5 Children’s Books with LGBTQ+ Representation that were Banned

Children’s books sometimes encounter the disapproval of certain groups. Let’s discuss 5 stories with LGBTQ+ representation that were banned.

Diversity LGBTQIA+ Reads Recommendations Young Readers

While many children’s books have fantastical elements and entertaining plots, their primary goal has always been to impart life lessons to the young. But there have been instances when stories in children’s literature have been at the center of heated debate. This article highlights five books for LGBTQ+ youth that were banned due to their content.

1. Prince and Knight: Written by Daniel Haack and illustrated by Stevie Lewis

Published in 2018, the Prince & Knight narrates the story of a prince who is about to take his official role as the ruler of his kingdom. Before his coronation, his parents decided he must find a bride to help him rule. The three travel around different realms to find a candidate; however, the prince returns to his kingdom after hearing the news of a dragon attack. The battle was assisted by a knight who helped him fight the dragon and even save his life. They fall in love and start a relationship fully supported by their community. 

"Prince & Knight" by Daniel Haack - both protagonists greet each other while princesses surround the prince, and the knight is reclining on his horse - book cover.

Reason for ban: “Prince & Knight” was ranked as the fifth-most challenged book of 2019 and 2022 by the Office for Intellectual Freedom of the American Library Association. In addition, it was banned from the local school system in Loudoun. The motives include its LGBTQ+ material, mentioning the potential to create confusion, gender dysphoria, and clashing with a religious perspective. 

2. A Day on the Life of Marlon Bundo: Written by Jill Twiss and illustrated by EG Keller

"A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo" written by Marlon Bundo and Jill Twiss - a white bunny stands in front of a house while wearing a bowtie - book cover.

Based on the book, Marlon Bundo’s A Day in the Life of the Vice President, this story was published in 2018 and narrated the story of a little bunny called Marlon Bundo, who feels lonely. One day, he meets another bunny named Wesley, and they decide to get married since neither of them wants to continue hopping without the other.

Reason for ban: According to the American Library Association, the book was asked to be removed from multiple library collections, ranking it as the 19th most challenged and banned book in the United States between 2010 and 2022. It was criticized for including LGBTQ material (described as “sexually explicit and prejudiced”) and for its political and religious perspectives.

3. I am Jazz: Written by Jessica Herthel and Jazz Jennings and illustrated by Shelagh McNicholas

"I am Jazz" written by Jessica Herthel and Jazz Jennings - a girl in front of her family pictures - book Cover.

I am Jazz was published in 2014 and narrates the story of Jazz, a child who likes to play dress up with her friends. Jazz tells the audience that she was born transgender and continues to narrate her experiences throughout the book. 

Reason for ban: The book appeared on the American Library Association’s Top 10 Challenged Books list from 2015 to 2022. It was challenged due to LGBTQ content, specifically for having a transgender girl as the main character. It was also described as “sensitive, controversial, and politically charged.”

4. This Day in June: Written by Gayle E. Pitman and illustrated by Kristyna Litten

"This Day in June" written by Gayle E. Pitman - a diverse cast of characters dress up in different colors while holding a sign where is written the name of the book - book cover. Children's books

Published in 2014, this book follows the story of a family as they prepare and attend a gay parade in June. It discusses different groups of people and provides information about diverse contexts. The book also includes some advice for parents to discuss gender issues with their children.

Reason for ban: Due to the LGBTQ content the book presented, it was the tenth most banned and challenged book in the United States from 2018 to 2022.

5. And Tango Makes Three: Written by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson and illustrated by Henry Cole

"And Tango Makes Three" written by Justin Richardson - two older penguins with a baby one in the middle of them - book cover.

Based on real-life events, the story was published in 2005 and narrated the story of two penguins called Roy and Silo, who stood out from the rest at the Central Park Zoo’s penguin house. One day the cute couple had the opportunity to adopt a newborn penguin with the assistance of a friendly zookeeper, finally forming a happy family.

Reason for ban: The book was banned from the Escambia County School Board in Florida this 2023 since it was considered “inappropriate content” for kids to consume freely. 

As we can see, many children’s books are banned from the educational system. Education and inspiration are the primary goals of writing stories for children. By valuing many perspectives, we can provide kids with a better future where they may learn and develop without fear of judgment or discrimination. By banning this content from academic institutions, we restrict kids from learning more about diversity and, maybe, themselves.

We should continue to advocate for the right to read and the significance of LGBTQ representation in children’s books as we work toward a future where every child can grow with a character they can identify with. 

Not only is it important to promote diversity for kids but also for young adults.

To learn more about banned books that have diverse characters, click here!