41 Transgender-friendly Books for Young Kids

The cover of the book Lunacover of The Sweet in-between

Let’s face it: Rainbow Magic works for some kids, but not all of them.

It can be hard to find books for kids that don’t fall into annoying “boys’ books” and “girls’ books” catergories and young adult books with positive, feminist perspectives. This summer, the Young Adult Library Services Association put together a list of 41 books with transgender and genderqueer characters. It was originally meant as a resource list of librarians, but I think it works pretty well for anyone looking for good books.

Here’s the list:  

Young adult novels with main and supporting characters who identify as transgender

Luna by Julie Anne Peters
Regan is an average sixteen-year-old who is keeping secret the fact that her brother Liam is really a Transgender girl named Luna.

Almost Perfect by Brian Katcher
When Logan meets Sage he is instantly attracted to her, but how will he react when he learns that Sage was born male?

I Am J by Cris Beam
J has always known that was a boy who happened to be born into a girl’s body by mistake. Now he just has to convince everyone else.

Parrotfish by Ellen Wittlinger
Just like the parrotfish that is born female but becomes male later in life, teenager Grady knows that even though he was born Angela, on the inside he is a boy. He is happy but not everyone else is, especially his family, and he must rely on the people in his life who support him to move forward.

Beauty Queens by Libba Bray
The story of a group of teen beauty queens marooned on a desert island, one of them is a former boy band member who has transitioned.

Being Emily by Rachel Gold
When Emily, who was born as Christopher, tells her parents about her desire to live a woman, they send her into therapy, convinced she is ill. She is able to rely on her girlfriend and a few others in her life to help her through her family issues.

A Circus Mirror Day by Corin Ash (ebook)
When Emily (or Edward to everyone else) is assigned to write a paper about a day in her life, she writes about how hard it is to pretend to be a boy on the outside, when she knows that she is truly a girl.

Jumpstart the World by Catherine Ryan Hyde
Elle lives by herself because her mother’s boyfriend doesn’t want to deal with a teenage girl. She meets and slowly falls in love with Frank, her next door neighbor, but her world is forever changed when Frank reveals he is transgender and that he was born a woman.

Happy Families by Tanita S. Davis
Ysabel and Justin are twins who live a generally happy life. When their father reavels he is transgender and will live the rest of his life as a woman, they are upset at first, but slowly come to terms with their dad’s new identity.

Circle of Change by Laney Cairo (ebook)
The story of a romance between Kim, a teenager transman, and Dash, a gay college student who initially rejects Kim, but ultimately falls in love with him.

London Reign by A.C. Britt
London is one of Boston’s toughest boys, who was actually born a girl. London must deal with his abusive stepfather, as well as a whole host of other issues that come with living in the inner city.

Beautiful Music for Ugly Children by Kirstin Cronn-Mills
Gabe, who was born Elizabeth, hosts a popular weekly radio show called, “Beautiful music for ugly children.” He is not out at school and is still living as Elizabeth, but when someone discovers his secret he must figure out how to live an honest life and still stay safe.

Nina Here nor There by Nick Krieger
This is Nick Krieger’s memoir about his “journey beyond gender.”

Refuse by Elliot DeLine (ebook)
This is Dean’s story, of coming out as a transman in college and the subsequent reaction of his friends and family.

Young adult novels with Genderqueer characters or characters who express gender ambiguity

The Sweet In-between by Sheri Reynolds
The story of Kenny, a gender ambigous girl who becomes with obsessed when a college student is murdered by accident by her neighbor.

The Tragedy of Miss Geneva Flowers by Joe Babcock
The coming of age story of a young, gay man, who is also an aspiring drag queen, and the community he becomes a part of.

Far from Xanadu by Julie Anne Peters
Mike lives a pretty routine life in her boring Kansas town. When Xanadu, a beautiful and different girl arrives, Mike is quickly infatuated. But can a romance ever blossom between them?

Brooklyn, Burning by Steve Brezenoff
A love story that takes place over the course of a summer between two semi-homeless Brooklyn teens, Scout and Kid, their genders are never revealed.

Picture Books and stories for younger readers (not exhaustive)

My Princess Boy by Cheryl Kilodavis
Based on the author’s son, this picture book tells of a princess boy, who loves running, wearing dresses, climbing trees, and being a princess, and his family loves him for exactly who he is.

10,000 Dresses by Marcus Ewert
Bailey dreams every night of beautiful dresses but her parents are not supportive.  People tell Bailey that she shouldn’t dream of dresses because Bailey was designated male at birth.  But Bailey keeps on dreaming and one day she meets a girl who helps make all of her dreams come true!

The Princess Knight by Cornelia Funke
Princess Violet doesn’t want to get married to a knight, she wants to BE a knight, so she trains in secret so she can win her own hand!

Be Who You Are by Jennifer Carr
Nick was born a boy but knows that she is really a girl. This story tells of Nick sharing this information with her family and ultimately transitioning with their support.

Goblinheart by Brett Axel
Jude has wings and is supposed to be a fairy, but Jude wants to be a goblin. This story tells of Jude’s desire to be accepted by all the other people in Jude’s fairy tale world.

Short story collections

How Beautiful the Ordinary ed. by Michael Cart
A collection of twelve LGBT themed short stories with three focused on transgender characters.

Girl Meets Boy ed. by Kelly Milner Halls
A book of short stories about relationships between boys and girls told from both their perspectives, includes one about a transgender teen.

Young adult novels that deal with gender in a nontraditional way

Boy2girl by Terence Blacker
When Matt’s cousin Sam comes from America to live with him and his family in London Matt and his friends decide Sam must pretend to be a girl as an initiation into their group. But their trick works too well and suddenly they are all in way over their heads.

Debbie Harry Sings in French by Meagan Brothers
Johnny uses his love of goth music to deal with his terrible life. When he is introduced to Debbie Harry he realizes he doesn’t just love her music, he loves her, so much that he wants to be her.

Cycler by Lauren McLaughlin
Jill is a regular teenager girl, except for four days a month when she turns into Jack. Until now she and her family have managed to keep Jack under wraps. But Jack is done hiding and ready to be a real teenager.

The Boy in the Dress by David Walliams
Dennis deals with his parents divorce by reading Vogue magazine. When he meets Lisa, he falls in love with her, but also with her style, and realizes he wants to dress in women’s clothing.

Every Day by David Levithan
Every day A wakes up in a new body of a different 16 year old. Somedays A is a boy, somedays A is a girl, but to deal with this uncertain reality, A has certain rules, the main one being to never make a connection with someone because it won’t last. But all of this changes when A meets Rhiannon and falls in love. Now, A must track down Rhiannon every day so that A can be near her again, even if it means ruining the lives of the people A inhabits.

If You Believe in Mermaids, Don’t Tell by A.A. Phillips
Todd knows he can never tell his family the truth, that he wants to be a mermaid, that he loves to play dress up, and that he doesn’t want to follow in his dad’s footsteps as an athlete. But when he goes to a summer science camp, he meets a girl who might help him learn to love who he truly is.

The End: Five Queer Kids Save the Sorld by Nora Olsen
Tells the story of five queer kids who must prevent the end of the world, including one character who goes on a gender journey of their own.

Choir Boy by Charlie Anders
12 year old Berry wants nothing more than to stay a soprano so he can continue as a choir boy. He decides to castrate himself so that his voice will stay the same. He meets Trans* adults after his parents put him in therapy.

Manga/Graphic novels

Angel Diary by YunHee Lee
A story about the princess of heaven who must hide on earth as a boy and those that watch over her.

Boy Princess by Seyoung Kim
A prince must take his sister’s place after she runs away from an arranged marriage. Will anyone find out who he truly is?

Wandering Son by Shimura Takako
The story of two fifth graders, a boy and a girl, who both prefer to live in the other gender.

Shadoweyes by Ross Campbell
Scout is an aspiring superhero who, after being hit in the head, begin to randomly turn into a male alien superhero named Shadoweyes.

Princess Princess by Mikiyo Tsuda
Tells the story of Toru, who is one of three boys chosen at his all boys school to be dressed up as princesses to entertain the male students.

Cheeky Angel by Hiroyuki Nishimori
When Megumi was young he wished to be a manly man, but was instead turned into a girl, now a teenager, he must figure out a way to turn back while fighting off the advances of his male classmates.

a+e 4ever by Ilike Merey
a+e are both genderqueer teenagers who become friends and develop an intense, passionate relationship.

Read more: Three Young Adult Novels with Trans Teens, A Q&A with Polkadot Author Talcott Broadhead, Books for Children of All Genders

by Sarah Mirk
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Sarah Mirk is the former host of Bitch Media’s podcast Popaganda. She’s interested in gender, history, comics, and talking to strangers. You can follow her on Twitter

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33 Comments Have Been Posted

One thank-you and one correction

Hey beloved Bitch-sters,

This is Marcus Ewert, author of the picture-book 10,000 Dresses - with art by Rex Ray.
Thanks so much for the shout-out; as you might guess, y'all are a media outlet I value and adore.

One thing though, I the author never refer to Bailey, my main character, as a boy, or use male pronouns to describe her. The authorial voice always and only refers to Bailey with female pronouns. (Although several not-sympathetic *characters* in the book often refer to Bailey as a boy.)

Even my own publishing house, god love 'em, sometimes refer to Bailey as a boy - I correct such instances when I can - or at least state my authorial intent, but I don't catch 'em all.

But def. wanted to take a moment - esp. for an article specifically about trans characters - to assert the gender that Bailey herself would affirm.

Hope everyone at Bitch is great- & thanks again for the kind mention-
Marcus Ewert

You're right

You are 100% right and I apologize. In creating this list I tried to use language that would explain how the content of the story reflecting the experience of the trans* characters, but I made a mistake on yours. Thank you for your comment!

Correction made!

Hi! Just noting that this correction has been made. Thanks for the polite note.

Trans Focused or Trans Friendly?

Thanks for this awesome list, but I'd love to hear more about how you judged the books on this list. I've noticed at least a couple books on here that include a large amount of transphobia directed at the trans characters and other reviewers have warned should not be recommended to young trans folks - at least without significant warning. Was the criteria just that it has a trans character? I see some great books on this list, but for the ones I don't know it would be nice to know if I should expect trans supportive or prepare myself for possible problems. One good measure would be if you know which of these books were written by trans authors.

Good Question

That is an excellent question. The creation of this list started as an attempt to compile every single YA title that had trans* characters or themes in it. So I wasn't necessarily just looking for titles that were good, but actually every title I could find. The list was initially an appendix to an article I wrote for Young Adult Library Services Magazine about the need for librarians to engage in alternative methods of collection development, or finding and purchasing books for their collection, that represented trans* teens. Because there are not many titles out there I recommended searching beyond the mainstream publishers and looking at other sources (blogs, goodreads, etc.) to find these books. I offered the list as my findings, with the caveat that not all of them would be good for every collection. You can see that I divide the list roughly by age (YA novels that explicitly have trans* characters, YA novels that deal with gender non conforming, picture books etc.) so not all these books are appropriate for all ages.

As far as books that contain transphobia, you are correct. Some of these books contain transphobia and are only on the list because they contain trans* characters, not because I would necessarily recommend them to trans* youth without knowing the specific kid and if they would be able to process the story. Because this field of literature is so small and new, and most of the books serve as coming out stories it was hard to find any YA novels that didn't include some transphobia in them. My hope is that as this field continues to grow, there will be novels published that aren't just focused on the experience of the trans* teen but on other things and the trans* teen or teens just happen to be a part of the story.

As far as I know, only two of the books on the list were written by trans* authors, Refuse and Nina here nor there. This is obviously problematic, as ideally many of the writers would be trans*. That does not mean that the novels written by cisgender authors are not good or valid in their own way. It just means that it would nice if trans* stories for trans* and cis teenagers were written by trans* people. I did a lot of research in finding these novels, and many of the books on this list were located through alternative means of collection development and published by small presses or by the authors themselves, but even then, as you can see, the majority of the authors are cisgender.

So what does that mean? In my own personal opinion, knowledge of these books is important. Knowledge that they exist and that there are representations of trans* teens out there is important to me as a librarian and as a person working with queer youth. But again, not all the titles are right for all the audiences. And I will say, that the majority of these books have hopeful endings, which I think is a positive sign. When teen novels with gay and lesbian characters were first being published (starting in 1969) it took years, decades even, for the characters in the books to have happy or hopeful endings. But most of these books end on a hopeful note and this genre is barely a decade old.

So I don't know if I have sufficiently answered your question. But if you are going to be recommending these books to young people, I would read them first and judge accordingly.

Do trans characters equal trans understanding

First, author Charlie Anders is a trans woman, so add her to the 'written by a trans person list.'

I think the issue of who wrote these books is really a crucial one. Imagine if you had a list of novels about gay/lesbian youth and they were almost all written by straight authors. Yes, you might value them being allies and their willingness to discuss gay lives in a mostly positive way, but I doubt if you'd rely on those books to give an altogether accurate or nuanced view of gay/lesbian experience. That's sadly where so many YA and children's books on trans topics are. I've read (and reviewed) a fair number of the trans-themed YA books at my blog and while they're way better than nothing and important steps in the right direction, it never fails to amaze me how so many of the books are stuck on the topic of transition (almost to the point of objectivization), or use the trans experience as seen through the eyes of a cis character (eg Luna, Almost Perfect or Jumpstart the World). It also amazes me how much mis-information about trans topics there is in so many of these works. Granted, they are fiction, but if you're writing something intended for younger readers, it makes it doubly important you check your basic facts with a fine tooth comb. Ultimately, what concerns me the most is how, in so many of these titles, if you were to ask someone who's read it what the personality characteristics were of the trans person, it would pretty much boil down to... well, um, they're transgender. I would say pretty consistently, the trans character is more vaguely drawn than the cis characters, as if the very act of a character being trans is somehow enough.

Shouldn't the real issue be

Shouldn't the real issue be "why are there so few trans YA novels written by trans authors?" I'm not trying to be a smartass here, I'm serious. That's a pretty extensive list of books. And, a mere handful were written by transgender authors.

Why so few? Is there a wealth of works out there by transgender authors that don't make these lists? Is there something preventing the authors who happen to be transgender from exploring the topic in their fiction? (Personally, I'd lay odds on the latter).

Every time I see a list like this, it's accompanied by the complaint that the majority of the novels were written by cisgender authors. A friend of mine, who happens to be an author (on this list), picks what books to write based on what stories need to be told. If trans authors aren't telling the stories, shouldn't someone?

Yes - response to Gina

Thanks for adding that about Charlie Anders, it is much appreciated.

I think the issue you raise is a completely valid and true one. As someone who works with teenagers and young people I want them to read authentic stories, and I agree that a story is most authentic and accurate when it is written by an author was has gone through the same or a similar experience as the character or characters they are writing about. But a story can't only be told by someone who has gone through the experience that they are writing about, that would be severely limiting.

I do struggle with the fact that the majority (but certainly not all) of the books for teens about trans* youth are written by cis people. And you are also right that the trans* characters are often written as just trans* with no or few other defining characteristics. This is true of a lot of literature published for young people that has characters who are "different." I was recently asked if in the publication of trans* novels for teens which is more important, quality or quantity? And obviously in a perfect world, there would be a number of novels, written by trans* writers, that explore the lives of trans* teenagers in a genuine and authentic way. But if we lived in a perfect world this list wouldn't be necessary. I know, based on a number of trans* kids I have spoken with, that these books, despite their issues, have been vital in showing them that they are not alone and that the fact that they were able to find them in libraries gave them a sense of hope.

I could go on at length about the trajectory of young adult novels about gay and lesbian teens and how it was super problematic at first and that many of the novels ended negatively, and then it got a little better and the novels turned into mostly coming out stories, but that was still an issue because the novels didn't focus on anything but the coming out of the characters and then it got a little better then that and the stories got a little more nuanced and the being gay or lesbian aspect wasn't necessarily the only point of the book and that this is mostly the same for books about trans* teens (minus the first part about them being super problematic although you could probably make an argument that some of them are) but that information could fill a book (and it has, The Heart Has Its Reasons by Michael Cart and Christine Jenkins) But I think my point is that this shift took time (almost thirty years) and that the existence of books about trans* teenagers that are actually being published for teenagers is still very new. My hope is that the amount of books being published will continue to grow and change and that the focus will shift from coming out and transitioning stories, to stories were being trans* is just one aspect of a characters identity. I think it will happen.

I can't finish this comment however, without saying that many of the books on this list were incredibly vital in raising awareness within libraries and schools of trans* young people. (and this list was initially written for librarians) As librarians we should be doing all we can to make sure that our collections are well rounded and representative of the youth we work with and of all youth in general and the the first step was recognizing the existence of these books and purchasing them. Now, we can continue to support trans* youth as well as educate cis youth in an effective way by looking for stories that are nuanced, authentic and well-rounded.

Trans books written by trans authors

A big part of the problem is that most new authors, trans or not, are Indie. (It's essentially the only way to break into the field now of days) As a result getting any kind of exposure, especially for a niche genre like this, is extremely hard. The novels are out there, it's just a matter of finding them.

I am transgender and I have a couple of YA novels out that deal with a trans character and an intersex character respectively. Run, Clarissa, Run and The Case of Nikki Pagan are both available from Amazon and reasonably priced on the kindle.



"Being Emily" = positive representation, "Almost Perfect" = nope

The important question is whether these books are authentic to a transgender experience, and portray the transgender character as a human being as fully actualized as the cis characters.

"Being Emily" is written by a cis woman, but presents a first-person trans woman POV that multiple trans women have affirmed as being an accurate and authentic story. The author obviously did extensive and sensitive research. The story doesn't shy away from transphobia or negative aspects of coming out, but in the end the reader is left with deep empathy for Emily and with hope for her future.

"Almost Perfect" is written by a cis man, and while the author seems to think he's raising awareness about transgender issues and the personhood of trans women, ultimately it's a marginalizing and horribly discouraging narrative. It contains factual inaccuracies -- eg, that trans women wear a "rubber device" to hide their "parts", and that taking (illegal) estrogen without testosterone blockers would prevent a person from growing facial hair. The cis-het male character's first-person POV narrative begins thick with transphobia and homophobia; he later grows to accept the trans woman character (at least enough to romance her, ogle her breasts, and let her pleasure him orally); while he admittedly stands up for her a few times (though not as many times as he publicly rejects her) and says supportive words to her over the course of the narrative, in the end we are given little evidence of persisting external change in his actions or the people around him. The trans character is rejected and insulted throughout the story, then badly beaten in an act of transphobic violence, and finally forced to detransition somewhere offscreen (while we were told earlier in the story that she would rather commit suicide than live as a male). The story ends with the narrator thinking fondly of his fling as he pursues a new girl.

I would recommend "Being Emily" to anyone -- trans people, friends & family members, potential allies, people who are merely curious.

I would NOT recommend "Almost Perfect" to anyone. It seems it would be most enjoyed by men who like consuming "she-male" porn (not my word choice; the narrator refers to the trans woman as such once early in the story) but still want to feel like a sensitive and misunderstood hero. It even disturbed me, as a cis woman, because its insight into the mind of a young man seems to indicate that young men are perpetually longing for sex or violence (when they're not indulging in self-indulgent melancholy and worry over their image).

This is an awesome list! And

This is an awesome list! And I'm not just saying that because my novel is on it. [BTW, it's actually called The End: Five Queer Kids Save The World, not the Sorld. But I like this new word "Sorld." :) I didn't know that the good librarians at YALSA could make typos!]

I'm especially excited about the manga listed.

Another book I would recommend is F2M by Hazel Edwards and Ryan Kennedy. It's a quality Australian YA novel about a teen guitarist in a punk/DIY scene who is transitioning. Although it's Australian, the book is not hard to get hold of. One of the authors is transgender and one of the authors is cisgender. It's still extremely rare to see YA novels by writers who are transgender and for whatever reason a lot of times these novels seem to go uncelebrated. A couple of other YA novels by authors who are transgender (and these ones I have not read) are Run Clarissa Run by Rachel Eliason and The Butterfly and The Flame by Dana E. Young.

Some of the books on this list are technically not YA, but they have teen characters, so to that category I would also like to recommend First Spring Grass Fire by Rae Spoon and Roving Pack by Sassafrass Lowery. (Roving Pack has a lot of sex and cursing in it.) Both of those terrific books are by writers who are transgender.

Refuse by Elliot DeLine is listed as ebook, but it's also a tree book, and he also has another really awesome book called I Know Very Well How I Got My Name, about the same character at a younger age.

Also, London Reign by A.C. Britt is filled with steamy hot graphic sex scenes. So, that's great, but if you're thinking about buying it for a young person in your life, that could be kind of embarrassing.

I see 40...

Awesome list! But is it just me, but I'm seeing 40 books on here. Not 41......

Just to add to the kids'

Just to add to the kids' picture book list, S. Bear Bergman (who's a trans author) wrote two kids books that ze got published through a kickstarter-funded micropress success! Here: http://www.flamingorampant.com/

Thanks for all these

Thanks for all these additions!! I read First Spring, Grass Fire this summer and I loved it! And S. Bear Bergman is one of my favorite authors of both picture books and essays/nonfiction. I love all the recommendations so much, keep them coming!! FYI, because I wrote this list almost nine months ago there are a few titles that hadn't been published yet:
Two boys kissing by David Levithan and Freak Boy by Kristin Elizabeth Clark (which actually won't be out until Oct. 22 but is a great read and it is written in verse!)

Freak Boy

I got to read an advance copy. Excellent book, highly recommended.

Backwards Day and Tulip, The Adventures of a Wish Fairy

Both S. Bear Bergman's picture books are wonderful. I am a grown-up and I enjoyed them myself, and many of the young people in my life did, too. One of the things I liked about the books is that they are both legitimately entertaining, one features a mixed-race family, and they have gender-independent/trans kids in them, but the stories are not a trans 101 disguised as a storybook. They're good stories that just happen to have trans characters, which I found hearteningly normalizing.

I would love to see you do a follow-up list! Thanks for all your work.


Thanks for putting together a list to promote trans lit for the Young Adult readers! I just wanted to point out that the description of Elliott DeLine's book (whose first name has two "t"s) is not accurate. Dean, the main character, is already out when the book begins, and Refuse is more of a romantic/sexual coming-of-age story than a coming-out one.

Another one...

I highly recommend One in Every Crowd, by Ivan Coyote. It's her first book for young people and it's a collection of stories about fitting in and not fitting in, bullying and being bullied, finding your place in the world, honouring the differences between people, and being who you are. She's got a wicked sense of humour and she does a lot of work in high schools. She also does a lot of storytelling and a show with Rae Spoon called Gender Failure. Kids love her, adults love her, and she's making the world a better place.

“Meet Polkadot” will be published in December 2013

One not on your list (because it isn't to be published until December) is “<b>Meet Polkadot</b>” - the first book in The Polkadot Series by author/illustrator Talcott Broadhead / DangerDot Publishing, Olympia, WA / ISBN-10: 0989883604 / ISBN-13: 978-0-9898836-0-3. Ships Dec. 2013 - pre-order now - See: http://dangerdot.com/

“<b>Meet Polkadot</b>” is an accessible introduction to the main character in the Polkadot series. Polkadot as well as Polkadot’s big sister Gladiola and best friend Norma Alicia, introduce readers to the challenges and beauty that are experienced by Polkadot as a non-binary, trans kid. While Gladiola learns how to engage with information that she “didn’t know she didn’t know,” Norma Alicia provides Polkadot with a generous, additional perspective on how identities intersect and how allyship works.

The author Talcott Broadhead was interviewed in this Bitch Magazine article:
"<b>Beyond Judy Blume: Q&A with Polkadot Author Talcott Broadhead</b>" - Books post by Ashley McAllister on September 20, 2012. http://bitchmagazine.org/post/beyond-judy-blume-qa-with-polkadot-author-...


It Would be great if you could add "Meet Polkadot" to the list! Ashley McAllister did a bit on it a while back. It's the first book in the Polkadot Series. Meet Polkadot centers and normalize non-binary Trans identities. The book is feminist and Trans-liberation focused. Beyond inclusion- we want liberation of all gender identities.

Order + learn more here: www.dangerdot.com

Xo Talcott Broadhead (they/them)
Author and Illustrator


I saw the list of manga, and while these title do approach gender in a non-conformist way, I wouldn't necessarily label them as including transgender characters. For example, the manga Princess Princess, I see the characters more as genderqueer, with only a single character ever expressing a true interest in adopting the role permanently. The list of Manga and Anime also seems surprisingly short to me. I would see things like Otome wa Boku ni Koishiteru, Otomen, Half Prince, Kashimashi: Girl Meets Girl, No Bra and a whole host of other mangas fitting the requirements of this list. I found a pretty exhaustive list if anyone is interested. http://www.mangahere.com/gender_bender/3.htm?name.az


The list of manga was not intended to be comprehensive, it was just included in the overall list to show that there are different genres of YA literature that include trans* characters, and since manga is so popular with teens I wanted to include a subsection discussing it.

Also, when I use the word trans* I am including genderqueer in it. I spoke with a number of individuals who told me it was the most inclusive term to use and that the asterisk indicated that I was including transgender, transman, transwoman, genderqueer, and other identities. I realize that is not made clear in this post so that you for mentioning the issue. Hopefully this clears up my intention.

I really associate with the

I really associate with the character of Princess Ozma from the book The Marvelous Land of Oz.... in the third act they learn about a lost Princess who is supposed to rule over the land of Oz the twist is that it turns out to be the main male protagonist under a spell. Gregory Maguire's Out of Oz features the same story but is a bit more conscious in crafting it into a trans lesbian narrative, and is much more adult.

Agreed. (But I can always recommend Oz.)

I have a transgender friend who credits the character of Ozma in helping her accept her true identity as female. Ozma's transition from male to female in the original Oz books is remarkably smooth. As she herself says, "I'm just the same Tip, you know; only—only—" Jack Pumpkinhead concludes this by saying "Only you're different!"

Maguire's take was wonderful, but somewhat tragic, unlike the original Baum books in which she and Dorothy appear to have a VERY close relationship.

Ozma and Prince Marvel

I love Ozma and the Oz books but as modern and contemporary on the surface as the transgendering may be, it was basically a stage device. Baum was hoping to make a second stage musical based on the book. It was the tradition of stage musicals that boy protagonists (such as Peter Pan) be played by women and that come out at curtain call out of costume usually in an evening gown. Baum thought it'd be clever if he incorporated the transition itself directly into the play.
As a transgender, there is a lot positive but there's a few negative as well. Tip actively does not *want* to become Ozma but has not choice in the matter. He suggests he'll try it if Glinda will change her back if he doesn't like it and Glinda refuses saying the female is his real self and to not be a real self is wicked.
In the Enchanted Island of Yew, Baum has another character who is transgendered who better reflects the concept of choice (and is made clear straight from Act I). A female fairy bored with fairihood has a chance to live as a mortal for a year. Given a choice of gender, she without questions chooses male because its more acceptable for princes to have adventures and having adventures is the whole point. In the persona of Prince Marvel, an unbelievably heroic and handsome Prince, he travels the world having adventures. He teams up with a moody and dissatisfied male youth and forms a tight partnership but he is devoted to the human princess whose wish from the start of the story allowed him to be a human prince.

Coloring Book

Thanks for assembling this awesome list! Another book worth checking out, although it's an activity/coloring book and not a picture book, is the Gender Now Coloring Book which helps kids (and adults) explore gender expression and bodies as well as look at gender in nature, history and other cultures. You can read more about here: http://www.reflectionpress.com/our-books/gender-now-coloring-book/


Amazing to see this out there!
One comment, YALSA didn't compile this list, my SISTER did.

Talya Sokoll is a kick ass librarian and devoted A LOT of time to making sure this list was accurate and thorough.

Also, it is listed as for 'young kids', DON'T GIVE THESE BOOKS TO YOUNG CHILDREN if you don't want them to read explicit stuff. These books are for YOUNG ADULTS.

Just thought that in the interest of clarity and accountability, y'all should know.



Just wanted to make sure it was clear that Talya wrote the original list for YALSA.



the GENDER book is gearing up for publication!

Greetings! Thank you to BITCH for getting this conversation started! Here's another project that could be added to the list- the GENDER book is illustrated, about 70 pages long with no age limit. All hand-drawn graphics and lots of color, the GENDER book is readable in one sitting. We're committed individuals from Houston, Texas with a range of transgender identities who began writing and drawing the book because we wanted help telling our own stories and those of the ones we love. But we didn't do it alone. Co-authoring the book are hundreds of trans and cis voices from across the country and the globe who participated in our online surveys and interviews. We're gearing up to go to print, and if you'd like to join the GENDER scouts, check them out! http://www.thegenderbook.com/gender-scouts/4579054527

the GENDER book creators

Yay for the GENDER book, and also...

Thanks, Bitch Media, for your time in putting this list together. I've listed it as the first resource on this page of Genderpedia.net:


Genderpedia.net is a resource wiki which began as a component of the GENDER book Project for the purpose of giving community an opportunity to co-author the full length version of the GENDER book. Genderpedia.net is no longer affiliated with the GENDER book Project officially, though a HUGE fan, always.


Just a quick correction if you do not mind. The Characters name in Goblinheart is Julep not Jude.

2 Unmentioned Trans-Friendly Picture Books for Young Readers

We at Spun Silver humbly request you add two relatively new books to this list.

My New Mommy and My New Daddy by Lilly Mossiano. They follow a young narrator as they describe their parents transitions(one for FtM and one for MtF).

She was featured in Huffington Post for her work as a trans author writing to help educate children about what it means to have a trans person in their lives.

See her interview here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/09/10/lily-mossiano-my-new-series_n_3...

Her books are available in print and e-book format through Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=ntt_athr_dp_sr_1?ie=UTF8&field-author=Lilly+...

Oh man, I remember reading

Oh man, I remember reading Luna when I was around 13. It was my first real introduction to the idea of being transgender, and it was a great one. Even as the twenty-something I am now, I still remember specific scenes from the book, and how much I emphasized with Luna and Regan. A great read, with a great message of acceptance, and the struggles trans* people face.

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