Chapter 9

Learning About Gender Diversity and Fairness

Climbing out of the box – gender beyond the binary. The joy of expressing exactly who you are.

Age appropriate stories about non- stereotypical and gender fluid children, adults, and families.

To find more books like these, use the book search page. Look under “Making All People Visible: Non-stereotypical females and males, GLBTQ families, Non-binary Gender”.


Being You: A First Conversation About Gender - Cover
Megan Madison, Penguin Random House 2021
Ages 3 - 8

Clear, simply said, wonderfully illustrated – Being You is a perfect book for three to eight year olds (and their parents and teachers) about gender identity and body positivity in it’s many forms. “There’s only one you in the whole world. Isn’t that amazing”? the book begins. And in a tone of joy the book describes how babies get named “boy” or “girl” – and then says “Some babies grow into a different gender than the one that grown-ups called them. There are lots of different genders that people grow into. Some people are girls. Some people are boys. Some people are neither. Some people are both”. There are easily understood descriptions of gender bias and unfairness and a proud statement of “We want the world to be more fair, because each one of us is just right, exactly as we are”. Hooray! Research shows the importance of these discussions with children as young as two. A section for adults is at the back of this book..
Goal 1, 2, 3 & 4
Cowboy Kid - Cover
Max Eilenbeg, Walker Books 2000
Ages 2 - 5

A young boy who loves playing cowboy is put to bed by his loving and gentle dad, who kisses his son tenderly. The boy gets out of bed and starts kissing his stuffed animals, over and over, hugging them each in replication of his dad’s actions. Finally Dad come in and gives him a final kiss and tells him how much he is loved. And the boy goes to sleep.
Goal 1
Donovan’s Big Day - Cover
Leslea Newman, Tricycle Press 2011
Ages 3 - 6

Donovan has a very, very important job to do today. He rushes through eating, dressing (very fancy), hurrying, getting to the “big, big” building, getting hugged and kissed, and finally … walking down the aisle and giving the wedding rings to Mommy and Mama. Then – and last of all – kissing the brides. Wonderfully funny and exciting and not in the least bit preachy!
Goal 1 & 2
Girls Hold Up This World  - Cover
Jada Pinkett Smith, Scholastic 2005
Ages 2 - 7

This is a beautiful photo book featuring African American girls of all ages being strong, creative, surprising, intelligent, brave, and beautiful.
Goal 1, 2, 3 & 4
Grandad’s Camper - Cover
Harry Woodgate, Little Bee Books 2021
Ages 2 - 8

A young child of unstated gender visits Grandad and asks for stories about camper trips that Grandad and Gramps shared. Grandad has been sad since Gramps died, but he loves talking about their adventures in their “little home on wheels.” A rare love story about elders, about a cross-racial (Black & White) gay relationship, about a child helping an adult – and about the joys of travel. Don’t miss this one!
Goal 1 & 2
Julián is a Mermaid  - Cover
Jessica Love, Candlewick Press 2018
Ages 3 - 8

This is a boy named Julián. And this is his abuela. Julián loves mermaids“. So starts a terrific story (told as much by the illustrations as by text) of Julián’s imagining and costuming and with Abuela’s help, being himself as a beautiful mermaid. Then, joyfully dressed, they join a whole community of children and adults in costumes,  dressed in swirling gowns and jewels and decorations. The best gender fluid book we have found for children as young as three and up to adulthood!
Goal 1 & 2
Annie’s Plaid Shirt - Cover
Stacy B. Davids, Upswing Press 2015
Ages 5 - 8

Annie loves her plaid shirt. She wears it every day and everywhere. But, when her Uncle Benny is getting married, Annie’s mom takes her shopping for a dress she is to wear at the wedding. This book explores Annie’s clarity about her gender expression and how she helps her family understand what that means to her. Together they find a solution about what to wear to the wedding.
Goal 1, 2, 3 & 4
I Love You Because I Love You - Cover
Muon Thi Van, Katherine Tegen Books 2022
Ages 4 - 7

An exuberant call and response book: “I love you because you came here! I came here because I love you.” “I love you because you let me make mistakes. Because I love you, no mistake is ever too great“. “I love you because you see what others miss. Because I love you, I see more than before“. The exuberant illustrations show tremendous diversity – Gay/Lesbian, Single Parent, Elders, Trans/Non-Binary Gender, African American, Asian American, Bi-Racial, Latino American, Native American, Multi-Ethnic. Joyful and powerful artwork!
Goal 1 & 2
I’m Jay, Let’s Play - Cover
Beth Reichmuth, Beth Reichmuth 2016
Ages 2 - 5

In Jay’s pre-school a multi-racial group of children build, pretend, dance, wear costumes and fill the room with energy and laughter. There are no pronouns used in this book, and the children’s genders are unspecified. Children wear sparkly skirts over overalls, pinks and blues on the same child, gender neutral haircuts. One of the children uses a wheelchair. The book is playful and familiar – and always leads to wonderful discussions. Children inevitably ask – “Is Jay a boy or a girl”? (Available on the authors website)
Goal 1 & 2
Love Makes a Family - Cover
Sophie Beer, Dial Books 2018
Ages 2 - 5

Love is…waking up bright and early, baking a special cake, finding the biggest puddles… Families of many structures – single parents, same sex parents including two dads waking up in the same bed in the morning, older parents, etc. are illustrated, their interactions demonstrating how love looks in every day life.
Goal 1 & 2
One of a Kind Like Me – Unico Como Yo - Cover
Laurin Mayeno, Blook Orange Press 2016
Ages 2 - 5

Danny is very clear about what costume he wants to wear to the school parade. He even drew a picture. He wants a princess costume with a purple dress with ruffles and a silver crown. It takes some doing and some imagination, but bit-by-bit his family helps him create the costume of his dreams. It’s one of a kind – just like Danny! Bi-lingual – Spanish and English.
Goal 1, 2, 3 & 4
The Story of Ferdinand the Bull - Cover
Munro Leaf, Viking Press 1936
Ages 2 - 7

This is the classic book from 1936 (!) originally written in Spanish and translated into more than 60 languages. Ferdinand is a great big bull who doesn’t want to fight and be fierce in the Bull Fight Ring – he just wants to go home and sit under a tree and smell the flowers. (The book was banned in several countries during World War II because it allegedly told boys they shouldn’t become warriors). Children still love it today. So do we!
Goal 1, 2, 3 & 4
A Tale of Two Daddies  - Cover
Vanita Oelschlager, Vanita Books 2010
Ages 2 - 6

A playground conversation between two children. A child says he heard that the girl has two dads. The girl says that is right, she has Poppa and Daddy. True to a child’s curiosity, practical questions follow. “Which dad helps when your team needs a coach? / Which dad cooks you eggs and toast?” To which she answers: “Daddy is my soccer coach. / Poppa cooks me eggs and toast.” It becomes clear that the family bond is not affected by any gender limited expectations. A simple and lovely book that makes gay family structures visible for young children.
Goal 1 & 2
When Sophie Gets Angry, Really, Really, Angry - Cover
Molly Bang, Blue Sky Press 1999
Ages 3 - 6

A great read about a LOUD little girl!! This is a story about how Sophie deals with a giant anger. It wells up inside of her because lots of things go wrong including fighting with her sister and falling down. Sophie feels like a volcano ready to explode, so she runs and runs and runs outside … and the wild and beautiful wide world comforts her.
Goal 1, 3 & 4