16 picture books to help you raise kind, tolerant kids

These books celebrate pride and have a powerful message for any child
Pride picture books
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/ Source: TODAY
By Lisa Tolin

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June is LGBTQ Pride Month, and it's a great time to open a child’s mind.

No matter what your family looks like, books about pride, diverse families and gender identities can teach kids a positive message about embracing difference and overcoming adversity.

  • 1. "When Aidan Became a Brother," by Kyle Lukoff and Kaylani Juanita, $13 (usually $19), Amazon

When Aidan is born, everyone thinks he's a girl. So when he tells them he is a different kind of boy, it takes time for his family to adjust. Their journey as a family helps them get things right when it's time to become a brother.

  • 2. "Julián Is a Mermaid" by Jessica Love, $14 (usually $17), Amazon

Julián sees mermaids on the subway one day and imagines himself as one in a series of beautiful illustrations. His abuela (grandmother) beautifully handles his dream.

  • 3. "A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo" by Jill Twiss, illustrated by E.G. Keller, $11 (usually $19), Amazon

John Oliver’s spoof imagines a world where Vice President Mike Pence’s bunny falls in love with another boy rabbit. Politics aside, “A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo” is a sweet story about love, connection and perseverance. The book sales raise money for the Trevor Project and AIDS United.

  • 4. "Harriet Gets Carried Away" by Jessie Sima, $13 (usually $18), Amazon

Harriet loves costumes, but things get out of hand when she plans a party with her dads and gets carried away by a group of penguins.

  • 5. "Pride: The Story of Harvey Milk and the Rainbow Flag" by Rob Sanders and Steven Salerno, $13 (usually $18), Amazon

This book tells the true story of the gay pride flag, from its beginning with Harvey Milk and his dream of equality.

  • 6. "Stella Brings the Family" by Miriam B. Schiffer, illustrated by Holly Clifton-Brown, $14 (usually $17), Amazon

Stella’s class is having a Mother’s Day party, but with two dads, Stella has no one to bring. Her sweet solution celebrates the whole family.

  • 7. "Prince and Knight" by Daniel Haack, illustrated by Stevie Lewis, $14 (usually $18), Amazon

After a series of rejected princesses, the prince finds just what he’s looking for when he and a knight come together to save the kingdom.

  • 8. "BunnyBear" by Andrea J. Loney, illustrated by Carmen Saldaña, $16, Amazon

Although Bunnybear is a bear, he feels more like a bunny. When he’s rejected by both bears and bunnies, he gets a new friend who knows just how he feels.

  • 9. "And Tango Makes Three" by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell, illustrated by Henry Cole, $7, Amazon

The sweet, true story of two male penguins in the Central Park Zoo who created a family is now a board book. (It was once among the most banned books in the country.)

  • 10. "Red: A Crayon’s Story" by Michael Hall, $10 (usually $18), Amazon

A blue crayon is labeled as red, and everyone thinks they have a way to fix him, until they learn to embrace his true color.

  • 11. "Lovely" by Jess Hong, $13 (usually $18), Amazon

This book celebrates diversity of all kinds. In Hong’s vision, lovely means different, weird and wonderful.

  • 12. "A Family Is a Family Is a Family" by Sara O’Leary, illustrated by Qin Leng, $13 (usually $18), Amazon

When a teacher asks what makes her students’ families special, each child has something different to celebrate.

  • 13. "Introducing Teddy" by Jessica Walton, illustrated by Dougal MacPherson, $12 (usually $17), Amazon

When Errol’s teddy bear, Thomas, announces that she wants to become Tilly, they discover together that friendship is all that matters.

  • 14. "Worm Loves Worm" by J.J. Austrian, illustrated by Mike Curato, $7 (usually $18), Amazon

Worm and Worm want to get married, but the insects around them insist on traditions that Worm and Worm will have to navigate.

  • 15. "Meet My Family! Animal Babies and Their Families" by Laura Purdie Salas, illustrated by Stephanie Fizer Coleman, $16 (usually $20), Amazon

This nonfiction exploration of animal families includes families where parents work a lot, families with lots of siblings, families with none — and some families with two moms or dads.

  • 16. "Heather Has Two Mommies" by Lesléa Newman, illustrated by Laura Cornell, $14 (usually $17), Amazon

A new edition of the book first published — and frequently banned — in 1989, this book tells the story of Heather's family. When Heather starts school, she wonders if she’s the only one with two mommies. She discovers that everybody’s family is special.