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LGBT+ picture books: Top recommended reads from writer and teacher Ian Eagleton
Published on: 08 July 2021
Here are six wonderful picture books on a range of topics, from shyness to grandparents and friendships to everyday sunny days – all representing a diverse range of families.
As a gay man who never saw himself in picture books, it’s thrilling that we have so many wonderful LBGT+ inclusive picture books out at the moment!
My husband and I are currently going through the adoption process – an exciting, exhausting, and incredibly rewarding journey – and so I have chosen to focus on the beautiful, heart-warming picture books that I’ve enjoyed recently that celebrate and champion diverse families and relationships.
1. My Daddies! by Gareth Peters and Garry Parsons
My husband and I have been going through the adoption process for a year and a half now, so this bright, vibrant book, which introduces young children to different kinds of families, fills me with happiness. There are dragons to battle, dinosaurs to dodge and space adventures to be had, but the stand-out moment for me is when our two dads share their child’s life story and the joy that the adoption process has brought them.
2. Plenty of Hugs by Fran Manushkin and Kate Alizadeh
Illustration by Kate Alizadeh, from the front cover of Plenty of Hugs
Two loving mummies spend a sunny day with their toddler in this cosy, bouncy rhyming picture book, which again celebrates different families. Kate Alizadeh’s beautiful, soft illustrations are full of tender warmth and Fran Manushkin’s lulling and mesmerising language means this is the perfect bedtime read.
3. Grandad’s Camper by Harry Woodgate
Illustration from the front cover of Grandad's Camper
Gramps has died and so Grandad hides their beloved camper van away. But when his granddaughter visits, she encourages him to remember their travels – perhaps Grandad can find a way to carry on? Dreamy, tender artwork and a beautiful, lyrical story makes this a must-have picture book about loss, sadness, honouring those we love, and the importance of family.
4. The Boys by Lauren Ace and Jenny Lovlie
Illustration from the book The Boys by Lauren Ace and Jenny Lovlie
This inclusive, beautiful book explores the importance of talking, male friendship, and the need to challenge toxic masculinity. There’s a stunning illustration at the end of the story where we watch one of ‘the boys’, now an adult, marry his husband. It sparkles with joy and takes my breath away.
5. The Pirate Mums by Jodie Lancet-Grant and Lydia Corry
Illustration from the book Pirate Mums by Jodie Lancet-Grant and Lydia Corry
Billy has two pirates for mums who love to dance jigs and sing sea shanties, and a pet parrot called Birdbrain. He wishes his family could be more like everyone else's. But then a swashbuckling journey changes everything! A glorious adventure full of humour, heart and love!
6. Violet’s Tempest by Ian Eagleton and Clara Anganuzzi
Illustration by Clara Anganuzzi, from the front cover of Violet’s Tempest
Violet’s world has changed. Her voice has gone from a giggle to a whisper. So, when her teacher casts her in the school play, she is filled with worry. How will she ever stand in front of a crowd and overcome her shyness? With the love and support of her family, including Uncle Tony and his husband Uncle Sebastian, Violet must find her inner confidence and turn that whisper into a roar!
Ian Eagleton is the author of Nen and the Lonely Fisherman, illustrated by James Mayhew. Published by Owlet Press, £7.99 picture book, out now. www.owletpress.com
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