Reading Challenge Tip #8

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Content warning: Suicide and depression, not graphic but very clear what I am talking about. I will put those lines in italics, so they are easy to skip.

Good whatever time of day it is when you stumble across this post!

I have not seen the sun in weeks it feels like. I have also had the hardest time finding books that I want to read. I don’t know if those things are related, but they could be. Or my gay cowboy reading marathon has burned me out (this is iam’s theory). The best way for me to get over a reading funk is to either read nothing or find the easiest thing to read and move through it. That brings us to the next challenge!

A children’s book with a queer theme

So why is this important? When I was a kid, think 3-4, I already knew I was a boy. This has not changed throughout my life, I just learned that others saw me as a girl and that my life would be easier if I hide that fact I was a boy. It was in elementary school the first time a teacher begged my mother to put me in therapy, because she could tell just how unhappy I was. I can go into more details, but I will be vague in the idea of: I didn’t plan on living to adulthood. I was less than ten and I already had multiple graphic plans to make that statement come true. I read non-stop. My punishments were having books taken away from me. I was in college the first time I read a book aimed at teens or children about being queer. If things had gone even slightly different the day when I put a plan in action, then I would never have found the book I needed as a kid. Imagine being so miserable and hating yourself so much that at less then ten you have already given up. If I had books that could have shown me that I wasn’t alone, maybe I wouldn’t have been so miserable.

So children’s books aimed at making queer kids feel safe and secure mean a lot to me. That is why this prompt exists. The more these books are bought from stores or checked out from libraries, the more access kids who need them will have. For the sake of this challenge, I meant a picture book. But technically did not specify that or the age of the child. So whatever is the age of adulthood in your country and below is fair game. My list below will be all picture books or younger children’s media.

I never said I would make this challenge easy or that it wasn’t extremely personal.

Maiden Voyage – this one may be a bit difficult to get a hold of. I got it through a kickstarter based in Australia. This is a girl/girl romance set on a ship.

Promised Land – is from the same kickstarter. Boy/boy love and magic.

Raven Wild – last one from that kickstarter. Features a trans woman main lead going on an adventure.

It Feels Good to Be Yourself – a non-fiction about gender identity for kids.

You Be You! – I had issues with this one, but I am still glad it exists.

Any of the Steven Universe comics technically fit and so do any of the picture books in the series – these are comics aimed at kids about one of the best cartoons ever. One of the main characters is a literal fusion of two female characters who couldn’t stand to be apart. They are a walking lesbian relationship. Another female character has a broken heart over another female character. One of the characters is intersex and uses they/them pronouns. (In the show there is also a non-binary character)

Lumberjanes – is amazing. It is an ongoing series about a group of girls at camp. There are female/female relationships, trans girls, different races and ethnicity, disabilities, tattoos, and they are all met with love. Created by the person behind the She-Ra reboot, just saying.

My Dad Thinks I am a Boy – wonderful trans rep for kids

This Day in June – wonderfully inclusive book. Even has a section at the end for parents and adults to help them talk to the kids.

I am Jazz – This list wouldn’t be complete with Jazz.

Drama – another book that made waves for having gay characters

Cardboard Kingdom – A huge thanks to my favorite librarian for recommending this to me (and then buying me a copy!). Not explicitly queer, but trust me there is a character who is questioning gender.

Lulu is a Rhinoceros – wonderful book that I totally read as being trans rep. Others have criticized it for focusing on why Lulu was not a rhino and then having Lulu join the rhinos to get acceptance. I LOVED it though. It is one of my favorite picture books.

Anything by Katie O’Neil – such wholesome queer content. There is an older gay couple in one series. I even have the card game based on O’Neil’s books.

The Backstagers – imagine the theater geek version of Lumberjanes. This series focuses on the boy filled tech crew. There are trans boys and gay boys and tons of magical adventures.

The Prince and the Dressmaker – a little older than the others, but follows a prince who loves to wear dresses. There is a scene of violence in this one, but there is a happy ending.

The Prince and the Frog – a retelling of the Princess and the Frog where a prince finds his true love.

Leslea Newman has so many picture books with queer themes.

George – an AMAZING book.

Rick – haven’t read this one yet, but I have it on hold at my local library. Seems to be an ace rep book for pre-teens. I am HERE for it.

Jacob’s New Dress – reminds me of another book, a very important book (10,000 Dresses).

10,000 Dresses – a book that is often stolen and destroyed from libraries. This was the first book I read about gender for kids.

And Tango Makes Three – just don’t do a follow-up of the story.

Prince and Knight – looks super cute. I have it on hold.

A Family is a Family – just wholesome

King & King – if I remember right there is a sequel where they adopt a baby.

Jack (Not Jackie) – it seems that it is pretty rare to find a book about trans boys, but this might just count. I haven’t read it yet.

Neither – WHAT??? I need this one immediately.

They She He Me – A book on pronouns

Ho’onani: Hula Warrior – non-binary rep for kids? Sign me up!

When Aiden Became a Brother – a trans boy rep book!

There are so many books out there now. I ordered a bunch from my library already.

I hope these books brighten your lives in a special way. If not, well, it was a super easy prompt and shouldn’t take too long to read. If you have kids, reading these together can make a huge difference in ways that might not show for years. Just trust me on this one.

-Isaiah