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Growing Up Queer: Thoughtful Books About LGBTQ+ Youth

More and more of today's youth are queer. Thankfully, LGBTQ+ representation in media is increasing, giving queer and straight kids alike more choices that reflect their world and lived experiences. But no other entertainment type has embraced telling stories about queer youth as much as the book publishing industry. Below you'll find a vast selection of books for all ages that feature lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, gender nonconforming, and other queer kids and teens. From beautifully illustrated picture books and empathetic coming-of-age novels to swoon-worthy tales of first loves and suspenseful mysteries, there's something here to interest every kid and young adult. Once you're done here, check out our lists of movies and TV shows about queer youth and LGBTQ+ history.

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Julián at the Wedding Poster Image

Julián at the Wedding

age 3+

Julián and friend find fun, magic in sweet, affirming tale.

By: Jessica Love (2020)
I Am Jazz Poster Image

I Am Jazz

age 4+

Sweet, straightforward story of young transgender girl.

Jacob's New Dress Poster Image

Jacob's New Dress

age 4+

Cheery book on dismantling gender norms helps kids, parents.

By: Sarah Hoffman , Ian Hoffman (2014)
Julián Is a Mermaid Poster Image

Julián Is a Mermaid

age 4+

In touching story and art, boy imagines he's a mermaid.

By: Jessica Love (2018)
Sparkle Boy Poster Image

Sparkle Boy

age 4+

Strong family, acceptance rule in sweet stereotype-buster.

By: Lesléa Newman (2017)
Child in blue overalls with small dog

Call Me Max

age 5+

Warm story of a child sharing that he's transgender.

By: Kyle Lukoff (2019)
Calvin Poster Image


age 5+

Trans boy embraces his identity in bold, inclusive story.

By: J.R. Ford , Vanessa Ford (2021)
A line of green turtles make a backward ess across the cover, with two in the middle having rainbow shells.

Answers in the Pages

age 9+

Insightful, sweet, funny, exciting exploration of book bans.

By: David Levithan (2022)
A girl with curly hair hovers over iconic sites of Barcelona

Ellen Outside the Lines

age 9+

Touching story of girl with autism navigating change.

By: A. J. Sass (2022)
Rick Poster Image


age 9+

Sixth-grader faces bullying bestie in sweet, queer story.

By: Alex Gino (2020)
Birdie and Me Poster Image

Birdie and Me

age 10+

Intense story of orphans' search for family, acceptance.

By: J. M. M. Nuanez (2020)
Ivy Aberdeen's Letter to the World Poster Image

Ivy Aberdeen's Letter to the World

age 10+

First stirrings of girl's same-sex crush gently handled.

King and the Dragonflies Poster Image

King and the Dragonflies

age 10+

Beautifully told coming-of-age tale full of grief and hope.

By: Kacen Callender (2020)
Lily and Dunkin Poster Image

Lily and Dunkin

age 10+

Sensitive story of misfits striving to be their real selves.

By: Donna Gephart (2016)
Melissa Poster Image


age 10+

Fourth grader identifies as a girl in tender tale.

By: Alex Gino (2015)
Too Bright to See Poster Image

Too Bright to See

age 10+

Gender identity and death lovingly explored in spooky story.

By: Kyle Lukoff (2021)
Frankie & Bug Poster Image

Frankie & Bug

age 11+

Fraught, funny, complex '80s tale of trans tween.

By: Gayle Forman (2021)
Two Boys Kissing Poster Image

Two Boys Kissing

age 12+

Poignant tale of several gay teens and record-breaking kiss.

By: David Levithan (2013)
Darius the Great Deserves Better Poster Image

Darius the Great Deserves Better

age 13+

Captivating tale of teen's first love, friendships, growth.

By: Adib Khorram (2020)
Hani and Ishu's Guide to Fake Dating Poster Image

Hani and Ishu's Guide to Fake Dating

age 13+

Cute, socially aware romance of queer South Asian teens.

By: Adiba Jaigirdar (2021)