Home Book Collections 6 Kids Books For Trans Day of Resilience

6 Kids Books For Trans Day of Resilience

via Ashia
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Sharing this post on social media? Use this description to make it accessible: [Image description: Illustration from ‘When Aidan Became A Brother,’ by Kyle Lukoff & Kaylani Juanita. A young, transgender, multiracial boy wearing a cape, cargo shorts, and bunny slippers. His cape is made from scraps of old dresses his parents gave him that he didn’t feel comfortable in, and one of the patches resembles the trans pride flag. He looks into the distance with pride and determination, holding a stick as a make-believe magical staff.]

How can adults support trans kids?

A while back I asked Persephone of the Broke Transwoman, what is the one thing she wishes the cis parents of trans kids would do to support their kids?
I mean like – beyond the basics:
  • Stop centering themselves in discussions about their child’s gender.
  • Stop outing their kids on the internet before kids are old enough to understand and consent to the ramifications.
  • Find, listen, boost, and support adults who share their child’s identity.
  • When a kid tells you their gender, believe them.
Her answer:
“Beyond the obvious things that you mentioned, I wish parents were more informed of how much of their child’s experiences and mental health will be colored by their transsexuality.”
“Too many people think it is a one note thing with dysphoria, but it isn’t. Dysphoria can amplify most symptoms of depression and other mental illness, and even if some trans people do not experience dysphoria, they will still be affected by how others perceive and treat them.”

I also asked her – What are the three most important things she would tell younger trans people?

Her answers, like her, are gorgeous.

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Our favorites:

It’s getting too cumbersome to regularly update these posts as I find new books – so I’ll only include the ones the Earthquakes asked to read over and over and over right here. But you can find a deeper, comprehensive list of trans-kid-approved validating, normalizing & destigmatizing stories over here. I’ll be updating it regularly, in our Bookshop list of Kids Books on Transgender Representation & Resilience.

Red, a crayon's story

  • Max And The Talent Show – Max, a trans boy, supports his gender-creative cis friend who loves drag.
  • Doodleville – Normalizing trans characters.
  • Lumber Janes – Jo, a math & logic whiz of Navajo/Diné decent, is trans, and her identity is disclosed around volume 4.


For more: Kids Books on Transgender Representation & Resilience.

#OwnVoices trans, non-binary & gender creative kidlit makers

Obviously there are way more trans & gender-creative authors and illustrators out there – but these are the ones who have publicly disclosed their identity in author bios in book flaps or online.
I added pronouns when I could find them – but our pronouns can change, makers might use more than one type of pronoun, or the bios I found might have errors. Leave a comment if you notice any glitches, and tell us about the folks we missed here.

You might also like: Books about LGBTQiA2S+ History for kids

Which books didn’t make it?

There are a few books I did not include on our full list of positive representation & resilience for trans kids – but which you might see on other websites.

Here’s a quick rundown of examples, and why they didn’t make the cut:

  • Stigmatizing trans people & folks with mental health conditions: For older kids, you’re going to see recommendations for a graphic novel called Witch Boy floating around – I have deep reservations about this story and how it feeds stereotypes about dysphoria and stigmatizing people with mental health conditions as violent. I’m gonna review it and talk over my hesitations with a trans kid this month, and see how they feel about it.
  • Hard to get / inaccessible for most:
    • For our youngest readers: check out We are Little Feminist Families, which isn’t on bookshop but you can order it there. (transparency! I helped screen & edit the photos.)
    • Flamingo Rampant, an #OwnVoices LGBT2Q+ indie press, doesn’t feature their books on bookshop or amazon, which makes including them book lists a headache. So here are the books I wish I could have added to this list: 47,000 Beads & Rachel’s Christmas Boat, Love Is In The Hair
  • Cis authors who insist on deadnaming (even when they work with trans illustrators):
    • Were I Not A Girl about Dr. James Barry. #OwnVoices illustrator, but the author’s text contains deadnaming and mis-gendering. There’s an earlier book about Dr. Barry floating around ’The Cottonwool Doctor that also insists on deadnaming & mis-gendering him in his childhood. Dr. Barry’s assigned sex at birth wasn’t discovered until his death. He went by he/his pronouns and used ‘James’ as an adult and in his career. Since we can’t know if he would be okay with folks using his deadname or assigned pronouns, he did not give consent to be portrayed like this. Hard pass. Not to mention – both are bland reads and never gets into the best parts about Barry and his abrasive personality (or misogyny, depending on how you look at it), which is a shame. Dude revolutionized childbirth for at-risk deliveries, and tore Florence Nightingale a new one! And all these books talk about is his transition, without his consent.
    • The Fighting Infantryman, illustrated Nabi Ali, a South Asian #OwnVoices trans illustrator (he/him), but written by Rob Sanders, who tends to be very white-, cis- and dude-centered in his take on LGBTQ history.
  • Whitewashing: Why is Julian is a mermaid not on this list? ‘Cause trans people aren’t mythical creatures, and Love’s decision to make another whitewashed (and bland) sequel  reinforces my hesitations about white authors profiting off brown-faced figments of their imagination. She completely disregarded criticism from Afro-Caribbean trans folks before barreling ahead with the franchise as Julian attends proceeds to move through the world like a white kid. These books were designed to make white people feel inclusive with a safe model minority character, and that is why they are so popular. This is a problem.
  • Plagarism: The whitewashed & appropriated book Who Are You? written by cis makers ripped off both concept and diagrams from the well-known #OwnVoices workbooks and subsequent publication, The Gender Wheel. Worth noting that this book is published by Jessica Kingsley Publishers, which is well known for platforming white, cis, abled folks (especially Autism Warrior Parents) as they talk about targeted people, without them. While they occasionally publish a decent nonfiction book, most of their autism & neurodiversity books are fucking awful.
  • WRITE THESE BOOKS ’cause they don’t exist yet: We need kids books celebrating trans activist Pauline Park, trans goddess Guanyin & fluid Loki, and a Ballad of Mulan (I think my fave is by Song Nan Zhang. Also please boycott the most recent disney movie please & thanks) that gives kids space to consider Mulan not as a dutiful daughter, but a trans man grabbing an opportunity to be himself.
  • Folks who rally readers for anti-trans hate and exclusion: Even though there aren’t any trans characters in  Harry Potter books – if you must read the books but don’t want to profit this terrible human (who does target and spread falsehoods about trans women in her adult books), borrow a used copy. Honestly though, we read through HP1 with Q this summer and it really doesn’t hold up in 2020. It’s not just awful – body-shaming, sexist, racist, misogynist, full of transmisia and other garbage – it’s also just terribly written. Q got halfway through book two before the disgust overwhelmed his curiosity about the chamber of secrets.


You might also like: Beyond the Binary: Why We Need Gender Creative Characters


Stay Curious, Stand Brave, and Protect Trans Kids

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1 observation

Megan November 21, 2020 - 5:03 PM

Thanks for putting out this list. I highly recommend checking out Flamingo Rampant Press: https://www.flamingorampant.com
I am a parent of a trans girl and we’ve read as many books as possible about trans kids. I highly recommend The Princess of Great Daring by Tobi Hill-Meyer. My trans daughter loves reading this one over and over again. It is mostly about friendship and imaginative play, but also about coming out as trans.
I try to make a point never to recommend animal or crayon books as gender inclusive books, although they are beautiful books. Red is a great book, but children need explicit books with real human models. Research has shown that, just like with other forms of diversity, children internalize messages much more effectively from books about humans than they do from books about animals or things. There’s no harm in reading these books, but it’s absolutely critical that our children see real human beings who are trans, non-binary, and genderqueer. Humanizing trans people happens by celebrating trans humans!


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