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Honoring (Trans) Women Characters in Children’s Books

Honoring (Trans) Women Characters in Children’s Books

I Am Jazz
by Jessica Herthel and Jazz Jennings

This picture book, perfect for young children and families, features a simplified life story of real trans woman and co-author, Jazz Jennings. It features a young Jazz as she works to recognize herself and explain to her family who she really is. Jennings has gone on to be an LGBTQIA+ advocate around the world. This picture book is illustrated by Shelagh McNicholas.

The Boy and the Bindi
by Vivek Shraya

This beautiful picture book follows a young South Asian boy who is fascinated by his mother’s bindi. Traditionally worn by Hindu women, the mother carefully explains what it represents and encourages her son to express not only beauty, but also nonconforming gender throughout the pages illustrated by Rajni Perera. Shraya is herself a trans woman who has used her art and writing to explore gender representation.

by Alex Gino

This fiction title by nonbinary middle grade author Alex Gino is intended for children ages 8-12. Melissa is ten years old, and being ten is pretty great. People not knowing that she is actually Melissa, not George, is not. She doesn’t know quite how to tell the people in her life that she wants to be called Melissa, nor how to stand up for herself and audition for the part of Charlotte, the wise spider, in Charlotte’s Web. Fortunately, her best friend makes it a little bit easier to be herself.

Zenobia July
by Lisa Bunker

This novel is intended for children ages 10-13 and follows Zenobia, a tech-savvy wiz-kid starting a new life. She’s just moved to Maine with her aunts, leaving her Arizona life behind, hopefully including all of the taunts about about people thinking she is a boy. She’s excited for a classic girl life in a new school when someone suddenly starts posting anonymous hate on the school website. Fixing this situation might call for her coding skills and confrontation.

Lily and Dunkin
by Donna Gephart

With a 10-12-year-old intended audience, Lily is a trans girl struggling with a boy’s body going through puberty in eighth grade. Lily meets recent transplant to the area, Dunkin, who has struggles of his own. He’s bigger than a lot of kids his age, plus suffers from bipolar disorder, a condition most kids his age haven’t even heard of. The two form a relationship as they navigate a difficult period.

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