One of our core beliefs at Stories of a Colorful World is that Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) kids should be able to find books that reflect who they are; their background, their interests, and who they dare to be as their future selves. For so many years, it was difficult for families to find their faces and experiences in the pages of children’s books. It can still be quite a daunting task, particularly when searching for the combination of queer BIPOC characters by BIPOC authors. Yikes! There are still way too few books for families to choose from.
With that in mind, we are sharing a few books featuring lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer/questioning (LGBTQ) characters written by BIPOC authors.
These books aren’t just for families with a connection to LGBTQIA+ issues. They can be powerful tools to teach that love, empathy, and inclusivity are common things that bind us.
Born Ready: The True Story of a Boy Named Penelope by Jodie Patterson, Charnelle Pinkney Barlow
Penelope knows who he is and what he likes, but no one else seems to understand. When Penelope confides in his mom that he doesn’t feel like a boy but is a boy, the journey begins to help everyone around him that he truly is…a ninja. (Ages 4-8)
My Rainbow by Trinity & DeShanna Neal, Art Twink
Trinity is an autistic, transgender girl that wants long hair more than anything. Her sensitivity to touch makes growing her hair out very difficult. Her mother and brother go to work on making sure Trinity gets the hair that is as special as she is.
This book uses many terms that may need unpacking for young readers, but it is a positive conversation starter to both trans and autistic experiences. (Ages 4-8)
One of a Kind, Like Me/Unico Como Yo by Laurin Mayeno, Robert Liu Trujillo
This bilingual book takes readers on Danny’s journey to find a “just right” costume for the school parade. He searches everywhere, but nothing quite worked out. Will he be able to find it in time? (Ages 4-8)
The Best At It by Maulik Pancholy
Written by actor Maulik Pancholy (30 Rock), this middle-grade book follows the life of Raul Kapoor. Raul is a 7th-grader dealing with typical middle school problems like figuring out what he’s good at and navigating friendships. But Raul is also gay and first-generation Indian American, so he’s also dealing with both racism and homophobia. Raul is on a quest to figure out what he’s good at. Will he ever figure it out? (Ages 8-12)
Meow or Never: Wish Novel by Jazz Taylor
Avery has been in town for a few months but still hasn’t been able to make friends. Due to her anxiety, she struggles to talk to others without having a panic attack. She eventually finds a friend, the stray cat hanging around the theatre closet at school.
One day her crush overhears her singing and convinces her to try out for the school play and she gets the lead. But how is she supposed to perform in front of people? (Ages 8-12)
Hurricane Child by Kacen Callender
Caroline was born during a hurricane, and it’s said to be bad luck. When she was young, her mother left her and her father inexplicably. Feeling hurt and confused, she can’t quite figure out her place in the world. Additionally, she is often bullied in school for her dark skin, and her father often occupies himself at work, ignoring Caroline’s inquiries. She even sees things that she can’t quite explain. Caroline feels so alone.
That is until she meets Kalinda, a new student from Barbados. It’s rare for new students to join Caroline’s tiny St. Thomas school, so Caroline is intrigued by Kalinda. She’s drawn to Kalinda’s confidence and wants to befriend her. Is this the connection she’s been looking for? Will Caroline find the answers about herself and her mother? (Ages 8-12)
There is so much work that needs to be done in this area to increase access and representation in children’s books. You can find a few more titles with LGBTQIA+ characters written by BIPOC authors in our Bookshop collection, “Pride: Books featuring LGBTQIA+ characters.” We are constantly updating our selections. Let us know what titles excite you.