The Kids Are All Right

You Can’t Have Too Many LGBTQ+ Children’s Books

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Margaret Kingsbury

Contributing Editor

Margaret Kingsbury grew up in a house so crammed with books she couldn’t open a closet door without a book stack tumbling, and she’s brought that same decorative energy to her adult life. Margaret has an MA in English with a concentration in writing and has worked as a bookseller and adjunct English professor. She’s currently a freelance writer and editor, and in addition to Book Riot, her pieces have appeared in School Library Journal, BuzzFeed News, The Lily, Parents, StarTrek.com, and more. She particularly loves children’s books, fantasy, science fiction, horror, graphic novels, and any books with disabled characters. You can read more about her bookish and parenting shenanigans in Book Riot’s twice-weekly The Kids Are All Right newsletter. You can also follow her kidlit bookstagram account @BabyLibrarians, or on Twitter @AReaderlyMom.

Happy Sunday, kidlit friends! It’s the end of Pride Month, and while I’ve already recommended some queer kidlit, I’ve got some more in this newsletter. After all, every month is Pride Month! First, I review two fantastic new releases.

New Releases

Cover of Sparrow Loves Birds by Murry Burgess, illustrated by Tamisha Anthony

Sparrow Loves Birds by Murry Burgess, illustrated by Tamisha Anthony

There have been oodles of new children’s books about birds released this year, and I’m loving all of them. This rhyming picture book is about a young girl named Sparrow who loves watching birds. On a hike, she notices woodpeckers hammering the trees, listens to singing chickadees, and enjoys watching her favorite hummingbirds zipping everywhere. Sparrow records all the birds she sees in a notebook she carries with her. Back matter includes a glossary of birds.

Villains Academy by Ryan Hammond

Villains Academy by Ryan Hammond

This highly illustrated middle grade series starter is hilarious. Villains Academy guarantees all student monsters will leave as first-class villains. Werewolf Bram Moon doesn’t feel very villainous. He wants to make his parents, teachers, and friends happy and proud of him, but doing so means going against who he is. Can he figure out how to be a villain and be himself? This middle grade fantasy is written at an easier reading level, so it’s perfect for middle graders needing something more accessible, or early readers who are a bit more advanced.

For a more comprehensive list of new releases, check out our New Books newsletter.

Riot Recommendations

It’s impossible to recommend too many queer books, so I decided to fill this newsletter up with some more picture book LGBTQ+ kidlit recommendations. I also recommend checking out Danika’s Our Queerest Shelves newsletter. It includes books for adults and kids.

Cover of Marley's Pride by Joëlle Retener, illustrated by DeAnn Wiley

Marley’s Pride by Joëlle Retener, illustrated by DeAnn Wiley

Marley loves spending time with their grandparent Zaza, who attends the Pride parade every year. But crowds make Marley feel anxious, so they never attend with Zaza. This year, however, Zaza is receiving an award for helping transgender people like Marley and Zaza. Marley has to figure out a way to attend. This is an affirming, colorful picture book. Back matter includes a history of Pride and frequently asked questions about being queer.

Cover of Harper Becomes a Big Sister by Seamus Kirst, illustrated by Karen Bunting

Harper Becomes a Big Sister by Seamus Kirst, illustrated by Karen Bunting

This picture book is great for siblings whose caregivers are expecting a baby. Harper loves hanging out with her dads, whether it’s time for Taco Tuesday, watching Saturday morning cartoons, or playing at the playground. When her dads tell Harper that they’re adopting a baby and she’s soon going to be a big sister, she’s elated. She can’t wait to do all her favorite things with her new sibling. However, when the baby arrives, he can’t do anything but eat, sleep, cry, and poop. Worst of all, her dads are too exhausted to do any of their normal daily activities with Harper. She feels left out and unloved. But by communicating their feelings, the family is able to find a solution.

Cover of Nen and the Lonely Fisherman by Ian Eagleton & James Mayhew

Nen and the Lonely Fisherman by Ian Eagleton & James Mayhew

This is a lovely gender-bent retelling of “The Little Mermaid” that eliminates the ableism from the original tale. Nen is a merman who loves watching the human world, especially Ernest the fisherman. One day Ernest follows Nen’s song into the ocean, and the two begin to talk and fall in love. But this angers Nen’s father, who causes a storm that throws Ernest into the sea. Another similar book to check out is A Match for a Mermaid.

Cover of Rainbow Allies by Nancy Churin, illustrated by Izzy Evans

Rainbow Allies by Nancy Churin, illustrated by Izzy Evans

This picture book is based on a true story. In a Massachusetts neighborhood lives a lesbian couple — Cari, Lauri, and their two dogs. The neighborhood thrives on being welcoming to all. When someone tears down Cari and Lauri’s Pride flag and eggs their house, they despair. But the neighborhood kids rally together, and every house on the street hangs a rainbow flag, showing the couple their support. This is a great way to show kids how to be good allies.

Bookish Good

Kitty Bookmark by DrawnByNana

Kitty Bookmark by DrawnByNana

My cat-loving kid would scream in happiness if I gave her this purrfectly adorable bookmark. $4

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Mall playground, the kids are all right

To beat the heat and stay entertained this week, we went to a small mall playground one afternoon. I wish there were more free indoor playgrounds!

If you’d like to read more of my kidlit reviews, I’m on Instagram @BabyLibrarians, X @AReaderlyMom, Bluesky @AReaderlyMom, and blog irregularly at Baby Librarians. You can also read my Book Riot posts. If you’d like to drop me a line, my email is kingsbury.margaret@gmail.com.

All the best,

Margaret Kingsbury