Each of us has a biological sex — whether we are female, male, or intersex. Our gender is our social and legal status as men or women. Gender identity is defined as a personal conception of oneself as male or female (or rarely, both or neither). These books will support parents seeking resources for their children relating to gender identity.
1. 10 000 dresses by Marcus Ewert
Every night, Bailey dreams about magical dresses: dresses made of crystals and rainbows, dresses made of flowers, dresses made of windows. . . . Unfortunately, when Bailey’s awake, no one wants to hear about these beautiful dreams. Quite the contrary. “You’re a BOY!” Mother and Father tell Bailey. “You shouldn’t be thinking about dresses at all.” Then Bailey meets Laurel, an older girl who is touched and inspired by Bailey’s imagination and courage. In friendship, the two of them begin making dresses together. And Bailey’s dreams come true!
This gorgeous picture book—a modern fairy tale about becoming the person you feel you are inside—will delight people of all ages.
2. All I Want To Be Is Me by Phyllis Rothblatt MFT
“All I Want To Be Is Me” is a beautifully illustrated children’s book reflecting thediverse ways that young children experience and express their gender. The book gives voice to the feelings of children who don’t fit into narrow gender stereotypes, and who just want to be free to be themselves. This book is a celebration of all children being who they are, and is a positive reflection of children, wherever they experience themselves on the gender spectrum. “All I Want To Be Is Me” offers a wonderful way for all children to learn about gender diversity, embracing different ways to be, and being a true friend. Visit www.alliwanttobeisme.com to learn more about how this book can be used by parents and teachers, and to hear the original song, “All I Want To Be Is Me”, that goes along with the book.
3. Be Who You Are by Todd Parr
Nick was born in a boy’s body, but has always felt like a girl inside. Nick’s family supports him when he says he no longer wants to be called a boy or dress like a boy; “Always remember to be who you are Nick. Remember that we love you, and we are so proud of you.” (p. 17). Nick’s parents find a group for families like theirs. With their support, Nick expresses a desire to be addressed as “she,” and then to be named “Hope.” Based on the author’s experiences with her children.
4. George by Alex Gino
When people look at George, they think they see a boy. But she knows she’s not a boy. She knows she’s a girl.
George thinks she’ll have to keep this a secret forever. Then her teacher announces that their class play is going to be Charlotte’s Web. George really, really, REALLY wants to play Charlotte. But the teacher says she can’t even try out for the part . . . because she’s a boy.
With the help of her best friend, Kelly, George comes up with a plan. Not just so she can be Charlotte — but so everyone can know who she is, once and for all.
5. Gracefully Grayson by Ami Polonsky
“Tenderly and courageously told, Gracefully Grayson is a small miracle of a book. Its story is so compelling I found myself holding my breath as I read it and so intimate I felt as if what was happening to Grayson was happening to me. Thank you, Ami Polonsky, for creating this memorable character who will open hearts and minds and very possibly be the miracle that changes lives.” -James Howe, award-winning and best-selling author of The Misfits
What if who you are on the outside doesn’t match who you are on the inside?
Grayson Sender has been holding onto a secret for what seems like forever: “he” is a girl on the inside, stuck in the wrong gender’s body. The weight of this secret is crushing, but sharing it would mean facing ridicule, scorn, rejection, or worse. Despite the risks, Grayson’s true self itches to break free. Will new strength from an unexpected friendship and a caring teacher’s wisdom be enough to help Grayson step into the spotlight she was born to inhabit?
Debut author Ami Polonsky’s moving, beautifully-written novel about identity, self-esteem, and friendship shines with the strength of a young person’s spirit and the enduring power of acceptance.
6. I Am Jazz by Jessica Herthel and Jazz Jennings
“This is an essential tool for parents and teachers to share with children whether those kids identify as trans or not. I wish I had had a book like this when I was a kid struggling with gender identity questions. I found it deeply moving in its simplicity and honesty.”—Laverne Cox (who plays Sophia in “Orange Is the New Black”)
From the time she was two years old, Jazz knew that she had a girl’s brain in a boy’s body. She loved pink and dressing up as a mermaid and didn’t feel like herself in boys’ clothing. This confused her family, until they took her to a doctor who said that Jazz was transgender and that she was born that way. Jazz’s story is based on her real-life experience and she tells it in a simple, clear way that will be appreciated by picture book readers, their parents, and teachers.
7. Jacob’s New Dress by Sarah Hoffman and Ian Hoffman
Jacob loves playing dress-up, when he can be anything he wants to be. Some kids at school say he can’t wear “girl” clothes, but Jacob wants to wear a dress to school. Can he convince his parents to let him wear what he wants? This heartwarming story speaks to the unique challenges faced by boys who don’t identify with traditional gender roles.
8. My Princess Boy by Cheryl Kilodavis and Suzanne DeSimone
Dyson loves pink, sparkly things. Sometimes he wears dresses. Sometimes he wears jeans. He likes to wear his princess tiara, even when climbing trees. He’s a Princess Boy.
Inspired by the author’s son, and by her own initial struggles to understand, this is a heart-warming book about unconditional love and one remarkable family. It is also a call for tolerance and an end to bullying and judgments. The world is a brighter place when we accept everyone for who they are.
9. Nonnie Talks about Gender by Dr. Mary Jo Podgurski
Do today’s children have questions about gender? Of course! Nonnie Talks about Gender seeks to open the door to parent/child communication by addressing potentially complicated and controversial issues with sensitivity and warmth. Alice Burroughs’ lovely illustrations form the backdrop for the story of two best friend, Alex and Tamika, as their many questions about gender are answered by Alex’s grandma, Nonnie. Gender, gender roles, and gender identity are explored while reinforcing the need for respect and empathy while dealing with difference. The book is interactive. It is divided into brief chapters that allow readers to pause and consider each lesson. A parent/teacher/trusted adult guide, glossary and resources are included.
10. Play Free by McNall Mason and Max Suarez
Girls can wear pants, boys can wear dresses. None of that should cause any messes. Take a stroll through the life of a gender variant boy who just wants to be accepted for who he is. Walk in his shoes for a minute as he shows you his play house and introduces you to his friends. Soon you’ll see that we’re all pretty similar and being different isn’t really that big of a deal. This book is fun, rhyming, vibrant and ideal for introducing gender expression, gender expansion, and transgender ideas to kids. Our books are being carried by the Tacoma School District elementary school libraries courtesy of the HIB (Harassment, Intimidation and Bullying Committee) This book is also on the recommended reading list for Welcoming Schools, a division of the Human Rights Campaign. Perfect for all boys who like pink and purple and blue, and wear princess crowns and “girly stuff” and all their Magic Friends!
11. Red a Crayons Story by Michael Hall
A blue crayon mistakenly labeled as “red” suffers an identity crisis in this picture book by the New York Times–bestselling creator of My Heart Is Like a Zoo and It’s an Orange Aardvark! Funny, insightful, and colorful, Red: A Crayon’s Story, by Michael Hall, is about being true to your inner self and following your own path despite obstacles that may come your way. Red will appeal to fans of Lois Ehlert, Eric Carle, and The Day the Crayons Quit, and makes a great gift for readers of any age!
Red has a bright red label, but he is, in fact, blue. His teacher tries to help him be red (let’s draw strawberries!), his mother tries to help him be red by sending him out on a playdate with a yellow classmate (go draw a nice orange!), and the scissors try to help him be red by snipping his label so that he has room to breathe. But Red is miserable. He just can’t be red, no matter how hard he tries! Finally, a brand-new friend offers a brand-new perspective, and Red discovers what readers have known all along. He’s blue! This funny, heartwarming, colorful picture book about finding the courage to be true to your inner self can be read on multiple levels, and it offers something for everyone.
12. Riding Freedom by Pam Muñoz Ryan
A reissue of Pam Munoz Ryan’s bestselling backlist with a distinctive new author treatment.
In this fast-paced, courageous, and inspiring story, readers adventure with Charlotte Parkhurst as she first finds work as a stable hand, becomes a famous stage-coach driver (performing brave feats and outwitting bandits), finds love as a woman but later resumes her identity as a man after the loss of a baby and the tragic death of her husband, and ultimately settles out west on the farm she’d dreamed of having since childhood. It wasn’t until after her death that anyone discovered she was a woman.
13. The Adventures of Tulip Birthday Wish Fairy by S. Bear Bergman
THE ADVENTURES OF TULIP, BIRTHDAY WISH FAIRY follows title-character Tulip as he deals with the birthday wishes of all the nine-year-olds in North America. Somewhat reminiscent of the Disney film Prep & Landing, THE ADVENTURES OF TULIP, BIRTHDAY WISH FAIRY gives an inside look into what exactly happens to all those wishes, what Wish Fairies eat for lunch, and what kinds of tools they’re issued. When a wish Tulip is unfamiliar with crosses his desk, from a child known as David who wishes to live as Daniela, he seeks the wise counsel of the Wish Fairy Captain and learns some new Wish Fairy Skills (while also introducing the concept of trans-identified children in a friendly, sympathetic way). Tulip gets in a little hot water, but ultimately his compassion and thoughtfulness win the day, while serving as a model for readers..
14. The Boy in the Dress by David Walliams and Quentin Blake
The sparkling debut children’s novel from David Walliams, number one bestseller and fastest growing children’s author in the country, with sparkling new cover look to tie in with later books. Dennis was different. Why was he different, you ask? Well, a small clue might be in the title of this book…Charming, surprising and hilarious – The Boy in the Dress is everything you would expect from the co-creator of Little Britain. David Walliams’s beautiful first novel will touch the hearts (and funny bones) of children and adults alike.
15. The Gender Creative Child by Diane Ehrensaft PhD and Norman Spack MD
From a leading US authority on a subject more timely than ever—an up-to-date, all-in-one resource on gender-nonconforming children and adolescents
In her groundbreaking first book, Gender Born, Gender Made, Dr. Diane Ehrensaft coined the term gender creative to describe children whose unique gender expression or sense of identity is not defined by a checkbox on their birth certificate. Now, with The Gender Creative Child, she returns to guide parents and professionals through the rapidly changing cultural, medical, and legal landscape of gender and identity.
In this up-to-date, comprehensive resource, Dr. Ehrensaft explains the interconnected effects of biology, nurture, and culture to explore why gender can be fluid, rather than binary. As an advocate for the gender affirmative model and with the expertise she has gained over three decades of pioneering work with children and families, she encourages caregivers to listen to each child, learn their particular needs, and support their quest for a true gender self.
The Gender Creative Child unlocks the door to a gender-expansive world, revealing pathways for positive change in our schools, our communities, and the world.
16. The Transgender Child a Handbook for Families and Professionals by Stephanie A. Brill and Rachel Pepper
This comprehensive first of its kind guidebook explores the unique challenges that thousands of families face every day raising their children in every city and state. Through extensive research and interviews, as well as years of experience working in the field, the authors cover gender variance from birth through college. What do you do when your toddler daughter’s first sentence is that she’s a boy? What will happen when your preschool son insists on wearing a dress to school? Is this ever just a phase? How can you explain this to your neighbors and family? How can parents advocate for their children in elementary schools? What are the current laws on the rights of transgender children? What do doctors specializing in gender variant children recommend? What do the therapists say? What advice do other families who have trans kids have? What about hormone blockers and surgery? What issues should your college-bound trans child be thinking about when selecting a school? How can I best raise my gender variant or transgender child with love and compassion, even when I barely understand the issues ahead of us? And what is gender, anyway? These questions and more are answered in this book offering a deeper understanding of gender variant and transgender children and teens.
17. Transitions of the Heart by Rachel Pepper
Transitions of the Heart is the first collection to ever invite mothers of transgender and gender variant children of all ages to tell their own stories about their child’s gender transition. Often “transitioning” socially and emotionally alongside their child but rarely given a voice in the experience, mothers hold the key to familial and societal understanding of gender difference. Sharing stories of love, struggle, and acceptance, this collection of mother’s voices, representing a diversity of backgrounds and sexual orientations, affirms the experience of those who have raised and are currently raising transgender and gender variant children between the ages of 5-50. Edited by Rachel Pepper, a gender specialist and co-author of the acclaimed book The Transgender Child, Transitions of the Heart will prove an invaluable resource for parents coming to terms with a child’s gender variance or transition.
18. When Kayla was Kyle by Amy Fabrikant and Jennifer Levine
Kyle doesn’t understand why the other kids at school call him names. He looks like other boys, but doesn’t feel like them. Can Kyle find the words to share his feelings about his gender – and can his parents help him to transition into the girl he was born to be? When Kayla Was Kyle is a picture book children of all ages will want to read because it addresses the increasingly emerging ideas around Gender Diversity. Amy Fabrikant is a writer, literacy coach, and LGBTQ safe school consultant. She has worked with kids in schools for over 30 years and is the author of parenting and school based advocacy articles. Please visit www.WhenKaylaWasKyle.com for more information. Jennifer Levine is known and loved for her Princess Moxie performance and book series. Her theme-portraits and large-scale paintings on canvas and wood convey the same whimsical themes of her publications, recordings and performance art. She lives and creates in Montclair, NJ at her Church Street studio.
19. When Leonard Lost his Spots by Monique Costa
Inspired by the honesty of animals and the innocence of children, When Leonard Lost His Spots is an encouraging tale of love and acceptance in an ever-changing world.
About Dr. Martha Tara Lee
Surrounded by friends who were sexually inhibited and struck by dire lack of positive conversations around sex and sexuality in Singapore, Dr. Martha Tara Lee set out to make a positive difference in embarking on her doctorate in human sexuality before launching Eros Coaching in 2009. Today, she remains dedicated to working with individuals and couples who wish to lead self-actualised and pleasure-filled lives.
She also holds certificates in counselling, coaching and sex therapy, and has most recently completed her fourth degree – a Masters in Counselling. In practice for more than seven years, she is the only certified sexuality educator by the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors and Therapists (AASECT) in Singapore.
Often cited in the local media, Dr. Lee is the appointed sex expert for Men’s Health Singapore, and Men’s Health Malaysia. She was recognised as one of ‘Top 50 Inspiring Women Under 40′ by Her World in July 2010, and one of ‘Top 100 Inspiring Women’ by CozyCot in March 2011. She is the host of weekly radio show Eros Evolution on the OMTimes Radio Network. She has published three books: Love, Sex and Everything In-Between, Orgasmic Yoga and From Princess to Queen.
Martha works with individuals and couples in private coaching sessions, and conducts her own workshops. She takes prides in making sure all her workshops are also fun, educational, and sex-positive. This comes easily to her because even though she is extremely dedicated and serious about her work, she fundamentally believes that sex is meant to be fun, wonderful, amazing and sacred. As such, this serious light-heartedness has shone through again and again. For her full profile, click here. Email her here.