Books are vital to education. In an effort to promote education about what it really means to be transgender, I have compiled a list of the most recommended books for transgender children, their parents, their families and friends. This is an incomplete and ever-growing list of titles, but it’s a place to start on your journey towards understanding and supporting the transgender person in your life.
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Told in the first person, Jazz explains to readers her favorite things like the color pink and mermaids. She talks about her best friends and what they do together. Then she talks about how she is different than the girls she is friends with. Jazz was born a boy but has a girl brain. She explains that she is transgender and then talks about how she has been this way since she was a very little child. This book handles a difficult subject matter in an age-appropriate way and is a good resource for parents and teachers looking to help young kids understand transgender people
When a blue crayon in a wrapper labeled “Red” finds himself failing over and over again, everyone around him has an opinion on the matter. Maybe he needs to mix with the other kids more (only, when he does his orange turns out to be green instead). Maybe he just needs more practice. Maybe his wrapper’s not tight enough. Maybe it’s too tight. Maybe he’s got to press harder or be sharper. It isn’t until a new crayon asks him to paint a blue sea that he comes to the shocking realization. In spite of what his wrapper might say, he isn’t red at all. He’s blue! And once that’s clear, everything else falls into place.
Jacob finds a dress during play time, and wants to make his own. His mother helps him, and he is proud of the small stitches he did himself. But some other kid, a bully in class, keeps saying that boys don’t wear dresses. He even teases him and says Jacob has to play with the girls. Jacob stands up to the bully at the end, using his words, and returns to playing with the people that care about him, his friends.
Chris is a tomboy who describes themself as a girl from the waist down and boy from the waist up, but he can’t get boy haircut and gets upset when he is called by his girl’s name. This book is for children and their families and opens the door for conversations with children about gender, self-identity and claiming self.
Who Are You is helpful and understandable resource for children, and the adults in their lives, to understand gender identity and all of its facets and implications. The interactive wheel is easy to use and has three rings – body, identity, and expression – that show three concepts that are related but not the same. The wheel is also openly worded in a way that sparks discussion on gender and self-identity with kids.
10-year-old George has identified as a girl for as far back as she can remember. She wants to be accepted for who she is, but is terrified at the thought of telling anyone. When George’s class has tryouts for the school performance of Charlotte’s Web, George really wants the part of Charlotte. George and her best friend practice all weekend for the try-outs, but it doesn’t go as planned.
Grayson is a sixth grader who has always felt different and alone. When he looks in the mirror, his reflection does not match what he feels inside. He wishes more than anything that he could be who he really is on the outside as well as the inside. Grayson tries out for the lead female role of Persephone for his school play, and gets it. As Grayson reveals more and more of who she really is, Grayson experiences the reactions of the people around him.
Meet Grady, the recently out trans boy who is dealing with the fallout of friends, family, and strangers coming to terms with his social transition. Grady has gotten a boy haircut and bought boy clothes. He’s told his family and the people in his life that his new name is Grady. Grady struggles to find acceptance among his school and family, realizes the support around him and discovers the joy of being oneself.
Bailey is a girl who dreams of beautiful dresses she’d like to wear every night. However, when she tries to tell her family about these dresses, they insist that she’s a boy and shouldn’t want to wear dresses. Bailey faces the struggle of finding someone who recognizes her as a girl until she sees a girl sewing down the street. The other girl instantly sees that Bailey’s a girl, and together they set out creating the dresses from Bailey’s imagination.
This book is about finding yourself and how it is okay to be different. It allows students to embrace their own identities and accept their friends’ differences. When students embrace their own identities, they are more likely to be leaders instead of bullies or followers. It is very positive and does not label anyone.
This is a simple story about a four year old boy named Dyson. He loves to dress up and dance around in sparkly pink clothing. This books shows the love and support of his family and he learns that it is ok to be himself; however, it also shows how hurtful comments and negative actions may be to someone and their family.
Meet Shane Woods. He is twelve-years old. He loves playing baseball and drawing his own graphic novel. Oh, and one more thing – he’s transgender, something he’s kept a secret even from his best friend Josh. But when he’s found out, everything comes crashing down, and Shane has to learn how to be strong and love himself in a world that is constantly trying to push him down.
The book, ‘Be Yourself’ written by Jackie Swirsky and illustrated by her 7 year old gender creative son Jacob Swirsky and sister-in-law Jaimee Appel, features a gender creative child as the main character and teaches the message of acceptance. It empowers children to be proud of themselves just as they are and be accepting of all people no matter their style. It provides positive language around gender diversity and gives strategies for how to be accepting of others.