Queer Positive Children’s Literature

In my work with queer positive children’s stories as part of Fantabulosa and Drag Story Time I’ve read over 100 LGBTQ+ positive books aimed at children and families, this list is by no means exhaustive but it is a collection of my favourites and covers same-sex relationships, same-sex parents, trans and non-binary identities, gender non-conformity, and celebrating difference. The list below particular focuses on books with a great story, these are the ones I have found best for reading aloud and creating a vivid world.

julian

In light of the current protests and debates surrounding LGBTQ+ inclusive education in the UK, I’m advocating for people to get copies of these books, read them to your children, buy them for family members and friends, and to donate copies to your local libraries and primary schools – they will make a difference, they would have changed my life:

From The Stars In The Sky To The Fish In The Sea – Kai Cheng Thom, Wai-Yant Li, Kai Yun Ching
A beyond the binary beautiful story about a magical child who was born when the sun and moon were both in the sky at the same time so they didn’t know what to be.

The Boy With The Bindi – Vivek Shraya and Rajni Perera
A five-year-old boy becomes fascinated with his mother’s bindi and wants to have one of his own. 

King & King – Linda De Haan
A queer twist on the classic fairy tale, where a prince looking for the right princess falls in love with another prince.

The Worst Princess – Anna Kemp & Sarah Ogilvie.
Hilarious rhyming story that presents the idea of not conforming to gender expectations, not having to get married to a prince, and celebrating friendship and autonomy.

The Crocodile Who Didn’t Like Water – Gemma Merino
A funny short story about a crocodile who wasn’t like all the other crocodiles but was something equally wonderful.

Maiden and Princess – Daniel Haack & Isabel Galupo
A strong, brave maiden is invited to the Prince’s royal ball, but she’s not as excited to go as everyone else. 

The Boy Who Cried Fabulous – Leslea Newman & Peter Ferguson
Roger thinks that everything is fabulous, Mom and Dad don’t.

Julian is a Mermaid – Jessica Love
A touching story about a boy who wants to be a mermaid, wirth gorgeous illustrations.

Mommy Mamma and Me – Leslea Newman and Carol Thompson
A rhyming book for very early years featuring all the things that baby does with Mommy and Mamma.

Something Else – Kathryn Cave
A story about difference, and accepting people who are different to you.

10,000 Dresses – Marcus Ewert
A story about Bailey, a young girl who dreams of amazing dresses but who’s family insist she’s a boy.

And Tango Makes Three – Justin Richardson
The true story of two male penguins who adopt an abandoned egg and raise the chick as their own.

Introducing Teddy – Jessica Walton
A story about friendship and feeling comfortable to be who you truly.

Pink Is For Boys – Eda Kaburn
A colourful look at the all the colours, free from gender stereotypes.

Open Letter to Shabana Mahmood

This letter was written and sent to Shabana Mahmood MP on 05/03/19 in response to her recent comments regarding teaching LGBTQ+ identities in primary schools. 

Dear Shabana,

I am contacting you today as a Ladywood Constituent, a Labour Party member, and as someone who has voted for you in the last two general elections. I am writing in response to your recent comments and statement regarding the teaching of RSE in schools.
I am part of a generation of people who grew up under the devastating impact of Section 28. I have experienced first hand the repercussions of growing up in a system in which I was invisible, and where my existence was either denied or chastised. As a result of this I have experienced long term mental health issues including depression and anxiety and have suffered from low self-esteem and self worth. My experiences are not unique, they are alarmingly prevalent in the LGBTQ+ community, and this is, in part, because we have grown up in a world which has isolated us by making us invisible.
LGBTQ+ identities are not always visibly marked, as such our visibility is at times temporary and continually at risk. In not educating young people and children about our mere existence we have been systematically othered and ostracised. Much of our early experiences are shaped by feelings of isolation, of alienation, a disconnection from ‘normative’ society. From this often stems an inherent fear of rejection, a sense of inadequacy, and shame. Visibility, awareness, and acceptance are therefore lifelines for our communities.
In my adult life I have dedicated myself to providing better representation for LGBTQ+ people in the Midlands and beyond; to start conversations and to bridge gaps between communities. I coordinate Birmingham’s annual festival of LGBTQ+ arts and culture, and am currently touring a project nationwide, aimed at children aged 3-8 and their families, that encourages children to embrace difference, self acceptance, and self-identity by exploring different families and identities.
Whilst I can understand concerns about young people being exposed to inappropriate subject matter, teaching young people about the existence of LGBTQ+ people (and in doing so teaching acceptance of all people regardless of sexuality, gender, age, race, faith, or ability) is an essential part of building communities and creating a safer and more accepting society for all people to live in.
I am reaching out to you today to invite you to meet with me so that we can discuss the need for appropriate LGBTQ+ representation for young people, and so that you can hear the experiences of members of our communities in the hope that you will consider the needs of future LGBTQ+ generations to come.
I look forward to hearing from you,
Adam Carver