Inclusive Books to Read with Pride

By Bailey Keimig-Gehrke, Youth Services

June not only marks the end of the school year and the beginning of summer, it is also the start of Pride Month. While it is important to read widely and deeply all year long, Pride Month is the perfect time to introduce a few new queer-friendly titles to your repertoire. Here are a few recently published inclusive titles to share with the children and teenagers in your life.

“The Every Baby Book: Families of Every Name Share a Love That’s Just the Same” by Frann Preston-Gannon

Perfect for toddlers and preschoolers, this beautifully illustrated board book features a wide array of families spending their days together. Inclusive illustrations show families eating breakfast together, getting ready to enjoy their days, and finally settling back down for bedtime. Parents and caregivers will chuckle at the relatable moments of childhood–messy breakfasts, diaper blowouts, and tearful nap times. The diverse representation in this sweet story will encourage all families to celebrate the love and joy babies inspire. 

For more inclusive picture books celebrating family, try:

Book cover for "My Moms Love Me" by Anna Membrino and Joy Hwang Ruiz.
Book cover for "I Love You Because I Love You" by Mượn Thị Văn and Jessica Love.
“Nikhil Out Loud” by Maulik Pancholy

For tweens in elementary or middle school, this heartfelt chapter book tells the story of Nikhil Shah, a 13-year-old who is famous for voicing a popular cartoon character. When Nikhil suddenly has to move from Los Angeles to a tiny town in Ohio to help care for his ailing grandfather, he isn’t prepared for how different things will be. For one thing, there are cornfields everywhere. For another, the kids in his new school aren’t used to him yet and keep treating him like some huge movie star. When Nikhil is assigned the lead role in the school musical, he isn’t sure how to tell his new friends that despite being a professional voice actor, he has a hard time being in the spotlight. Will everyone think he’s a fraud if he isn’t as confident as they think he should be? Will Mateo, the boy Nikhil is crushing on, think less of him? Nikhil’s story stays relatable despite his stardom, focusing on friendship, family, and identity.

For more realistic fiction featuring queer characters, try:

“Cafe Con Lychee” by Emery Lee

Teenagers who enjoy romance will love this food-fueled enemies-to-lovers story. Our two protagonists are Theo Mori and Gabi Moreno. The boys, despite their intense rivalry, have a lot in common–both are on the high school soccer team; both are sons of two competing businesses; and both happen to be gay. When a new fusion cafe opens, it puts both Theo’s and Gabi’s family businesses in jeopardy. Despite their authenticity and high quality products, both the Mori’s Asian American cafe and the Moreno’s Puerto Rican bakery can’t compete with the hype this new place has garnered. On a mission to save their parents’ businesses, the two end up joining forces and the inevitable sparks start flying. The question remains–if they successfully resurrect their family businesses, how will it impact their post-high school plans? Before this, Theo was desperate to escape their tiny Vermont town and Gabi was convinced he had to hide his true self from his parents. Will their new bond be enough to shake up their dreams?

For more queer-friendly high school romance, try:

Book cover for "You Should See Me in a Crown" by Leah Johnson.
Book cover for "The Passing Playbook" by Isaac Fitzsimons.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *