LGBTQ Early Reading Books Based on Childhood Classics

Combining classic children’s stories from our childhood with a LGBTQ twist, these picture books are perfect to educate early readers.

LGBTQIA+ Reads Recommendations Young Readers

We all remember our favorite picture books from childhood. Some of our earliest memories are recollections of the illustrated stories we know by heart. So, for the modern child, learning about important ideas such as acceptance and inclusivity becomes more and more necessary. However, we don’t want to lose the classic messages of our own favorite stories while including the new information, either. In response, authors decided to remake our childhood classics to include old lessons and new. For the contemporary parent, here are just a few of the many childhood classic stories turned into LGBTQ early reading books.

The Hundred Dresses by Eleanor Estes becomes:

10,000 Dresses by Marcus Ewert

lgbtq early reading books, lgbtq, early reading, childhood classics
lgbtq early reading books, lgbtq, early reading, childhood classics

IMAGES VIA AMAZON

Both Wanda and Bailey dream of beautiful dresses they wish to wear but can never own. However, their reasons for why they cannot have theses dresses are different. Wanda cannot have the hundred dresses she drew for the school art contest because she is from a poor, immigrant family who cannot afford to buy them. On the other hand, Bailey’s family can afford to buy her dresses but refuse to because her parents say she is a boy, and boys don’t wear dresses. Unlike Wanda, in 10,000 Dresses Bailey gets something more of a happy ending.

10,000 Dresses is wonderful for explaining transgender individuals to early readers. Ewert helps children create empathy by showing how rejecting a person’s chosen gender is hurtful.

The Little Penguin by A.J. Wood becomes:

And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell

lgbtq early reading books, lgbtq, early reading, childhood classics
lgbtq early reading books, lgbtq, early reading, childhood classics

IMAGES VIA AMAZON

Who doesn’t love children’s stories about cute baby penguins? Both of these stories feature a penguin chick finding their new family. The Little Penguin has to go on a journey to find his lost parents in the wilderness but Tango never lost anyone. In And Tango Makes Three, a zookeeper gives an egg to two male penguins who are trying to start a family. Then, Tango hatches and the family is complete.

And Tango Makes Three is one of the first children’s books to ever discuss same-sex parenting. The story made it to the banned book list before it became a New York Times Bestseller.

The Story of Ferdinand by Munro Leaf becomes:

The Different Dragon by Jennifer Bryan

lgbtq early reading books, lgbtq, early reading, childhood classics
lgbtq early reading books, lgbtq, early reading, childhood classics

IMAGES VIA AMAZON

Noah and one of his two mothers, Go-ma, modernizes the story of a bull who only wishes to sniff flowers in the field. Instead, this story is about a dragon who does not want to be fierce anymore and a little boy who teaches him that is okay. In contrast to the other stories on this list, The Different Dragon uses its advocacy for LGBTQ as a backdrop to the actual tale. In other words, rather than making the same-sex parenting a plot point, Bryan writes the family structure as so normal, its not even worth pointing out.

The Different Dragon is a great option for children who already understand the concept of same-sex parenting and simply wish to have more representation in books.

The Rainbow Fish by Marcus Pfister becomes:

Peacock Among Pigeons by Clarione Gutierrez and Tyler Curry

lgbtq early reading books, lgbtq, early reading, childhood classics
lgbtq early reading books, lgbtq, early reading, childhood classics

IMAGES VIA AMAZON

These two stories are about colorfully standing out of a crowd. Except, this peacock is not giving up any feathers. Unlike the Magic Fish tries to blend in and make friends with the other fishies who bullied him, Peter the Peacock decides it is best to just leave the toxicity behind. Finally, outside of the gray and drab flock of pigeons, he discovers other birds who show him what the previous flock called weird is actually beautiful.

Peacock Among Pigeons is a perfect alternative to The Rainbow Fish by teaching the more modern lesson of embracing your uniqueness and loving who you are.

The Ugly Duckling by Hans Christian Andersen becomes:

The Sissy Duckling by Harvey Fierstein

lgbtq early reading books, lgbtq, early reading, childhood classics
lgbtq early reading books, lgbtq, early reading, childhood classics

IMAGES VIA AMAZON

Similar to the classic tale of The Ugly Duckling, the flock outcasts The Sissy Duckling. In contrast to Anderson’s tale, this is not because of his looks. Rather, the flock outcasts him because of his “feminine” interests. Written by American actor Harvey Fierstein, Elmer is the Sissy Duckling who is unathletic and does not like sports or fighting. Instead, this flowered-pink-backpack-wearing duckling prefers to decorate cookies and put on puppet shows. At the end, Elmer proves he is brave and that just because he does not fall perfectly into the binary gender expectations does not make him any less capable.

All early readers will find The Sissy Duckling relatable. Besides, teaching about the fluidity of gendered social structures is always a good message.

Obviously, this list is far from the amount of LGBTQ children’s books available on the market today. Further, there are probably many more with influences from classic stories. It takes a little searching. Start with this list and incorporate all kinds of other early reading books into your child’s library. There is so much to learn in this short time. In addition to this list, perhaps take a look at this article about other timeless tales to give to your children.

FEATURED IMAGE VIA GAY PARENTS TO BE