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20 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

June is LGBTQ Pride Month, and there's no better 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. "Julián at the Wedding," by Jessica Love

This follow-up to the radiant Julián Is a Mermaid takes Julián and his abuela to a wedding with two brides and a baseball cap-wearing flower girl who likes to roll in the grass. It's a loving affirmation of all gender identities.

2. "Plenty of Hugs," by Fran Manushkin and Kate Alizadeh

This sweet, lyrical story looks out at the world and finds plenty of everything, including hugs, to go around. The child at its center has lesbian moms.

3. "Peanut Goes for the Gold," by Jonathan van Ness and Gillian Reid

In this picture book from Jonathan van Ness of "Queer Eye," Peanut is a gender nonbinary guinea pig with a love of rhythmic gymnastics. (Costar Karamo Brown also has a picture book written with his son: "I Am Perfectly Designed.")

4. "It Feels Good to Be Yourself: A Book About Gender Identity," by Theresa Thorn and Noah Grigni

This primer on gender identity introduces terms like transgender, cisgender and nonbinary with a note about pronouns.

5. "Be Amazing," by Desmond is Amazing and Dylan Glynn

Written by a 12-year-old "drag kid," this book explores the history of the LGBT community from Stonewall to RuPaul while encouraging kids to be themselves and "pay the haters no mind."

6. "When Aidan Became a Brother," by Kyle Lukoff and Kaylani Juanita

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.

7. "A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo," by Jill Twiss and E.G. Keller

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.

8. "Harriet Gets Carried Away," by Jessie Sima

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.

9. "Pride: The Story of Harvey Milk and the Rainbow Flag" by Rob Sanders and Steven Salerno

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

10. "Stella Brings the Family," by Miriam B. Schiffer and Holly Clifton-Brown

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.

11. "Prince and Knight," by Daniel Haack and Stevie Lewis

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.

12. "BunnyBear," by Andrea J. Loney and Carmen Saldaña

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.

13. "And Tango Makes Three," by Justin Richardson, Peter Parnell and Henry Cole

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.)

14. "Red: A Crayon’s Story," by Michael Hall

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.

15. "Lovely," by Jess Hong

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

16. "A Family Is a Family Is a Family," by Sara O’Leary and Qin Leng

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

17. "Introducing Teddy," by Jessica Walton and Dougal MacPherson

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

18. "Worm Loves Worm," by J.J. Austrian and Mike Curato

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

19. "Meet My Family! Animal Babies and Their Families," by Laura Purdie Salas and Stephanie Fizer Coleman

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.

20. "Heather Has Two Mommies," by Lesléa Newman and Laura Cornell

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.

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