The best books to teach children, teenagers and young adults about acceptance and diversity this LGBT History Month

Bishop’s Stortford College Prep School librarian Lizzie Hall writes on the magic of storytelling …

Dear Reader. February is the month of LGBT history. Books with lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender characters are important to children for many reasons.

When a child reads a story and is on the pages, the ramifications are profound.

Books provide a safe space for children and let them know that they are not alone with their feelings.

Above all, these books promote acceptance and diversity.

Here are some suggestions for reading LGBT …

For younger readers

Julian is a mermaid from Jessica Love

One day when Julian is taking the subway home with his Nana, he notices three women who are spectacularly dressed.

Her hair swirls in bright colors, her clothes end in fish tails and her joy fills the train carriage.

Julian is a mermaid by Jessica Love (44164554)Julian is a mermaid by Jessica Love (44164554)

When Julian comes home and dreams of the magic he’s seen, all he can think of is dressing up like the ladies and making his own fabulous mermaid costume.

But what will Nana think of the mess he’s wreaking, and, more importantly, what will she think of how Julian sees himself?

Proud: The Story of Harvey Milk and the Rainbow Flag by Rob Sanders and Steven Salamo

This is the very first picture book on the remarkable and inspiring story of the Gay Pride flag.

In this deeply moving and powerful true story, young readers will trace the life of the Gay Pride flag from its beginnings in 1978 with social activist Harvey Milk and designer Gilbert Baker, to its worldwide spread and role in today’s world.

The sweeping text by award-winning author Rob Sanders and striking images by acclaimed illustrator Steven Salerno combine to tell this remarkable and little-told story of love, hope, equality and pride.

Pride: The Story of Harvey Milk and the Rainbow Flag by Rob Sanders and Steven Salamo (44164562)Pride: The Story of Harvey Milk and the Rainbow Flag by Rob Sanders and Steven Salamo (44164562)

And Tango does three by Justin Richardson

This is a heartwarming true story of two penguins who form a non-traditional partnership.

In the Penguin House at Central Park Zoo, two penguins named Roy and Silo were a little different from the others. But her desire for a family was the same.

And with the help of a friendly zookeeper, Roy and Silo had the opportunity to welcome their own baby penguin.

And Tango Does Three by Justin RIchardson (44164556)And Tango Does Three by Justin RIchardson (44164556)

For older readers

Two weeks with the Queen by Morris Gleitzman

“I have to see the queen because of my sick brother.”

Colin Mudford is on a quest. His brother Luke has cancer and the doctors in Australia seem unable to cure him.

Colin is sent to London to stay with relatives. He’s dying to do something to help Luke. He wants to find the best doctor in the world. Where better to start than to go upstairs? Colin is determined to seek advice from the Queen.

In Morris Gleitzman’s trademark style, this very moving story highlights deeply serious issues of illness and loss with bright moments of humor.

Two weeks with the Queen by Morris Gleitzman (44164566)Two weeks with the Queen by Morris Gleitzman (44164566)

Starring Kitty by Keris Stainton

Kitty keeps secrets. For example, how she copes with her mother’s illness. And how she falls in love with the girl with the purple hair.

A fun movie competition with her friends Sunny and Hannah seems like the perfect distraction. But then Dylan wants to be more than Kitty’s secret.

Is Kitty ready to let her two worlds meet, or is she risking losing Dylan forever?

Starring Kitty by Keris Stainton (44164552)Starring Kitty by Keris Stainton (44164552)

The boy in the David Walliams dress

Dennis was different.

Why was he different you ask? Well, a little hint might be in the title of this book …

The Boy in the Dress is surprising and hilarious and the amazing first book by David Walliams. Guaranteed to touch everyone’s hearts and funny bones.

The Boy in the Dress by David Walliams (44164558)The Boy in the Dress by David Walliams (44164558)

For teenagers and young adults

Every day by David Levithan

Every morning A wakes up in a different body.

There is never a warning about who it will be, but A is used to it. Never be too clingy. Avoid getting noticed. Do not bother.

And that’s fine until A wakes up in Justin’s body and meets Justin’s friend Rhiannon. From that moment on, the rules by which A lived no longer apply.

Because after all, A has found someone he wants to be with every day.

Everyday by David Levithan (44164564)Everyday by David Levithan (44164564)

We’re all made of molecules by Susin Neilson

Meet Stewart. He’s geeky, talented, and sees things a little differently than most people.

His mother has died and he misses her all the more now that he and Dad moved in with Ashley and her mother.

Meet Ashley. She’s popular, cool, and sees things very differently from her new family.

Your father came out and moved out – but not far enough. And now she has to live with a freakazoid stepbrother.

Stewart doesn’t quite fit into his new school, and Ashley can’t quite get used to her completely uncomfortable home, which is now filled with rather questionable decor.

And things will get mixed up a lot when these two very different people get Jared’s attention.

We're All Made of Molecules by Susin Neilson (44164560)We’re All Made of Molecules by Susin Neilson (44164560)

The black flamingo by Dean Atta

It’s not about being ready, it’s not even about being wild or fearless, it’s about being free.

Michael waits in the wings of the stage wearing a pink wig, a pink fluffy coat and black heels. In a further step, it is illuminated in the spotlight.

He’s been on a journey of bravery to get here and he’s almost ready to show himself off to the world in bold colors.

Can he act as a black flamingo?

The black flamingo by Dean Atta (44164568)The black flamingo by Dean Atta (44164568)

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