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    21 Children's Books About Gender Identity And Gender Expression That Should Be On Every Kid's Bookshelf

    Kids deserve to be authentically themselves at all times.

    We hope you love the products we recommend! All of them were independently selected by our editors. Just so you know, BuzzFeed may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page if you decide to shop from them. Oh, and FYI — prices are accurate and items in stock as of time of publication.

    We asked members of the BuzzFeed Community to share their favorite children's books about gender identity and gender expression with us. Here are their — and some of my own — recommendations:

    1. Julian Is a Mermaid by Jessica Love

    Julian with a plant headpiece and fabric draped around his waist
    Candlewick

    Suggested by: vravenwillis

    What it's about: The book follows the story of a young boy named Julián, who spots three magical women dressed as mermaids on the subway and wants to go home and re-create the look for himself. He worries what his abuela will think of this, but Julián is ultimately supported in being his true mermaid self.

    Get it from Bookshop, Amazon, or your local indie through Indiebound here.

    2. Jack (Not Jackie) by Erica Silverman, illustrated by Holly Hatam

    Jack on the cover wearing a vest and a top hat instead of a dress or ballet flats
    Simon and Schuster

    Suggested by: nicolew4dad774d7

    What it's about: In the book, Susan can't wait until her younger sister grows up so they can play forest fairies and be explorers together. Susan soon realizes that her sister doesn't like those games, wearing dresses, or having long hair, and would rather play in the mud and be a "super bug." She also wants to be called "Jack," and though Susan struggles to wrap her head around it at first, their mom reminds her that Jack is still the same person they know and love no matter how Jack chooses to identify.

    Get it from Bookshop, Target, or your local indie through Indiebound here.

    3. Jacob's New Dress by Sarah and Ian Hoffman, illustrated by Chris Case

    Jacob wearing his favorite dress while doing things like dancing or playing with his dinosaurs
    Albert Whitman & Company

    Suggested by: elliel4e7086880

    What it's about: Jacob is a boy who loves playing dress-up and loves to be whoever he wishes to be. Despite his classmates saying he can't wear "girl" clothes, he still wants to wear a dress to school and wonders if he can convince his parents to let him do so.

    Get it from Bookshop, Amazon, or your local indie through Indiebound here.

    4. Princess Dinosaur by Daniel Kibblesmith, illustrated by Ashley Quach

    A green dinosaur wearing a princess dress, hat, and cape
    Little, Brown Books

    What it's about: This book tackles gender role expectations and allows kids to embrace the fluidity of kid identity by telling the story of Princess Dinosaur, who loves wearing pink dresses and hosting fancy tea parties. But she doesn't just like doing those things, she also loves roaring and making messes. She learns to embody both parts of her personality, because she's both a princess AND a dinosaur.

    Get it from Bookshop, Target, or your local indie through Indiebound here.

    5. One of a Kind, Like Me / Único como yo by Laurin Mayeno, illustrated by Robert Liu-Trujillo

    Danny holding up a drawings of himself in a dress and crown
    Blood Orange Press;

    What it's about: This book, which is told in both English and Spanish, is based on a true story and follows a boy named Danny who wants to be a princess for the school parade. His mom is all in and they both race to a thrift store in the hopes of finding something that'll help Danny transform into the princess he was always meant to be.

    Get it from Bookshop, Amazon, or your local indie through Indiebound here.

    6. Peanut Goes for the Gold by Jonathan Van Ness, illustrated by Gillian Reid

    Book cover with a hamster wearing a shirt and twirling a ribbon
    HarperCollins

    Suggested by: katelynh4

    What it's about: Peanut is a non-binary guinea pig who loves to put their own "personal flare" on things — whether it's cartwheeling while playing basketball or cutting their own hair, they always do it in their own special way. When Peanut decides to be a rhythmic gymnast, they come up with a routine all their own.

    Get it from Bookshop, Target, or your local indie through Indiebound here.

    7. Annie's Plaid Shirt by Stacy B. Davids, illustrated by Rachael Balsaitis

    Annie skateboarding past a school bus full of kids
    Upswing Press

    What it's about: Annie has a favorite plaid shirt that she wears often. However, her uncle's wedding is coming soon, and Annie's mom encourages her to wear a dress for it, despite Annie's wishes. She just doesn't feel comfortable in dresses, so she comes up with a new, genius idea.

    Get it from Amazon, or your local indie through Indiebound here.

    8. The Boy & the Bindi by Vivek Shraya, illustrated by Rajni Perera

    A boy with flowers growing out of his head and a bindi on
    Arsenal Pulp Press

    What it's about: The story follows a 5-year-old boy who is curious about the bindi his mother wears. He's so fascinated by it that he begins wanting one of his own, and despite it being worn traditionally by Hindu women, his mom doesn't chastise him and agrees to it while teaching him about its cultural significance.

    Get it from Amazon, or your local indie through Indiebound here.

    9. My Shadow is Pink by Scott Stuart

    A book looking back at this pink shadow that is wearing a tutu
    Larrikin House

    Suggested by: tfcrowe85

    What it's about: Told in rhyme, this book is about a little boy — who with support from his dad — learns to openly appreciate the things he loves, like princesses, fairies, and other things that society typically says are "not for boys."

    This title will be available Apr. 1, 2021. Pre-order it from Bookshop, Amazon, or your local indie through Indiebound here.

    10. I'm Not A Girl by Maddox Lyons and Jessica Verdi, illustrated by Dana Simpson

    Hannah looking through a barber shop window on the book cover
    Macmillan

    Suggested by: nicolew4dad774d7

    What it's about: The book is based on a true trans identity journey and tells the story of Hannah, who seems to be surrounded by people in his life who don't understand why he doesn't want to do or wear traditional "girl" things. Determined to be who he truly is, Hannah then shows the world who he was always meant to be.

    Get it from Bookshop, Target, or your local indie through Indiebound here.

    11. The Prince and the Dressmaker by Jen Wang

    The prince and dressmaker looking into each other's eyes on the cover
    First Second Books

    Suggested by: pandasrule989

    What it's about: While this graphic novel isn't exclusively for children, it tells the story of Prince Sebastian, whose parents are trying to find a bride for him. What they don't know is that the prince is also one of Paris' hottest fashion icons by night. He goes out in secret as Lady Crystallia and wears daring dresses made by his best friend, Frances. And although Frances is Lady Crystallia's secret weapon, she and her talents can only be kept a secret for so long.

    Get it from Bookshop, Target, or your local indie through Indiebound here.

    12. It Feels Good To Be Yourself: A Book About Gender Identity by Theresa Thorn, illustrated by Noah Grigni

    A diverse group of children with flowers all around them on the cover
    Macmillan

    Suggested by: elliel4e7086880

    What it's about: This book aims to teach children about all forms of gender identity in a digestible way.

    Get it from Bookshop, Amazon, or your local indie through Indiebound here.

    13. Call Me Max by Kyle Lukoff, illustrated by Luciano Lozano

    Max in some overalls with his little beagle dog
    Reycraft Books

    Suggested by: elliel4e7086880

    What it's about: The book follows a trans boy named Max, who on the first day of school lets his teacher know that Max is the name he'd like to be called by, despite her feeling hesitant about it. This ultimately begins Max's journey as he befriends others at school and reveals his feelings about his identity to his parents.

    Get it from Bookshop, Amazon, or your local indie through Indiebound here.

    14. From the Stars in the Sky to the Fish in the Sea by Kai Cheng Thom, illustrated by Wai-Yant Li and Kai Yun Ching

    Miu Lan walking through a colorful galaxy
    Arsenal Pulp Press

    Suggested by: wrasseboy

    What it's about: The book follows a child named Miu Lan, who was born "in the magical time between night and day, when both the sun and the moon are in the sky." Miu Lan has the special ability to change into any shape they imagine, be that a flower, a shooting star, a bird, a fish, a boy, or a girl. Despite finding friends who will accept them for who they are, Miu Lan's mother is there as a guide and offers a refrain that speaks to theme of the book: "Whatever you dream of / I believe you can be / from the stars in the sky to the fish in the sea.”

    Get it from Bookshop, Target, or your local indie through Indiebound here.

    15. I Am Jazz by Jazz Jennings and Jessica Herthel, illustrated by Shelagh McNicholas

    Jazz smiling and surrounded by her parents as well as photographs of herself
    Dial Books

    Suggested by: wittybuzzfeedusername

    What it's about: Based on the real-life experiences of television personality and LGBTQ rights activist Jazz Jennings, the book tells the story of a young trans girl named Jazz who's known she's a girl from the age of 2. Although her family is initially confused by this, they later come to understand what Jazz is experiencing with the help of a doctor.

    Get it from Bookshop, Target, or your local indie through Indiebound here.

    16. When Aidan Became a Brother by Kyle Lukoff, illustrated by Kaylani Juanita

    Aidan wearing a rainbow jacket sitting on his dad's shoulders while his mom gives him a kiss
    Lee & Low Books

    What it's about: Aidan is a trans boy who, through loving and supportive parents, is able to live his life as he was always meant to live it. After discovering that his mother is now pregnant, Aidan must learn what it means to be a big brother to his new sibling.

    Get it from Bookshop, Target, or your local indie through Indiebound here.

    17. BunnyBear by Andrea J. Loney, illustrated by Carmen Saldaña

    A big bear tunneling out of the ground like a bunny
    Albert Whitman & Company

    What it's about: Bunnybear was born a bear, but identifies more with bunny things, like bouncing in the thicket and being fluffy and tiny at heart. Despite knowing he's a bunny, many bunnies don't understand him, and neither do the bears, until he finds a bunny friend named Grizzlybun who is as burly on the outside as Bunnybear is soft on the inside.

    Get it from Bookshop, Target, or your local indie through Indiebound here.

    18. I Love My Purse by Belle Demont, illustrated by Sonja Wimmer

    A boy skateboarding around town while holding a red purse
    Annick Press

    What it's about: After wearing a purse to school, Charlie is questioned by the people around him as to why he would choose to wear a purse given he's a boy, but this doesn't deter him. Charlie is authentically himself, which later inspires those who once questioned him to also be unafraid and 100% true to themselves.

    Get it from Bookshop, Target, or your local indie through Indiebound here.

    19. Who Are You?: The Kid's Guide to Gender Identity by Brook Pessin-Whedbee, illustrated by Naomi Bardoff

    Kids playing around a tree
    Jessica Kingsley Publishers

    What it's about: This book is described as "a straightforward introduction to gender for anyone aged 5-8" that provides clear language for talking about how we experience gender. An interactive wheel is also provided within the book which "[demonstrates] the difference between our body, how we express ourselves through our clothes and hobbies, and our gender identity."

    Get it from Bookshop, Amazon, or your local indie through Indiebound here.

    20. Red: A Crayon's Story by Michael Hall

    A blue crayon with a red wrapper over it
    Greenwillow Books

    What it's about: The story follows a blue crayon that was mistakenly labeled as red. The people (or rather, office supplies) around him try to convince him he's red, but he knows he can't be that no matter how hard he tries. It isn't until he meets a new friend with a new perspective that he realizes he was blue this entire time.

    Get it from Bookshop, Target, or your local indie through Indiebound here.

    21. Introducing Teddy: A gentle story about gender and friendship by Jessica Walton, illustrations by Dougal MacPherson

    A bear looking into a mirror wishing they were wearing a bow in their hair
    Bloomsbury USA Childrens

    What it's about: Best friends Errol and Thomas do everything together. One day, Errol discovers that something is going on with Thomas, and Thomas reveals that she's always known she's a girl and that she'd like to go by the name Tilly from now on. Errol understands and tells his friend that he still loves her, no matter what.

    Get it from Bookshop, Target, or your local indie through Indiebound here.

    Now it's your turn! What children's books about gender identity and gender expression are you a fan of?

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