The best books to teach children, teenagers and young adults about acceptance and diversity this LGBT History Month
Bishop's Stortford College Prep School librarian Lizzie Hall writes about the magic of storytelling...
Dear Reader. February is LGBT History Month. Books with lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender characters are important for children for many reasons.
When a child reads a story and finds themselves within the pages, the effects are profound.
Books provide safe spaces for children and allow them to know they are not alone with their feelings.
Most importantly, these books encourage acceptance and diversity.
Here are some LGBT reading suggestions...
For younger readers
Julian is a Mermaid by Jessica Love
While riding the subway home with his Nana one day, Julian notices three women spectacularly dressed up.
Their hair billows in brilliant hues, their dresses end in fishtails and their joy fills the train carriage.
When Julian gets home, daydreaming of the magic he's seen, all he can think about is dressing up just like the ladies and making his own fabulous mermaid costume.
But what will Nana think about the mess he makes and, even more importantly, what will she think about how Julian sees himself?
Pride: The Story of Harvey Milk and the Rainbow Flag by Rob Sanders and Steven Salamo
This is the very first picture book about the remarkable and inspiring story of the Gay Pride flag.
In this deeply moving and empowering true story, young readers will trace the life of the Gay Pride flag, from its beginnings in 1978 with social activist Harvey Milk and designer Gilbert Baker to its spanning of the globe and its role in today's world.
Award-winning author Rob Sanders' stirring text and acclaimed illustrator Steven Salerno's evocative images combine to tell this remarkable and under-told story of love, hope, equality and pride.
And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson
This is a heart-warming true story of two penguins who create a non-traditional partnership.
At the penguin house at the Central Park Zoo, two penguins named Roy and Silo were a little bit different from the others. But their desire for a family was the same.
And with the help of a kindly zookeeper, Roy and Silo got the chance to welcome a baby penguin of their very own.
For older readers
Two Weeks with the Queen by Morris Gleitzman
"I need to see the Queen about my sick brother."
Colin Mudford is on a quest. His brother Luke has cancer and the doctors in Australia don't seem to be able to cure him.
Sent to London to stay with relatives, Colin is desperate to do something to help Luke. He wants to find the best doctor in the world. Where better to start than by going to the top? Colin is determined to ask the Queen for her advice.
In Morris Gleitzman's trademark style, this very moving story illuminates deeply serious issues about illness and loss with bright moments of humour.
Starring Kitty by Keris Stainton
Kitty's keeping secrets. Like how she's struggling to cope with her mum's illness. And how she's falling for the girl with the purpley-red hair.
A fun film competition with her friends Sunny and Hannah seems like the perfect distraction. But then Dylan wants to be more than Kitty's secret.
Is Kitty ready to let her two worlds meet or will she risk losing Dylan forever?
The Boy in the Dress by David Walliams
Dennis was different.
Why was he different, you ask? Well, a small clue might be in the title of this book…
Surprising and hilarious, The Boy in the Dress is the amazing first book by David Walliams. Guaranteed to touch the hearts and funny bones of everyone.
For teens and young adults
Every Day by David Levithan
Each morning, A wakes up in a different body.
There's never any warning about who it will be, but A is used to that. Never get too attached. Avoid being noticed. Do not interfere.
And that's fine, until A wakes up in the body of Justin and meets Justin's girlfriend, Rhiannon. From that moment, the rules by which A has been living no longer apply.
Because, finally, A has found someone he wants to be with every day.
We are all Made of Molecules by Susin Neilson
Meet Stewart. He's geeky, gifted and sees things a bit differently to most people.
His mum has died and he misses her all the more now he and Dad have moved in with Ashley and her mum.
Meet Ashley. She's popular, cool and sees things very differently to her new family.
Her dad has come out and moved out – but not far enough. And now she has to live with a freakazoid step-brother.
Stewart can't quite fit in at his new school and Ashley can't quite get used to her totally awkward home, which is now filled with some rather questionable decor.
And things are about to get a whole lot more mixed up when these two very different people attract the attention of school hunk Jared.
The Black Flamingo by Dean Atta
This is not about being ready, it's not even about being fierce, or fearless, it's about being free.
Michael waits in the stage wings, wearing a pink wig, pink fluffy coat and black heels. One more step will see him illuminated in the spotlight.
He has been on a journey of bravery to get here and he is almost ready to show himself to the world in bold colours.
Can he emerge as the Black Flamingo?