It can be difficult to know where to start when talking to children about gender identity.
Gender identity refers to a person’s sense of their own gender. It often has an influence on the way an individual expresses themselves, and can correlate with a person’s assigned sex, or differ from it.
Gender identity typically develops from a young age in children. That’s why it is important to establish a healthy environment in which children feel able to explore all aspects of their gender identity.
That’s why we’ve collected a list of the best children’s books on gender identity that might help you introduce the topic to your children.
It Feels Good To Be yourself – Theresa Thorn
Written by the mother of a transgender child and illustrated by a non-binary transgender artist, It Feels Good to be Yourself is a tender, honest exploration of gender identity. The book seeks to help children develop a fuller understanding of themselves and others, teaching them how to talk about gender with sensitivity and respect.
George – Alex Gino
A beautifully written take on gender identity, George looks at the life of a transgender girl and her journey toward self-acceptance. The novel tells the story of Melissa, birth name George, who is anatomically a boy, but knows she is a girl. George is a timely book for children and parents alike, helping to cultivate understanding and empathy about gender roles.
The Pants Project – Cat Clarke
Like George, The Pants Project looks at the life of young transgender person, Liv. Liv is determined to challenge his school’s restrictive dress code that requires girls to wear skirts. The Pants Project is a hopeful, humorous story in which characters have LGTBQ+ connections but are not defined by them.
Julián Is a Mermaid – Jessica Love
Julián Is a Mermaid is a beautifully illustrated picture book that looks at self expression in relation to gender identity. While riding the subway home with his grandmother, Julián sees three women dressed as mermaids. Desperate to look like them, Julián sets about making a mermaid costume of his own. Wonderfully inclusive, the book boasts messages of inclusivity, tolerance and acceptance.
I am Jazz – Jessica Hershel & Jazz Jennings
From the age of two, Jazz knew that she was a girl in a boy’s body. She doesn’t feel like herself in a boy’s clothing, which confused her family, until a doctor told them she was transgender. I am Jazz is based on the real-life story of Jazz Jennings, and is another great book that is aimed at helping young readers understand and respect everyone’s personal gender identity.
My Princess Boy – Cheryl Kilvados
My Princess Boy is about Dyson, a boy that loves to freely explore his gender identity. Sometimes he wears pink and sparkles, and sometimes he wears jeans. Based on author Cheryl Kilvados’ real-life relationship with her son, Dyson, My Princess Boy calls for freedom, tolerance and love when it comes to children exploring their gender identities.
These books provide an excellent starting point for introducing the topic of gender identity to your children. The stories in these books should not only help educate your children, but broaden your own understanding of gender too.