Compiled by Nancy Silverrod, San Francisco Public Library
Abramchick, Lois. Is Your Family Like Mine? Open Heart, Open Mind Publishing, 1993.
Kindergartner Armetha suddenly realizes her family is different from the families of her friends, but her friends all agree with her two mothers that what's important in a family is love. Black and white illustrations. Somewhat didactic.
Alden, Joan. A Boy's Best Friend. Boston: Alyson Wonderland, 1992.
Will's allergies prevent him from having a dog, but his two moms come up with the perfect solution.
Aldrich, Andrew. How My Family Came to Be: Daddy, Papa and Me. Oakland, CA: New Family Press, 2003.
This is the first picture book about gay fathers adopting children. The brief, happy story is appropriate to its audience of toddlers discovering differences in the kinds of families they encounter. The process of adoption is briefly explained for the curious (and the body language and facial expression of one of the fathers during the home study was great), the explanation for the adoption is age appropriate, and adoption is presented as a loving way to create a family. The fact that the adoption was an interracial one is not commented upon. The illustrations are, unfortunately, unattractively cartoonish. However, the flaws are outweighed by the importance of the book and the great need for books like this in our community.
Arnold, Jeanne. Amy Asks a Question. Racine, WI: Mother Courage Press, 1996.
Ten-year-old Amy has lesbian grandmothers, but she doesn't know what the word "lesbian" means. Her grandmothers provide positive and reassuring answers to her question. The only book that deals with gay or lesbian-grandparents. Unfortunately the tone is didactic, and the black and white line drawings don't have a lot of kid-appeal.
Atkins, Jeannine. A Name on the Quilt: A Story of Remembrance. New York: Atheneum, 1999.
Lauren's family gathers to make a quilt panel in memory of Uncle Ron. An afterword includes some photographs of AIDS quilt panels and an introduction to the Names Project.
Bantle, Lee. Diving for the Moon. New York: MacMillan, 1995.
Sixth-grader Bird finds out her best friend, Josh, is HIV positive. Positive representation of two gay background characters.
Bargar, Gary. What Happened to Mr. Forster? New York: Clarion, 1981.
Sixth-grader Louis stands up for his teacher when Mr. Forster is fired for being gay.
Bosche, Susanne. Jenny Lives With Eric and Martin. London: Gay Men's Press, 1983.
A photo-essay about five-year-old Jenny who lives with her dad, Martin, and his lover Eric. Age-appropriate, positive depiction and discussion of gay families.
Brown, Forman. The Generous Jefferson Bartleby Jones. Boston: Alyson Wonderland, 1991.
A boy loans out his two dads to friends who complain they never get to see their own fathers.
Burks, Stephanie. While You Were Sleeping. Victoria, B.C.: Burks Publishing/ Trafford, 2004.
Two moms go about their morning activities, hoping to hear that their soon-to-be-adopted baby has been born. Each action they take on the way to meeting their new son is told briefly with the refrain, "while you were sleeping." A warm adoption story featuring a mixed-race family.
Chetin, Helen. How Far is Berkeley? New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1977.
Twelve-year-old Mike and her mother move to Berkeley in the early 1970s, live in a communal household, and go to a women's coffeehouse where there are lesbians. Dated story may still appeal to some.
Combs, Bobbie. A B C: A Family Alphabet Book. Ridley Park, PA: Two Lives Publishing, 2001.
Children learn their ABC's in this book featuring multicultural gay and lesbian parented families.
Combs, Bobbie. 1 2 3: A Family Counting Book. Ridley Park, PA: Two Lives Publishing, 2001.
Children learn to count to twenty in this colorfully illustrated book featuring multicultural gay and lesbian parented families. The text does not specify same sex parents, but they can be identified in many of the illustrations.
Cooper, Melrose. Life Magic. New York: Holt, 1996.
Sixth-grader Crystal feels outshone by her older and younger sisters, but Uncle Joe helps her realize how special she is. When he dies of AIDS she takes it very hard. Realistic and well-written.
Coville, Bruce. The Skull of Truth. San Diego: Harcourt Brace, 1997.
In a minor subplot, the Skull of Truth compels Uncle Bennie to come out at a family gathering, and sixth-grader, Charlie must come to accept this new information about his favorite uncle.
Davis, Deborah. My Brother Has AIDS. New York: Atheneum, 1994.
Thirteen-year-old Lacey's much older brother has returned home to die, and her parents don't cope very well.
Ages 10-15. Not recommended.
De Haan, Linda. King & King. Berkeley, CA: Tricycle Press, 2001.
The Queen is ready to retire, so she wants her son to marry and take over, but none of the princesses she brings in appeal to Prince Bertie. Finally he meets Prince Lee, and a royal wedding takes place, with everyone living happily ever after.
De Haan, Linda. King & King & Family. Berkeley, CA: Tricycle Press, 2004.
King Bertie and King Lee set off on their honeymoon in the jungle, and notice all the animals with their babies. When they get home, they discover a little girl has stowed away in their luggage, and they adopt her, starting a family of their own.
DePaola, Tomie. Oliver Button is a Sissy. San Diego: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1979.
Young Oliver isn't interested in sports and other "boy" things, preferring to dance. Despite teasing him, his father allows him to take dancing lessons "for the exercise," and Oliver impresses everyone at a talent show.
Donovan, John. I'll Get There, It Better Be Worth the Trip. New York: Dell, 1969.
Thirteen-year-old Davy has been forced to live with his alcoholic and histrionic mother. When his dog is hit by a car due to his mother's carelessness on the same night he and his friend Doug were drinking and making out, he sees Fred's death as a punishment for being queer, and pushes Doug (who is not feeling as anxious about their activity) away. In the end, he decides he can still be Doug's friend. This is the first young adult book with any specific gay content and, despite the less than fully positive attitudes, is engaging and well written.
Drescher, Joan E. Your Family, My Family. New York: Walker, 1980.
Among the many families described is that of Peggy and her two moms, Margo and Rita. Possibly the earliest picture book featuring a gay or lesbian parented family. Illustrations look dated, but the text is still pertinent.
Duane, Diane. So You Want to Be a Wizard? New York: Delacorte, 1983.
Thirteen-year-old Nita discovers she is a wizard, and is supervised by senior wizards Tom and Carl, a gay male couple whose relationship is not commented upon.
Durrant, Penny Raife. When Heroes Die. New York: Atheneum, 1992.
Twelve-year- old Gary learns that his Uncle Ron (who he sees as a father-figure) is gay at the same time that he learns he has AIDS. Ron dies very quickly after the announcement. Stiff writing and a stilted dialogue mar this book, although Gary comes to accept his uncle's sexuality very quickly with the support of his mother and his former babysitter who lives next door.
Edmonds, Barbara Lynn. Mama Eat Ant, Yuck! Hundredth Munchy Publications, 2000.
Mama and Mommy's one-year-old Emma utters her first words when Mama accidentally eats an ant that was in her breakfast cereal. A funny story with an unfortunately forced rhyming text, and amateurish illustrations.
Edmonds, Barbara Lynn. When Grown-Ups Fall in Love. Hundredth Munchy Publications, 2000.
Poor writing, and amateurish illustrations and design mar this is a book with a good message (love and caring are what make a family).
Eichler, Margrit. Martin's Father. Chapel Hill, NC: Lollipop Power, 1971.
A charming picture book about young Martin, who lives with his single father, who is "the best father in the world! Simple black and white illustrations vary in quality, but overall add to the story. No gay content, but a good choice for single father families.
Elwin, Rosamund. Asha's Mums. Toronto: Women's Press, 1990.
Asha explains to her class that she really does have two mothers.
Fierstein, Harvey. The Sissy Duckling. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2002.
Elmer the duckling is not like the other boy ducklings, and he suffers the derision of his schoolmates and his father, but he proves that a "sissy" can be a real hero. Papa's declaration "If Elmer is a sissy, then I wish I were a sissy too!" is a resounding moment of triumph.
Freeman, Martha. The Trouble With Babies. New York: Holiday House, 2002.
Nine-year-old Holly is adjusting to a move from one San Francisco neighborhood to another. Among her new friends is next-door neighbor and boy-genius, Dr X, or Xavier, who lives with his two dads, and Chinese/Jewish Annie and her yucky baby sister. Little is said about Xavier's dads. Holly knows that her parents have gay friends, and comments that Xavier's having two dads is "not usual, but it's not weird."
Gage, Carolyn. "Becca and the Woman Prince." In Love Shook My Heart. Ed. Irene Zahava. Los Angeles: Alyson, 1998.
Princess Becca refuses to act like a lady, and the king is unable to marry her off to any of the many princes summoned to court her. Finally Ymoja, an African woman prince, arrives to court Becca with better success, but the king and queen suddenly have misgivings and tell her that Becca has already been spoken for. Becca and Ymoja run away, and live happily ever after.
Ages 8-12. Other stories in the collection are not suitable for children.
Garden, Nancy. The Case of the Stolen Scarab: A Candlestone Inn Mystery. Ridley Park, PA: Two Lives Publishing, 2004.
Twelve-year-old Nikki and eleven-year-old Travis suspect the various guests at their moms' bed-and-breakfast when the local sheriff warns them about an art theft, and a stranger with amnesia shows up. Threats don't deter their investigation, and in the end, they do catch the crooks.
Garden, Nancy. Holly's Secret. New York: Farrar, Straus, Giroux, 2000.
Twelve-year- old Holly decides that a move to country is a chance to try on a new identity one in which she doesn't have lesbian parents. Unrealistically, her mothers don't challenge her on this, or make any effort to meet with school personnel to help her make a successful transition.
Ages 10-14. Not recommended.
Garden, Nancy. Molly's Family. Farrar, Strauss, Giroux, 2004.
Kindergartner Molly is upset when a classmate looks at her drawing of her family and tells her she can't have two mothers. With the support and encouragement of the teacher and her parents, who point out that there are many kinds of families, Molly feels proud to display her picture for the class open house.
Gleitzman, Morris. Two Weeks With the Queen. England: Blackie, 1989; New York: Putnam, 1991.
Colin's friendship with a young gay man whose lover is dying of AIDS helps him face his brother's pending death from cancer. Funny, tender, and sad.
Gould, Lois. "X: A Fabulous Child's Story." Prejudice: Stories About Hate, Ignorance, Revelation, and Transformation. Ed. by Daphne Muse. New York: Hyperion Books for Children, 1995.
In an experiment, baby X's parents try to raise a child free of gender stereotyping.
Ages 9 and up. Other stories in the collection are appropriate for a young adult readership.
Hanlon, Emily. The Wing and the Flame. Scarsdale, NY: Bradbury Press, 1980.
When fourteen-year-old Eric befriends an elderly sculptor who lives as a hermit on a mountain outside of town, his parents become suspicious and forbid Eric to see Owen again, little realizing that the actual homosexual relationship they fear is the one Eric and his best friend, Chris tentatively explore one day in a cave on the mountain. Unfortunately Eric can't cope with his feelings and pushes Chris away. While he is able to resume his friendship with Chris, he doesn't return to the mountain and Owen until five years later, when he discovers Owen dead in the cave.
Ages 12 and up
Heron, Ann. How Would You Feel if Your Dad Was Gay? Boston: Alyson Wonderland, 1994.
When Jasmine tells her class that she has three fathers (one stepfather and two gay fathers) she gets some negative reactions not the least of which comes from her older brother who doesn't appreciate being outed. Their fathers help them deal with the harassment, and their differing needs about being open about their family configuration. They also talk to the school principal who schedules a special assembly to discuss different kinds of families and the importance of respect for diversity. Black and white illustrations and a wordy text make this picture book appropriate for a somewhat older audience.
Hoffman, Eric. Best Best Colors/Los Mejores Colores. St. Paul, MN: Read Leaf Press, 1999.
A little boy can't decide which is his favorite color, but when his two mothers get a rainbow flag, he realizes all the colors are beautiful-especially together. Colorful, attractive illustrations will attract children who will recognize their own difficulties in choosing favorites.
Howe, James. The Misfits. New York: Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2001.
Twelve-year-old Joe is gay, and along with his friends, a group who call themselves the Misfits, he is suffering his first crush. With supportive family and friends he is able to deal with the homophobia he encounters, and by the end of the book he has a date for the school dance with the boy he has a crush on.
Howe, James. Pinky and Rex and the Bully. New York: Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 1996.
Pinky is a boy whose favorite color is pink, and whose best friend is a girl, Rex. When the neighborhood bully gets on his case about these things, Pinky begins to doubt himself. With the support of a neighbor, he decides to be true to himself and stand up to the bully.
Johnson-Calvo, Sarita. A Beach Party With Alexis: A Coloring Book. Boston: Alyson Wonderland, 1991.
Alexis has a beach party with her two moms, lots of friends, and their parents, gay and straight.
Jordan, MaryKate. Losing Uncle Tim. Niles, IL: A. Whitman, 1989.
Daniel has a special relationship with his Uncle Tim. When Tim is dying of AIDS Daniel is angry, and also fearful that he could catch AIDS, but his parents are reassuring, allowing Daniel to continue his special relationship to the end. 1990 Lambda Award winner.
Kaye, Marilyn. Real Heroes. San Diego: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1993.
Twelve- year-old Kevin's loyalties are torn when his father spearheads a group trying to remove his favorite teacher who is HIV positive.
Kennedy, Joseph. Lucy Goes to the Country. Los Angeles, Alyson Wonderland, 1998.
Lucy the cat loves to go to the country with her two Big Guys, and gets into a bit of a scrape with an upstart dog who comes to a party at their home. Kids will enjoy the madcap upheaval, but adults may find it all a bit too precious.
Klein, Norma. Now That I Know. New York: Bantam Books, 1988.
After her parents divorce, thirteen-year-old Nina's father announces that he's gay at the same time that he tells Nina that his lover, Greg will be moving in the next day. Although Nina likes Greg, she is uncomfortable with the fact that her father is gay, and is angry that he didn't prepare her for Greg's moving in. With the help of positive reactions from her best friend and her new boyfriend, and after a cooling off period where she avoids her father, Nina finally comes to terms with the situation and mends her fences with her father and Greg. The book may seem somewhat dated to some readers.
Leaf, Munro. The Story of Ferdinand. New York: Viking Perss, 1936.
To his mother's concern, Ferdinand the bull doesn't like to romp around and butt heads with the other young bulls, but prefers to sit and smell the flowers. A bee sting at the wrong moment gets him sent to the bullfights in Madrid, where his natural inclinations save him from a cruel end.
Maguire, Gregory. Oasis. New York: Clarion, 1996.
Thirteen-year-old Hand deals with his father's death from a heart attack, the return of his absent mother after three years, and his uncle's illness and death from AIDS.
Meyer, Carolyn. Elliott and Win. New York: Atheneum, 1986.
Win has a positive relationship with his big brother, Elliott, a man who fits a number of gay stereotypes, though his sexuality is never mentioned.
Naylor, Phyllis. Alice Alone. New York: Atheneum, 2001.
Secondary characters in this entry of the popular Alice series are dealing with questions about their sexuality.
Naylor, Phyliss. Alice On the Outside. New York: Atheneum, 1999.
When Alice's new friend Lori comes out to her and expresses her interest in Alice, Alice responds with friendliness despite not sharing Lori's feelings.
Nelson, Theresa. Earthshine. New York: Orchard Books, 1994.
With the help of her dad's lover and a support group for middle schoolers who have relatives with AIDS, Slim comes to accept her father's death.
Newman, Leslea. Belinda's Bouquet. Boston: Alyson Wonderland, 1991.
In a warm and supportive story, Daniel and his two mothers help Belinda accept her body. Illustrations are somewhat amateurish.
Newman, Leslea. Felicia's Favorite Story. Ridley Park, PA: Two Lives Publishing, 2002.
In this pleasant bedtime story that all adopted children will appreciate, Felicia asks to hear about how her two mothers adopted her from Guatemala. Illustrations are somewhat amateurish.
Newman, Leslea. Gloria Goes to Gay Pride. Boston: Alyson Wonderland, 1991.
Gloria goes to Gay Pride with her two mothers. Black and white pencil illustrations.
Newman, Leslea. Heather Has Two Mommies. Boston: Alyson Wonderland, 1989.
Three-year-old Heather discovers that there are all kinds of families. A classic.
Newman, Leslea. "Right Off the Bat". In Speaking for Ourselves: Stories by Jewish Lesbians. Ed. Irene Zahava. Freedom, CA: Crossing Press, 1990.
Twelve-year-old Ronnie decides to be up front about her lesbian mother in order to avoid later rejection, but she sometimes wishes her mother and Linda would be more discreet. Didactic. Other stories in the collection are not suitable for children.
Newman, Leslea. Saturday is Pattyday. Norwich, VT: New Victoria, 1993.
Patty reassures preschooler, Frankie that she will always be his mom, even though she and his other mom, Allie, have split up.
Newman, Leslea. Too Far Away to Touch. New York, Clarion, 1995.
Zoe's Uncle Leonard is dying of AIDS, and he and his partner, Nathan, comfort her. The longer text and use of metaphor make this a picture book for an older audience.
Nones, Eric. Caleb's Friend. New York: Farrar, Strauss, Giroux, 1993.
A brief and unusual friendship between two boys is remembered and honored by one of them for the rest of his life, and can be read as homo-affectionate.
Okimoto, Jean Davies and Elaine M. Aoki. The White Swan Express: A Story About Adoption. New York: Clarion, 2002.
While four baby girls in China wait for their new parents to arrive from the United States, seven adults are preparing for their trips to China to take home their new daughters. Among the adoptive parents is a lesbian couple. Beautiful watercolor artwork, and a warm, loving story will appeal not only to young adoptees from China, but all young children.
Parr, Todd. The Family Book. Boston: Little, Brown, 2003.
A colorful celebration of families of all kinds.
Parr, Todd. It's Okay to Be Different. Boston: Little, Brown, 2001.
In this colorful picture book, Parr enumerates many kinds of ways that it's okay to be different (being adopted, wearing glasses, talking about feelings, etc.). The issue of same-sex parents is introduced obliquely, stating that "It is okay to have different Moms. It is okay to have different Dads," statements that can easily be used as a lead-in to a discussion of different types of families.
Quinlan, Patricia. Tiger Flowers. New York : Dial Books for Young Readers, 1994.
Uncle Michael comes to live with Joel and his family while he is dying of AIDS. Together, Joel and Michael remember Michael's partner, Peter, and later Joel helps his younger sister remember Michael.
Roos, Stephen. "Picky Eater" In 13: Thirteen Stories That Capture the Agony and Ecstasy of Being Thirteen. Ed. James Howe. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2003.
Nelson's just a bit too weird to admit to being friends with, but Woody will sometimes hang out with him after school, even when he's practicing for cheerleader try-outs dressed as a girl. One evening the thought of kissing Nelson pops into Woody's head, and he hurries home in a panic, only to find out the next morning that Nelson has died of an asthma attack in the night.
Rylant, Cynthia. The Star. The Van Gogh Café. New York: Scholastic, 1995.
Magical things happen in the Van Gogh Café. In this story, an elderly film star comes to wait for his true love, a young man he met many years ago.
Sachar, Louis. Marvin Redpost, Is He a Girl? New York: Random House, 1993.
Can a boy really turn into a girl if he accidentally kisses his elbow? Does wanting to learn to play jacks and wear sparkly clothes make him a girl? Nine-year-old Marvin has a lot of worries. In a disappointing ending that reinforces sex role stereotypes, he manages to kiss his elbow again, and returns to his macho self, although he does befriend a girl in his class.
Ages 7-9. Not recommended.
Salat, Christina. Living in Secret. New York: Bantam Books, 1993.
Amelia runs away with her lesbian mother to start a new life, with a new identity in San Francisco.
Ages 10-15. Recommended.
Sanchez, Alex. "If You Kiss a Boy" in 13: Thirteen Stories That Capture the Agony and Ecstasy of Being Thirteen. Ed. James Howe. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2003.
Joe kisses his best friend Jamal while they're at a movie. Jamal kisses him back, then panics and won't meet his eyes for a couple of days, during which Joe suffers agonies, and is helped by a gay teacher.
Sanchez, Alex. So Hard to Say. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2004.
Thirteen-year-old Frederick (not Fred or Rick) has just moved to Southern California from Wisconsin. Xio lends him her pen and develops an immediate crush, and gets her group of girlfriends to help her befriend him. Soon he has a group of pals he plays soccer with every day, as well as Xio and her gang. Told in alternating chapters by Xio and Frederick, we follow the trajectory of her crush, his discomfort with it, the homophobic teasing of a gay classmate, and Frederick's slow realization that he, too, is gay. Well written.
Severance, Jan. When Megan Went Away. Chapel Hill, NC: Lollipop Power, 1979.
Shannon is sad when Megan moves out, and she feels shut out by her mother, but the two finally have a reassuring talk about the breakup of Shannon's mom and Megan. Future contact between Shannon and Megan is not discussed, so this is a less reassuring book than Leslea Newman's -Saturday is Pattyday. Illustrations are amateurish.
Severance, Jan. Lots of Mommies. Chapel Hill, NC: Lollipop Power, 1983.
Emily lives in a communal household where she has four (two Caucasian, one African American, one Asian) mommies who take care of her in different ways, When all four show up at school when Emily hurts her arm, her classmates finally believe her claim that she has "lots of mommies." Simple, one-color illustrations vary in quality and look a bit dated.
Shannon, George. Seeds. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1994.
In this delightful story, a young boy named Warren becomes friends with his single next door neighbor, an artist named Bill. One of the pleasures they share together is gardening, and when Warren and his family move away, he finds a way to keep sharing gardening with Bill. While Bill may or may not be gay, it's certainly possible to read that into the story.
Shyer, Marlene. The Rainbow Kite. Tarrytown, NY: Marshall Cavendish, 2002.
Twelve-year-old Matthew relates discovering that his fifteen-year-old brother Bennett is gay, the quick acceptance of their mother, and the anger and disappointment of their demanding father. Following harassment and a hate crime, Bennett attempts suicide, and refuses to talk. His parents don't follow through with their plan of finding him a therapist. Bennett and his family do have some support in the form of their lesbian neighbors, the principal of the boys' middle school, and a number of friends, but other friends are forbidden to see them. The message is a bit labored at times, and the hopeful ending rings false.
Simon, Norma. All Families Are Special. Albert Whitman, 2003.
A group of children describe their families during a discussion with their teacher.
Simpson, Christine. Jenny's Locket. Buffalo, NY: Stoddart Kids, 1998.
Eleven-year- old Jenny is saddened by her uncle's illness and impending death from AIDS, angry that her parents are so unavailable as they take care of him, and afraid her friends will reject her if they find out. Unfortunately the stream-of-conscious, breathless writing is cloying and didactic.
Ages 10-12. Not recommended.
Sobol, Rose. Woman Chief. New York: Dial Press, 1976.
Based on a true story, this is a fictional account of Woman Chief who was recognized as a hunter, warrior, and leader, and who had five wives.
Springer, Nancy. Looking for Jamie Bridger. New York: Dial Books for Young Readers, 1995.
Raised by her fundamentalist grandparents, Jamie searches for her real parents and is surprised to discover she has a gay older brother.
Sullivan, Mary W. What's This About Pete? Nashville, TN: T, Nelson, 1976.
Pete worries that he might not be normal since he enjoys doing "girl" things such as sewing, and when a man in a car propositions him he is convinced he must be a homosexual. He goes to Doc Logan at school, who reassures him, saying that there is nothing wrong with being homosexual, but that liking to sew, or being propositioned aren't signs that he is. Unfortunately, this supportive view is set in such a poorly written novel that readers aren't likely to get that far into it.
Ages 12-14. Not recommended.
Tax, Meredith. Families. Boston: Little, Brown, 1981.
Angie describes the families she knows in her neighborhood, including her friend Susie's family which consists of Susie, her mother and her godmother. A charming book.
Valentine, Johnny. The Daddy Machine. Boston: Alyson Wonderland, 1992.
Two girls who live with their two mothers decide to build a Daddy machine, but it works too well and they end up with a house full of Dads. Black and white illustrations.
Valentine, Johnny. The Day They Put a Tax on Rainbows. Boston: Alyson Wonderland, 1992.
Three original fairy tales featuring kids with gay or lesbian parents.
Valentine, Johnny. The Duke Who Outlawed Jellybeans. Boston: Alyson Wonderland, 1993.
A collection of original fairy tales featuring gay and lesbian characters.
Valentine, Johnny. One Dad, Two Dads, Brown Dad, Blue Dad. Boston: Alyson Wonderland, 1994.
In a Dr. Seuss take-off, Lou explains that although his two dads are blue, they are just like any other dads.
Valentine, Johnny. Two Moms, the Zark, and Me. Boston: Alyson Wonderland, 1993.
When the narrator gets separated from his two moms at the zoo, a bigoted family tries unsuccessfully to keep him from being reunited with them. Awkward rhyming and unattractive cartoon illustrations detract from the message.
Vigna, Judith. My Two Uncles. Morton Grove, IL: A. Whitman, 1995.
Elly is sad that her grandfather can't accept her uncle's lover, someone she particularly enjoys having in her life. Her father explains that Grampy is uncomfortable with gay people, and then explains what "gay" means. By the end of the book there is some slight softening on Grampy's part.
Weeks, Sarah. Red Ribbon. New York: HarperCollins, 1995.
A little girl named Jenny is concerned about her neighbor who suddenly looks "so old." Her mother gives her a red ribbon to wear, but she doesn't explain that the neighbor has AIDS. The only discussion of AIDS is in an author' s note at the beginning, and in a brief afterward-both written for adults. The rhyming text is awkward at times, perhaps because it was originally written as a song.
Ages 4-8. Not recommended.
Wickens, Elaine. Anna Day and the O-Ring. Boston: Alyson Wonderland, 1994.
In this photo-essay, Evan, his two moms, and his dog try to put a tent together.
Willhoite, Michael. Daddy's Roommate. Boston: Alyson Wonderland, 1990.
Nick enjoys spending time with his father and his father's roommate, Frank.
Willhoite, Michael. Daddy's Wedding. Los Angeles: Alyson Wonderland, 1996.
Nick serves as the best man at his father's wedding to Frank (of Daddy's Roommate).
Willhoite, Michael. The Entertainer. Boston: Alyson Wonderland, 1992.
In a wordless picture story we meet Alex, a kid with two moms, who likes to juggle. Discovered by an agent, he goes on stage where he is a huge hit. But he longs for his simple life.
Willhoite, Michael. Families: A Coloring Book. Boston: Alyson Wonderland, 1991.
Brief text on each page describes many different types of families, including families with gay and lesbian parents.
Willhoite, Michael. Uncle What-is-It is Coming to Visit. Boston: Alyson Wonderland, 1993.
When Igor and Tiffany's mother avoids answering their question about what "gay" means, they ask around the neighborhood and get their heads filled with stereotypes-which Uncle Brett shatters when he finally shows up. Cartoon illustrations detract from the story.
Wilson, Barbara. A Clear Spring. New York: Feminist Press, 2002.
Her father and his wife have a new baby, so it's decided that almost-twelve-year-old Willa should go to Seattle to stay with her Aunt Ceci and Ceci's partner Janie, rather than visiting him like she usually does each summer. Despite her disappointment, Willa likes Ceci and Janie and the other relatives she has in Seattle, and she ends up having a great time. Ceci and Janie's relationship is accepted by everyone and not mentioned other than to say they have been together for ten years.
Withrow, Sarah. Box Girl. Toronto: Groundwood Books, 2001.
Gwen rejects overtures of friendship from new girl, Clara, and pushes her father and his partner, Leon, away because Leon is moving in, and she doesn't want Clara to find out her father and Leon are gay.
Ages 10-13. Not recommended.
Woodson, Jacqueline. From the Notebooks of Melanin Sun. New York: Scholastic, 1995.
Melanin Sun struggles with, and comes to accept his mother's lesbianism-and the fact that his mother's lover is a white woman.
Zalben, Jane Breskin. Unfinished Dreams. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1996.
Sixth-grader Jason defends his mentor and school principal against the homophobic response of the community when it is revealed that Mr. Carr has AIDS.
Zolotow, Charlotte. William's Doll. New York: Harper & Row, 1972.
Young William wants a doll, but his father refuses, and his brother and the neighbor boy teases him. Finally his grandmother convinces his father that having a doll will help teach William how to be a good father.
Gordon, Sol. All Families Are Different. Amherst, NY: Prometheus Books, 2000.
An overly purposeful book describing different kinds of families, including parents of the same sex.
Ages 4-9. Not recommended.
Greenberg, Keith. Zack's Story: Growing Up With Same-Sex Parents. Minneapolis: Lerner Publications, 1996.
Straightforward photo-essay about eleven-year-old Zack's family which includes his lesbian moms, and his father and stepmother. Somewhat didactic. Includes a glossary, a short list of books, and resources for GLBT families.
Harris, Robie. It's Perfectly Normal: A Book About Changing Bodies, Growing Up, Sex, and Sexual Health. Cambridge, MA: Candlewick Press, 1994.
An excellent book that discusses homosexuality, along with everything else, in a positive, matter-of-fact way.
Harris, Robie. It's So Amazing! A Book About Eggs, Sperm, Birth, Babies, and Families. Cambridge, MA: Candlewick Press, 1999.
A fantastic, gay and lesbian positive book that explains all about puberty, love, sex, and getting pregnant-including alternative insemination and in vitro fertilization.
Ages 8 and up
Hausherr, Rosmarie. Celebrating Familes. New York: Scholastic, 1997.
Perhaps the best of all the books depicting various family configurations. Attractive color and black and white photos, and brief text, covering a broader range of families than most (including foster families, parent in prison, etc.).
Jenness, Aylette. Families: A Celebration of Diversity, Commitment, and Love. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1990.
Photo-essay depicting a variety of family types including a gay-parented and a lesbian-parented family.
Ages 4 and up
Kaesar, Gigi. Love Makes a Family: Portraits of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Parents and Their Families. Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 1999.
Photo-essay depicting a variety of queer families. The only one to include transgendered parents.
Krakow, Kari. The Harvey Milk Story. Ridley Park, PA: Two Lives Publishing, 2002.
A picture-book biography about the life and death of gay rights leader and San Francisco City Supervisor Harvey Milk. Attractive illustrations and a simple story line make this useful for introducing young readers to this modern-day hero.
Marcus, Eric. Is It a Choice?: Answers to 300 of the Most Frequently Asked Questions About Gay and Lesbian People. San Francisco: Harper Collins, 1993 and 1999.
Marcus forthrightly answers all kinds of questions that kids and teens are likely to have.
Marcus, Eric. What if Someone I Know is Gay?: Answers to Questions About Gay and Lesbian People. New York: Price Stern Sloan, 2000.
Marcus answers even more questions.
Oliver, Marilyn Tower. Gay and Lesbian Rights: A Struggle. Springfield, NJ: Enslow, 1998.
Provides an historical context for discussing issues affecting gays and lesbians-including marriage, parenting, military service, hate crimes, job discrimination, etc. Useful for reports.
Ages 10 and up
Rench, Janice E. Understanding Sexual Identity: A Book for Gay and Lesbian Teens and Their Friends. Minneapolis, MN: Lerner Publications, 1990.
A brief, supportive book answering some basic questions about what it means to be gay or lesbian (although the author is evasive about what people do sexually).
Ages 9 and up
Schaffer, Patricia. Chag Sameach! = Happy Holiday! Berkeley, CA: Tabor Sarah Books, 1985.
Photo essay depicting a diverse group of Jewish families celebrating the different Jewish holidays includes a photograph of a lesbian parented family celebrating Havdalah (the transition back to the regular week after the Sabbath).
Schaffer, Patricia. How Babies and Families Are Made (There is More Than One Way!). Berkeley, CA: Tabor Sarah Books, 1988.
Probably the first book to explain donor insemination and in vitro fertilization in simple terms for children, How Babies and Families Are Made explains that sometimes a man and woman need help getting pregnant, or sometimes a woman wants to get pregnant and there is no man around. The black and white illustrations are unfortunately very amateurish. Harris's book, It's So Amazing!, covers the same information in a much more attractive way, and discusses gays and lesbians, though not directly in relation to donor insemination.
Seyda, Barbara. Women in Love: Portraits of Lesbian Mothers and Their Families. Boston: Little Brown, 1998.
Photographs of lesbians and their children.
Skutch, Robert. Who's in a Family? Berkeley, CA: Tricycle Press, 1995.
Colorful illustrations depict a variety of human and animal families, including a family with two dads, and one with two moms.
Young, Perry Deane. Lesbians and Gays and Sports. New York: Chelsea House, 1994.
Young dedicates chapters to various sports and the gay and lesbian athletes participating in them. Includes a discussion of the Olympics and the Gay Games. Useful for reports.
Ages 10 and up
And Baby 499
Alternative Family Magazine
Gay Parent Magazine
Available in print and online at: http://www.gayparentmag.com/
Just for Us
See excerpts at the COLAGE web site: http://www.colage.org
Ages 9 and up
Clyde, Laurel. Out of the Closet and Into the Classroom: Homosexuality in Books for Young People. Port Melbourne, Vic., Australia: ALIA Press, 1996. Second edition.
Fairly comprehensive annotated bibliography of books for young people with a focus on Australian titles.
Day, Frances Ann. Lesbian and Gay Voices: An Annotated Bibliography and Guide to Literature for Children and Young Adults. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 2000.
A very useful, though not comprehensive, annotated bibliography of fiction and non-fiction materials for children and teens. Most are U.S. publications. Only includes author's recommended titles, and generally only those titles that were still in print at time of publication.
Gough, Cal and Ellen Greenblatt. Gay and Lesbian Library Service. Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Company, 1990.
Both My Moms Are Named Judy: Children of Lesbians and Gays Speak Out. Prod. Camomile Bortman. San Francisco: Lesbian and Gay Parents Association, 1994.
Kids aged 7-11 talk about their gay and lesbian parents. (11 min).
Camp Lavender Hill. Dir. Michael Magnaye. San Francisco: Camp Lavender Hill, 1997.
Interviews with kids aged 8-14 attending a summer camp especially for children of lgbt parents. (28 min.)
It's Elementary: Talking About Gay Issues in School. Dir. Debra Chasnoff. San Francisco: Women's Educational Media, 1997.
This is an excellent movie for parents, teachers, the PTA, the school board, etc. (1 hour, 17 min.)
Adult, possible teen interest.
Oliver Button is a Star. Dir. John Scagliotti. n.p. Hunt Video, 2002?
Oliver Button meets the up with the Twin Cities Gay Men's Chorus, author Tomie DePaola, and choreographer Bill Jones, and others in this hour-long PBS special.
Our House: A Very Real Documentary About Kids of Gay and Lesbian Parents. Dir. Meema Spadola. New York: Cinema Guild, 1999.
Nine children from five families talk about their experiences as children of lesbians and gays.
That's a Family! Dir. Debra Chasnoff. San Francisco: Women's Educational Media, 2000.
Fabulous movie for kids about all kinds of families. (35 min.)
COLAGE (Children of Lesbians and Gays Everywhere): http://www.colage.org/.
Newsletter, chat rooms, email lists, pen pals, scholarship info, and more.
Family Pride Coalition: http://www.familypride.org/.
The Family Pride Coalition is an advocacy group for GLBT families.
GLSEN (Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network): http://www.glsen.org/cgi-bin/iowa/home.html
Last Updated: 2004
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