The New York Public Library #RainbowReading Book List for Kids

So the New York Public Library put together this great list of 30 of their favorite LGBTQ+ books for kids, one for each day of June. They also have 30 picks for adults and 30 picks for teens, too. But as excited as I was to see the lists, and as much as I love many of the books on each of them, I was deeply disappointed in the format. Really, NYPL? You put the time in to create three great lists like this and left them in this terrible format? I find it especially tragic for the kids list, because the parents and kids looking for picture books are not the same parents and kids looking for chapter books (most of the time), and how many will take the time to click-through on all thirty books just to find the two or three they might be interested in?

Well, if it makes you mad, do something about it, right? So, two hours later…

The NYPL #Reading Rainbow Book List for Kids
(now with pictures and descriptions!)

  1. The Boy and the Bindi by Vivek Shraya
    The Boy & the Bindi Children’s Picture Book, PK-3rd grade

    The Boy and the Bindi is a playful picture book about a young boy’s fascination with the dot on his mother’s forehead. With his mom’s help, the boy discovers that wearing a bindi allows him to joyfully explore and express his difference—and that even a little “spot” can be meaningful and magical.

  2. A is for Activist by Innosanto Nagara (also available in Spanish)
    A is for ActivistChildren’s Board Book, PK-2nd grade

    The alliteration, rhyming, and vibrant illustrations make the book exciting for children, while the issues it brings up resonate with their parents’ values of community, equality, and justice. This engaging little book carries huge messages as it inspires hope for the future, and calls children to action while teaching them a love for books.

  3. Daddy’s Roommate by Michael Willhoite
    Daddy's RoommateChildren’s Picture Book, age 4 and up

    “Mommy says Frank and Daddy are gay”–this new concept is explained to the child as “just one more kind of love.” Willhoite’s cartoony pictures work well here; the colorful characters with their contemporary wardrobes and familiar surroundings lend the tale a stabilizing air of warmth and familiarity.

  4. Heather Has Two Mommies by Lesléa Newman
    Heather Has Two MommiesChildren’s Picture Book, PK-2nd grade

    Heather’s favorite number is two. She has two arms, two legs, and two pets. And she also has two mommies.

  5. Morris Micklewhite and the Tangerine Dress by Christine Baldacchino
    Morris Micklewhite and the Tangerine DressChildren’s Picture Book, PK-2nd grade

    Morris is a little boy who loves using his imagination. He dreams about having space adventures, paints beautiful pictures and sings the loudest during circle time. But most of all, Morris loves his classroom’s dress-up center — he loves wearing the tangerine dress.

  6. Stella Brings the Family by Miriam Baker Schiffer
    Stella Brings the FamilyChildren’s Picture Book, K-3rd grade

    Stella’s class is having a Mother’s Day celebration, but what’s a girl with two daddies to do? It’s not that she doesn’t have someone who helps her with her homework, or tucks her in at night. Stella has her Papa and Daddy who take care of her, and a whole gaggle of other loved ones who make her feel special and supported every day. She just doesn’t have a mom to invite to the party.

  7. King and King by Linda de Haan & Stern Nijland
    King and KingChildren’s Picture Book, K-3rd grade

    After many hours of nagging, the crown prince, who “never cared much for princesses,” finally caves in and agrees to wed in order to ascend the throne. Their search for a suitable bride extends far and wide, but none of the eligible princesses strikes the Prince’s fancy, until Princess Madeleine shows up. The Prince is immediately smitten- with her brother, Prince Lee.

  8. I Am Jazz by Jessica Herthel and Jazz Jennings
    I Am JazzChildren’s Picture Book, PK-3rd grade

    From the time she was two years old, Jazz knew that she had a girl’s brain in a boy’s body. She loved pink and dressing up as a mermaid and didn’t feel like herself in boy’s clothing. This confused her family, until they took her to a doctor who diagnosed Jazz as transgender and explained that she was born this way.

  9. This Day in June by Gayle E. Pitman
    This Day in JuneChildren’s Picture Book, K-3rd grade

    In a wildly whimsical, validating, and exuberant reflection of the LGBT community, This Day In June welcomes readers to experience a pride celebration and share in a day when we are all united.

  10. Worm Loves Worm by J. J. Austrian
    Worm Loves WormChildren’s Picture Book, PK-3rd grade

    When a worm meets a special worm and they fall in love, you know what happens next: They get married! But their friends want to know—who will wear the dress? And who will wear the tux?
    The answer is: It doesn’t matter. Because Worm loves worm.

  11. And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell
    And Tango Makes ThreeChildren’s Picture Book, PK-3rd grade

    At the penguin house at the Central Park Zoo, two penguins named Roy and Silo were a little bit different from the others. But their desire for a family was the same. And with the help of a kindly zookeeper, Roy and Silo got the chance to welcome a baby penguin of their very own.

  12. George by Alex Gino
    GeorgeMiddle Grade, 3rd-7th grade

    When people look at George, they see a boy. But George knows she’s a girl.
    George thinks she’ll have to keep this a secret forever. Then her teacher announces that their class play is going to be Charlotte’s Web. George really, really, REALLY wants to play Charlotte. But the teacher says she can’t even try out for the part … because she’s a boy.
    With the help of her best friend Kelly, George comes up with a plan. Not just so she can be Charlotte – but so everyone can know who she is, once and for all.

  13. Better Nate Than Ever by Tim Federle
    Better Nate Than Ever (Better Nate Than Ever #1)Middle Grade, 5th-8th grade

    Nate Foster has big dreams. His whole life, he’s wanted to star in a Broadway show. (Heck, he’d settle for seeing a Broadway show.) But how is Nate supposed to make his dreams come true when he’s stuck in Jankburg, Pennsylvania, where no one (except his best pal Libby) appreciates a good show tune? With Libby’s help, Nate plans a daring overnight escape to New York. There’s an open casting call for E.T.: The Musical, and Nate knows this could be the difference between small-town blues and big-time stardom.

  14. The Boy in the Dress by  David Walliams
    The Boy in the DressMiddle Grade, 6th-8th grade

    Dennis was different.
    Why was he different, you ask?
    Well, a small clue might be in the title of this book…

  15. Drama by Raina Telgemeier
    DramaGraphic Novel, 6th-9th grade

    Callie loves theater. And while she would totally try out for her middle school’s production of Moon Over Mississippi, she’s a terrible singer. Instead she’s the set designer for the stage crew, and this year she’s determined to create a set worthy of Broadway on a middle-school budget. But how can she, when she doesn’t know much about carpentry, ticket sales are down, and the crew members are having trouble working together? Not to mention the onstage AND offstage drama that occurs once the actors are chosen, and when two cute brothers enter the picture, things get even crazier!

  16. Lily and Dunkin by Donna Gephart
    Lily and DunkinMiddle Grade, 5th-8th grade

    For readers who enjoyed Wonder and Counting by 7’s, award-winning author Donna Gephart crafts a compelling dual narrative about two remarkable young people: Lily, a transgender girl, and Dunkin, a boy dealing with bipolar disorder. Their powerful story will shred your heart, then stitch it back together with kindness, humor, bravery, and love.

  17. Princeless by Jeremy Whitley
    Princeless, Vol. 1: Save YourselfGraphic Novel, 4th-7th grade

    Adrienne Ashe never wanted to be a princess. She hates fancy dinners, is uncomfortable in lavish dresses, and has never wanted to wait on someone else to save her. However, on the night of her 16th-birthday, her parents, the King and Queen, locked her away in a tower guarded by a dragon to await the rescue of some handsome prince. Now Adrienne has decided to take matters into her own hands!

  18. Star-Crossed by Barbara Dee
    Star-CrossedMiddle Grade, 4th-8th grade

    Mattie, a star student and passionate reader, is delighted when her English teacher announces the eighth grade will be staging Romeo and Juliet. And she is even more excited when, after a series of events, she finds herself playing Romeo, opposite Gemma Braithwaite’s Juliet. Gemma, the new girl at school, is brilliant, pretty, outgoing–and, if all that wasn’t enough: British.

  19. Totally Joe by James Howe
    Totally Joe (The Misfits, #2)Middle Grade, 6th-8th grade

    “Everybody says you and Colin were kissing.”

    “What? That’s ridiculous!”

    “For heaven’s sake, Joe, if you and Colin want to kiss, you have every right to.”

    “We did not kiss,” I told her.

    Addie shrugged. “Whatever.”…

  20. Gertrude Is Gertrude Is Gertrude by Jonah Winter
    Gertrude is Gertrude is Gertrude is GertrudeChildren’s Picture Book, PK-3rd grade

    In a story inspired by the oh-so-modern groundbreaking writing of Gertrude herself, not a lot makes sense. Even so, the oh-so-popular author Jonah Winter, and the ever-so-popular illustrator Calef Brown, and the most popular poodle of all time, Basket, invite you to enter the whimsical world of Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas.

  21. Everywhere Babies by Susan Meyers
    Everywhere BabiesChildren’s Picture Book, PK

    Every day, everywhere, babies are born. They’re kissed and dressed and rocked and fed—and completely adored by the families who love them. An exuberant celebration of babies as they do all the wonderful things babies do best.

  22. 10,000 Dresses by Marcus Ewert
    10,000 DressesChildren’s Picture Book, K-4th grade

    Every night, Bailey dreams about magical dresses: dresses made of crystals and rainbows, dresses made of flowers, dresses made of windows. . . . Unfortunately, when Bailey’s awake, no one wants to hear about these beautiful dreams. Quite the contrary. “You’re a BOY!” Mother and Father tell Bailey. “You shouldn’t be thinking about dresses at all.” Then Bailey meets Laurel, an older girl who is touched and inspired by Bailey’s imagination and courage. In friendship, the two of them begin making dresses together. And Bailey’s dreams come true!

  23. Flying Lessons and Other Stories, ed. by Ellen Oh
    Flying Lessons and Other StoriesMiddle Grade Anthology, 4th-6th grade

    In a partnership with We Need Diverse Books, industry giants Kwame Alexander, Soman Chainani, Matt de la Peña, Tim Federle, Grace Lin, Meg Medina, Walter Dean Myers, Tim Tingle, and Jacqueline Woodson join newcomer Kelly J. Baptist in a story collection that is as humorous as it is heartfelt. This impressive group of authors has earned among them every major award in children’s publishing and popularity as New York Times bestsellers. From these distinguished authors come ten distinct and vibrant stories.

  24. The Best Man by Richard Peck
    The Best ManMiddle Grade, 4th-6th grade

    Newbery Medalist Richard Peck tells a story of small-town life, gay marriage, and everyday heroes in this novel for fans of Gary Schmidt and Jack Gantos.

  25. Antonio’s Card by Rigoberto González
    Antonio's Card/La tarjeta de AntonioChildren’s Picture Book, 1st-3rd grade

    Antonio loves words, because words have the power to express feelings like love, pride, or hurt. Mother’s Day is coming soon, and Antonio searches for the words to express his love for his mother and her partner, Leslie. But he’s not sure what to do when his classmates make fun of Leslie, an artist, who towers over everyone and wears paint-splattered overalls. As Mother’s Day approaches, Antonio must choose whether — or how — to express his connection to both of the special women in his life.

  26. Hit the Road, Manny by Christian Burch
    Hit The Road, Manny (The Manny Files #2)Middle Grade, 3rd-7th grade

    Okay, so this is not exactly the birthday present Keats had in mind (no iPod?!), but when Dad parks a rented RV in the Dalinger’s driveway, Keats piles in with the rest of his family — and the manny, of course — bound for the open road. From the big skies of farm country to the bright lights of Las Vegas, this, in typical manny fabulousness, is an all-American adventure filled with more Glamour-dos than Glamour-don’ts. But a stopover at the manny’s childhood home is making the manny feel not so fabulous. Why can’t his parents ever accept him for who he is? And Keats, at first, sees their point. Why does the manny always have to be so interesting

  27. My Mixed-Up Berry Blue Summer by Jennifer Gennari
    My Mixed-Up Berry Blue SummerMiddle Grade, 5th-7th grade

    Twelve-year-old June is sure of only one thing—she’s great at making pies and she plans to prove it by winning a blue ribbon in the Champlain Valley Fair pie competition. But one summer in Vermont June needs not only the best wild blueberries but also a whole lot of courage.

  28. The Family Book by Todd Parr
    The Family BookChildren’s Picture Book, PK-1st grade

    The Family Book celebrates the love we feel for our families and all the different varieties they come in. Whether you have two moms or two dads, a big family or a small family, a clean family or a messy one, Todd Parr assures readers that no matter what kind of family you have, every family is special in its own unique way.

  29. The Accidental Adventures of India McAllister by Charlotte Agell
    The Accidental Adventures of India McAllisterMiddle Grade, 3rd-5th grade

    Growing up in small-town Maine, fourth grader India McAllister plans to have real adventures someday, but, for the present, daily life provides some accidental ones. India and her best friend, Colby, navigate the treacherous waters of a fourth-grade friendship between a boy and a girl. When Colby succumbs to the attentions of classmate Amanda the Rodent, India runs away to a bit of real adventure, getting lost in the woods. Family issues include India’s occasional longing to know more about her birth mother, back in China, and the way she misses her father. Now she can only spend weekends with her father and his new partner, Richard, a man she’s finding it difficult to know.

  30. Families, Families, Families! by Suzanne Lang & Max Lang
    Families, Families, Families!Children’s Picture Book, PK-2nd grade

    Moms, dads, sisters, brothers — and even Great Aunt Sue — appear in dozens of combinations, demonstrating all kinds of nontraditional families! Silly animals are cleverly depicted in framed portraits, and offer a warm celebration of family love.

Folks, I worked on this thing approximately forever, and I don’t have any affiliates so I’m not getting any kickbacks from this post. So if you enjoyed the list in this format, please leave a comment and say hi!

(The list, again, was created by the wonderful folk at New York Public Library. Any mistakes in this post are undoubtably my own.)

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