick and Easy Guide to Queer and Trans Identities
by Mady G. and J.R. Zuckerberg
Covering essential topics like sexuality, gender identity, coming out, and navigating relationships, this guide explains the spectrum of human experience through informative comics, interviews, worksheets, and imaginative examples.
“As welcoming as it is informative, this joyful guide celebrates both the questions you may have and the answers you might find.” — Keith M.
But that's not all! Check out more recommended reads here