The best books for children and young people about LGBTQ+ identity

It’s important for children to see themselves reflected in the world around them, which is why representation can be incredibly valuable.

Diverse and inclusive media, films, music, and even celebrities on TV, can help young people to feel accepted and foster a sense of belonging – the books we read should be no different.

Finding books with characters that speak to your own experiences, that resonate with your lived experiences, or just simply make you feel seen, can be an important antidote to isolation – particularly for children and young people.

So, if you’re looking to gift a child or teenager in your life a book that will expand their horizons, or make them feel less alone – start with this list of books that focus on LGBTQ+ identity:

The Secret Sunshine Project

Benjamin Dean

Perfect for 9+ readers

Bea’s family are happy. Like, really happy. Like, kind of gross but also cute happy. So when they visit London Pride together and have the ultimate day out, Bea doesn’t think her family could possibly get any happier. But a year later, their dad has passed away, and without him around they have no choice but to pack their bags and move to the countryside to live with Gran.

With Bea’s big sister, Riley, taking the news hard, Bea will do anything to cheer her up. So with the help of new friends, The Secret Sunshine Project is formed.

The Accidental Diary of B.U.G.

Jen Carney

Readers age 7-10

Billie Upton Green takes us through an eventful couple of weeks in her life. First of all, new girl Janey McVey joins her class and she’s a bit of a show-off; then someone steals a purse at Billie’s school, and then, most importantly of all, Billie’s mums announce they are getting married.

The Whispers

Greg Howard

Readers age 9-12

This coming-of-age story that centres on 11-year-old Riley. Riley is gay (he has a big crush on an older boy called Dylan) and often finds himself on the receiving end of taunts from his classmates. But that’s the least of his worries at the moment – what Riley is most concerned about is his mum. She disappeared a few months ago and still hasn’t been found.

Love Frankie

Jacqueline Wilson and Nick Sharratt

Reading age 11+

Teenage life can be pretty tough – particularly for almost 14-year-old Frankie. Her mum is seriously ill with MS, her dad has left their family, and Frankie has to contend with former friend Sally and her gang of bullies every day at school. 

Pet

Akwaeke Emezi 

Reading age: 12-17

This novel stars Jam, a trans girl living in the city of Lucille, where the children have been told monsters no longer roam. But if that’s the case, then why has one emerged from one of her mother’s paintings and taken up residence in their room?

What is Pet there to show her and her best friend, Redemption? Together, they’ll quest to find out, and learn that monsters come in many forms. 

Felix Ever After

L.C. Rosen

Reading age: Young adult

This story revolves around a gay boy named Jack who finds himself running an online sex advice column, and getting badgered by a homophobic stalker as a result. 

While he tries to figure out who’s attempting to destroy him, he helps a lot of other kids along way, with unfiltered conversations about blow jobs, asexuality, BDSM, fetishisation of queer guys by straight girls, and more.

We Are The Beaker Girls

Jacqueline Wilson and Nick Sharratt

Reading age: 8-11

Fans of Tracy Beaker have always speculated that Tracy’s foster mum Cam was a lesbian despite this never being explicitly mentioned in the first book, In My Mum Tracy Beaker, we see Cam getting close to Mary aka Miss Oliver, who is also Jess’s teacher, but it’s not until We Are The Beaker Girls that Jess refers to her as Cam’s partner.

Help us raise £10k for Kyiv Pride and a UK LGBT+ charity

To celebrate 50 years of Pride, Metro.co.uk has teamed up with Kyiv Pride to raise money for their important work in Ukraine.

Despite war raging around them, Kyiv Pride continue to help LGBTQ+ people, offering those in need shelter, food and psychological support.

We will be splitting the cash with a grassroots charity closer to home.

You can donate here

Boy Meets Boy

David Levithan

Reading age: 13+

Paul is a sophomore at a high school where the cheerleaders ride Harleys; the trans homecoming queen, Infinite Darlene, is also the star quarterback; and the local Boy Scouts have renamed themselves the ‘Joy Scouts’ after renouncing the organisation’s gay-unfriendly policies.

Against this wonderfully utopian background, the super-confident Paul, ‘the first openly gay class president in Mrs Farquar’s third grade class’ meets a boy, Noah, and falls in love.

Boys Don’t Cry

Malorie Blackman

Reading age: 14+

Dante is waiting for the postman. It’s ‘A’ level results day and he has high hopes, but a knock on the door brings an old girlfriend and some news that will change his plans for good.

Written from the point of view of two teenage brothers: Dante, who is looking forward to university and a successful career, unexpectedly finds himself faced with the demands of full time single parenthood, and Adam, who is happy to be gay and makes no secret of it, but ultimately suffers from the intolerance of those around him.

Max Kowalski Didn’t Mean It 

Susie Day

Reading age: 9-11

Things have been tough for Max since his mum died; his dad is having to work multiple jobs and so Max is often left looking after his three younger sisters. But then his dad – who he’s always admired – finds himself in trouble and has to disappear.

Max needs to step up and be a ‘big man’ even though he’s terrified. So, he and his sisters run away to hide at a remote Welsh cottage until their dad returns.

Metro.co.uk celebrates 50 years of Pride

This year marks 50 years of Pride, so it seems only fitting that Metro.co.uk goes above and beyond in our ongoing LGBTQ+ support, through a wealth of content that not only celebrates all things Pride, but also share stories, take time to reflect and raises awareness for the community this Pride Month.

MORE: Find all of Metro.co.uk’s Pride coverage right here

And we’ve got some great names on board to help us, too. From a list of famous guest editors taking over the site for a week that includes Rob Rinder, Nicola Adams, Peter Tatchell, Kimberly Hart-Simpson, John Whaite, Anna Richardson and Dr Ranj, we’ll also have the likes Sir Ian McKellen and Drag Race stars The Vivienne, Lawrence Chaney and Tia Kofi offering their insights. 

During Pride Month, which runs from 1 – 30 June, Metro.co.uk will also be supporting Kyiv Pride, a Ukrainian charity forced to work harder than ever to protect the rights of the LGBTQ+ community during times of conflict. To find out more about their work, and what you can do to support them, click here.

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Metro.co.uk celebrates 50 years of Pride

This year marks 50 years of Pride, so it seems only fitting that Metro.co.uk goes above and beyond in our ongoing LGBTQ+ support, through a wealth of content that not only celebrates all things Pride, but also share stories, take time to reflect and raises awareness for the community this Pride Month.

MORE: Find all of Metro.co.uk’s Pride coverage right here

And we’ve got some great names on board to help us, too. From a list of famous guest editors taking over the site for a week that includes Rob Rinder, Nicola Adams, Peter Tatchell, Kimberly Hart-Simpson, John Whaite, Anna Richardson and Dr Ranj, we’ll also have the likes Sir Ian McKellen and Drag Race stars The Vivienne, Lawrence Chaney and Tia Kofi offering their insights. 

During Pride Month, which runs from 1 – 30 June, Metro.co.uk will also be supporting Kyiv Pride, a Ukrainian charity forced to work harder than ever to protect the rights of the LGBTQ+ community during times of conflict. To find out more about their work, and what you can do to support them, click here.

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