LGBTQ+ Books for Parents and Children

Welcome to Family Equality’s Book Nook, a comprehensive list of the best LGBTQ+ books for the whole family!

Whether you’re searching for your child’s first picture book or a young adult novel that your tween will devour, Family Equality’s Book Nook is a list of our favorite books that represent diverse families in a loving and respectful way.

Check out the search portal below to discover what new LGBTQ+ books you need to add to your at-home, local, or school libraries!

Explore the Book Nook

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Parrotfish

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Ellen Wittlinger

Angela Katz-McNair has never felt quite right as a girl, but it’s a shock to everyone when she cuts her hair short, buys some men’s clothes, and announces she’d like to be called by a new name, Grady. Although Grady is happy about his decision to finally be true to himself, everybody else is having trouble processing the news. Grady’s parents act hurt; his sister is mortified; and his best friend, Eve, won’t acknowledge his existence. On top of that, there are more practical concerns–for instance, which locker room is he supposed to use for gym class? Grady didn’t expect his family and friends to be happy about his decision, but he also didn’t expect kids at school to be downright nasty about it. But as the victim of some cruel jokes, Grady also finds unexpected allies, including the school geek Sebastian, and Kita Charles, who’s a gorgeous senior. In a voice tinged with humor and sadness, Ellen Wittlinger explores Grady’s struggles—struggles any teen will be able to relate to.

Putting Makeup on the Fat Boy

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Bil Wright

Carlos Duarte knows that he’s fabulous. He’s got a better sense of style than half the fashionistas in New York City, and he can definitely apply makeup like nobody’s business. He may only be in high school, but when he lands the job of his dreams— makeup artist at the FeatureFace counter in Macy’s—he’s sure that he’s finally on his way to great things. But the makeup artist world is competitive and cutthroat, and for Carlos to reach his dreams, he’ll have to believe in himself more than ever.

Rainbow Boys

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Alex Sanchez

Three teenage boys, coming of age and out of the closet. In a revealing debut novel that percolates with passion and wit, Alex Sanchez follows these very different high-school seniors as their struggles with sexuality and intolerance draw them into a triangle of love, betrayal, and ultimately, friendship.

Rainbow High

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Alex Sanchez

Jason Carrillo, the best-looking athlete in school, has had his eyes on the prize from day one: a scholarship for college. But then his eyes turn to love—and Kyle.

Kyle Meeks, swim team star and all-around good guy, is finally in the relationship he wanted. Being in love feels so good, in fact, that he can’t imagine giving it up to go to Princeton, something he’s worked for his entire life.

Nelson Glassman, outgoing and defiant, might be HIV positive. Jeremy, the boy he loves, is HIV positive. Although Nelson fears testing positive, if he is infected Jeremy might stop protecting him and pushing him away.

They can be together.

High school’s almost over. Graduation is ahead. Life’s a bowl of cherries, right? Right…

Rainbow Road

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Alex Sanchez

It’s the end of the road…

Jason Carrillo came out to his basketball team and lost his university scholarship. Now that he’s graduated, he’s been asked to speak at the opening of a gay and lesbian high school across the country—but what is he going to say?

Kyle Meeks is getting ready to go to Princeton in the fall. When his boyfriend, Jason, mentions the speaking invitation, he jumps at the chance to go with him—but can their romance survive two weeks crammed together in a car?

Nelson Glassman is happy that his best friend, Kyle, has found love with Jason. Now he wants to find a soul mate of his own and is going to start looking during the road trip—but will being “third wheel” ruin his friendship with Kyle and Jason?

Someday this Pain Will Be Useful to You

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Peter Cameron

James may have been accepted to college, but that doesn’t mean he wants to go. In fact, he doesn’t want a lot of things that his family wants for him: to stay in Manhattan, to deal with his pretentious sister… or, apparently, to ignore his attraction to his much-older co-worker, John.

Sparks: The Epic, Completely True Blue (Almost) Holy Quest of Debby

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S. J. Adams

Since sixth grade, Debbie Woodlawn has nursed a secret, heart-searing crush on her best friend, Lisa. But all those years of pretending to enjoy Full House reruns and abstinence rallies with Lisa go down the drain when her friend hooks up with Norman, the most boring guy at school. This earth-shattering event makes Debbie decide to do the unthinkable: confess her love to Lisa. And she has to do it tonight—before Lisa and Norman go past “the point of no return.” So Debbie embarks on a quest to find Lisa. Guiding the quest are fellow students/detention hall crashers Emma and Tim, the founding (and only) members of the wacky Church of Blue. Three chases, three declarations of love, two heartbreaks, a break-in, and five dollars worth of gas later, Debbie has been fully initiated into Bluedaism—but is there time left to stop Lisa and Norman from going too far?

Sprout

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Dale Peck

Sprout Bradford has a secret. It’s not what you think—he’ll tell you he’s gay. He’ll tell you about his dad’s drinking and his mother’s death. The green fingerprints everywhere tell you when he last dyed his hair. But neither the reader nor Sprout are prepared for what happens when Sprout suddenly finds he’s had a more profound effect on the lives around him than he ever thought possible. Sprout is both hilarious and gripping; a story of one boy at odds with the expected.

Swimming in the Monsoon Sea

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Shyam Selvadurai

The setting is Sri Lanka, 1980, and it is the season of monsoons. Fourteen-year-old Amrith is caught up in the life of the cheerful, well-to-do household in which he is being raised by his vibrant Auntie Bundle and kindly Uncle Lucky. He tries not to think of his life “before,” when his doting mother was still alive. Amrith’s holiday plans seem unpromising: he wants to appear in his school’s production of Othello and he is learning to type at Uncle Lucky’s tropical fish business. Then, like an unexpected monsoon, his cousin arrives from Canada and Amrith’s ordered life is storm-tossed. He finds himself falling in love with the Canadian boy. Othello, with its powerful theme of disastrous jealousy, is the backdrop to the drama in which Amrith finds himself immersed.

Shyam Selvadurai’s brilliant novels, Funny Boy and Cinnamon Gardens, have garnered him international acclaim. In this, his first young adult novel, he explores first love with clarity, humor, and compassion.

The Arizona Kid

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Ronald Koertge

I was in the West. The Old West. The Wild West! A whole summer in a new place: a place away from my parents, a place so hot the girls probably wore bikinis to church, a place where I’d take a giant step toward my dream: becoming a vet. A place where — who knows? — anything might happen.


Support Family Equality when you buy your next LGBTQ+ book!

To support Family Equality while you build your LGBTQ+ family library, visit smile.amazon.com and log in using your Amazon credentials. Then search for Family Equality under “Or pick your own charitable organization” and click “Select.”

That’s it! Now every time you shop at smile.amazon.com, a portion of the price of your purchase will go to supporting LGBTQ+ families!


More Resources for LGBTQ+ Families

Once you put down your most recent purchase, check out all the other activities, resources, and programs we create to support and connect LGBTQ+ families like yours across the country!


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Have an LGBTQ+ book you’d like to submit to our list?

If you know about an LGBTQ+ book that isn’t on our list, but should be—let us know! Use the form below to contact a staff member, and we’ll be in touch about next steps.