10 new kids’ books about Pride are my faves among the many new titles

Amidst attempts around the country to ban LGBTQ-inclusive children’s books, the sheer number of new titles being published gives me hope. Here are some of my favorite new ones about Pride and the early LGBTQ rights movement, perfect for this month but worth reading all year ’round.

For the very youngest
We Are the Rainbow! The Colors of Pride, by Claire Winslow and illustrated by Riley Samels (Sunbird Books): This board book takes readers on a journey through the colors of the LGBTQ rainbow flag and the meanings behind those colors. While there are already several similar books, this one is notable for its visible inclusion of gender creative and trans people, as well as a wide range of children and adults across many aspects of identity.

ABC Pride, by Louie Stowell and Elly Barnes, illustrated by Amy Phelps (DK Children): A bright and cheery alphabet book that not only features words and definitions specific to queer culture and identities, but also ones related to emotions like “acceptance,” “belonging,” “kindness” and “love.” Explanations are simple enough for the age group but also consider many aspects of LGBTQ identities.

Other Picture Books
’Twas the Night Before Pride, by Joanna McClintick and illustrated by Juana Medina (Candlewick): This fun take on the classic poem shows a child getting ready for the Pride parade and happily retelling the history of Pride to their younger sibling. It captures the meaning and history of the event with just the right amount of detail for younger ages, while blending it with a relatable family story.

One of the moms is also “that kind of mom who’s more boyish than girly”— a bit of representation that we don’t always get to see. Also available in Spanish as La víspera de Orgullo.

The Rainbow Parade, by Emily Neilson (Dial): A young girl with two moms is excited about going to the Pride Parade in this winsome story based on the author-illustrator’s own experience as a child. When a drag queen suggests to the watching Emily that she and her moms should be in the parade, Emily isn’t sure … until a group marches by with an “LGBTQ+ Families” banner. Emily and her moms then join in the fun. At the end, she tells her moms she’s going to practice pride “all year long.”

The Meaning of Pride, by Rosiee Thor and illustrated by Sam Kirk (Versify): This colorful and inclusive introduction to the people and achievements that give Pride its meaning covers both the history of Pride and the qualities it encompasses, like wearing what you want and feeling good, fighting for your rights and those of others, and more. Each spread shows famous LGBTQIA+ people who represent the relevant concept.

The Big Book of Pride Flags, by Jessica Kingsley Publishers, illustrated by Jem Milton: Pride flags across the LGBTQIA+ spectrum fill this colorful book. Each page offers a bit of history about the flag as well as an explanation of the identity(-ies) behind it and what the colors mean.

The Harvey Milk Story, by Kari Krakow, illustrated by David C. Gardner (Lee & Low): Long out of print but now reissued, this biography looks at Milk’s life from birth through his assassination, and conveys his significance with warmth and appreciation. The text is wordy enough that it’s best for the older end of the picture book age range, but that will be a selling point for such readers looking for a substantial biography.

Middle Grade Books
History Comics: The Stonewall Riots: Making a Stand for LGBTQ Rights, by Archie Bongiovanni and illustrated by A. Andrews (First Second): In this fun yet informative graphic novel, three modern queer teens are magically transported back to the Stonewall Inn in June 1969, where they meet Marsha P. Johnson, Silvia Rivera, and Stormé DeLaverie, learn more about queer history, and are motivated to take action on current challenges once they are back in the present. The story is obviously fictionalized, but is in many ways one of the best short LGBTQ histories for this age group.

Pride: An Inspirational History of the LGBTQ+ Movement, by Stella Caldwell (Penguin Workshop): A broad overview of LGBTQ rights from ancient times to the present, this book emphasizes the U.K. and U.S. but occasionally ventures farther afield. It covers politics, culture, media, social movements and more and is interspersed with snapshot biographies of a variety of LGBTQ people throughout history as well as profiles of young LGBTQ people today.

Small Town Pride, by Phil Stamper (HarperCollins): In this fictional title, 13-year-old Jake has just come out as gay in his small Ohio town. Jake’s father, in a perhaps overly enthusiastic show of support, raises a giant rainbow flag in their yard. This triggers panic among some members of the community, including the conservative mayor, who are afraid the flag might signal the start of an actual Pride celebration. Jake gets caught up in small-town politics as he and his friends work to make that vision a reality. At a time when some of the most vicious real-life battles for LGBTQ inclusion are taking place in town councils and school boards, Stamper not only reflects the state of our country but also shows us one possible, hopeful way forward. That’s no small feat.

These are far from all the kids’ books on Pride that now exist; for more (and for LGBTQ-inclusive kids’ books on other topics), please visit my ongoing database (mombian.com/database).

Happy reading and happy Pride!