From the hilarious 'Bathe the Cat' to the poignant 'Small Town Pride,' we select some recent LGBTQ+ reads for kids.
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Whether in a picture book discussing the history of Pride or a middle grade novel about coming out in a small town, EW believes that every LGBTQ+ kid should see themselves reflected in the stories they read. With the attacks on LGBTQ+ youth increasing, it's more important than ever for children to see positive stories of love and acceptance centered around LGBTQ+ characters. If you are queer, raising a child who is, or want your child to be LGBTQ+friendly, here are a few 2022 releases to celebrate Pride month. 

Bathe The Cat
Credit: Chronicle Books

Bathe the Cat by Alice B. McGinty

A delightful story about a family struggling to clean up before Grandma visits — and their cat that will do anything to evade a bath beforehand — is a hilarious depiction of multiracial, same-sex parents trying to manage all the chaos (and fun) that comes in a child and pet-filled house. McGinty's rhyming scheme  along with the vibrant illustrations by Ada Twist, Scientist illustrator David Roberts makes it an especially fun read. 

Publisher ‏ : ‎ Candlewick
Credit: Candlewick

Mama and Mommy and Me in the Middle by Nina LaCour, Illustrated by Kaylani Juanita

In Nina LaCour's sweet tale, a little girl misses her Mommy while she's away on a trip even though her Mama remains to supply all the love and warmth she needs in the meantime. From an empty spot at the dinner table to FaceTime calls instead of real hugs, Mama and Mommy and Me in the Middle reflects on all the ways a child can miss a family member when they are gone, while showing the happy life this family shares when they are together. It's a lovely pick for children with same-sex parents that will also resonate for any kid missing a loved one who is away from home. 

Pink, Blue, and You!: Questions for Kids about Gender Stereotypes
Credit: Anne Schwartz Books

Pink, Blue, and You! Questions for Kids about Gender Stereotypes By Elise Gravel with Mykaell Blais

Did you know that a hundred years ago pink was considered a boy's color while blue was for girls? That's just one of the questions asked in Pink, Blue, and You!, Elise Gravel and Mykaell Blais' guide that helps parents navigate the subjects of gender and identity in a clear and kid-friendly manner. The upbeat picture book encourages children to think beyond the assumptions they might already have about gender roles and ask themselves just how accurate these ideas are in the first place. 

Strong by Rob Kearney
Credit: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Strong by Rob Kearney and Eric Rosswood, Illustrated by Nidhi Chanani

Based on Rob Kearney's own life as a professional strongman, this colorful picture book tells the tale of how he reconciled his own identity as an openly gay man with the stereotypical ideas of manhood in the world of strongman competitions. Originally dressing in staid colors while competing in order to fit in, Kearney is encouraged by his future husband, Joey, to embrace the bright colors he really loves. Despite lifting everything from a giant log to cars, Kearney realizes that it was only when he became brave enough to be himself in front of the world that his true strength emerged.

Twas the Night Before Pride
Credit: Candlewick

'Twas the Night Before Pride by Joanna McClintick, Illustrated by Juana Medina

A clever take off on 'Twas the Night Before Christmas, Joanna McClintick's picture book is a great way to introduce young readers to the history behind Pride month. As a city's queer community prepares for their annual Pride celebration, McClintick follows one family who, besides packing snacks and doing all the things any family does before a big outing, recount to their children why Pride exists in the first place. Covering everything from the Stonewall riots to the queer activism behind AIDS marches, 'Twas the Night Before Pride explains that Pride is not just about rainbow flags but about fighting for the right to exist as you truly are, with all the dignity that entails. 

ABC Pride
Credit: DK Children

ABC Pride by Louise Stowell and Elly Barnes

A is for acceptance in ABC Pride, which presents a wide variety of inclusive ideas in images and language that children can understand. Geared towards little ones who are still learning the alphabet, Stowell and Barnes use each letter to introduce everything from examples of diverse families to concepts about gender, pronouns, and inclusion. This joyful book teaches kids the importance of understanding and celebrating differences found throughout LGBTQ+ communities. 

Every Bird a Prince by Jenn Reese
Credit: Henry Holt and Co.

Every Bird a Prince by Jenn Reese

The rush into puberty can be a confusing time for all kids but more so for those who find they aren't fitting into society's expectations. That's how Eren Evers feels in the lyrical middle grade fantasy, Every Bird a Prince. As her friends become more interested in boys, she's content to ride her bike around the woods, both confused why she doesn't feel a crush towards anyone and insecure about feeling out of place. As Eren figures out she might be asexual with some help from her friend, Alex, the secretly gay boy she pretended to have a crush on, she stumbles into a battle between a magical kingdom of birds and the ancient enemy bent on their destruction. It's only by becoming the birds' champion that she faces her doubts and discovers the courage to claim her own identity. 

Small Town Pride
Credit: HarperCollins

Small Town Pride by Phil Stamper

A lot of gay teenagers face unsupportive parents when they come out but that's not exactly Jake's problem in Phil Stamper's middle grade novel Small Town Pride. After his dad hangs an enormous pride flag in front of their house in their small Ohio village, Jake worries that that his community at large won't be as supportive as his family has been of  his openly gay status. But he is not ready to accept the small-mindedness of some in the place he calls home. In trying to create a local Pride festival, he comes across the mayor's son, Brett, who is coming to terms with who he is in a far less supportive environment than Jake. Kids struggling with their own coming out process will find Jake and his story highly relatable. 

Twelfth by Janet Key
Credit: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Twelfth by Janet Key

The last thing Maren wants to do is attend the Charlotte Goodman theater camp during the summer but once she does, she finds herself wrapped in a mystery several decades in the making. Jumping back and forth between Maren's present-day adventures preparing to perform Shakespeare's Twelfth Night alongside her non-binary bunk mate Theo and camp namesake Charlotte's experiences as a gay woman in the 1940s, Janet Key offers up a twisty plot that will keep kids reading while introducing them to some strong LGBTQ+ characters in the process. 

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