17 Books for Parents on Gender: Including Children's Books!

Updated: Nov 12

Buckle up parents! It's time to start reading! For many parents the concept of gender can be a scary one. Especially if it's the first time learning about it. I compiled a list of some of my favorite books to help introduce parents to the topic of gender.


Learning can come from the best academic book or simplest children's book. This is why I included a list written by professionals, memoirs, and children's books. Of course, this isn't a complete list of books on the topic but it's a great starting point!


Let me know if you have a favorite that I didn't include!


Happy Reading!*



1) The Transgender Teen: A Handbook for Parents and Professionals Supporting Transgender and Non-Binary Teens

Authors: Stephanie Brill & Lisa Kenney


Special Note: Both Stephanie and Lisa are part of the spectacular organization called Gender Spectrum. Stephanie founded the organization and Lisa is the current Executive Director.


Purchase your copy here!*


Synopsis from Goodreads: Is it just a phase, a fad, or a real issue with your teen? This comprehensive guidebook explores the unique challenges that thousands of families face every day raising a teenager who may be transgender, gender-variant or gender-fluid. Covering extensive research and with many personal interviews, as well as years of experience working in the field, the author covers pressing concerns relating to physical and emotional development, social and school pressures, medical options, and family communications. Learn how parents can advocate for their children, find acceptable colleges and career paths, and raise their gender variant or transgender adolescent with love and compassion.


Borrow ebooks and audiobooks for free with your library card with OverDrive or Hoopla!


2) Gender Born, Gender Made: Raising Healthy Gender-Nonconforming Children

Author: Diane Ehrensaft, PhD


Purchase your copy here!*


Synopsis from Goodreads: We are only beginning to understand gender. Is it inborn or learned? Can it be chosen—or even changed? Does it have to be one or the other? These questions may seem abstract—but for parents whose children live outside of gender “norms,” they are very real.

No two children who bend the “rules” of gender do so in quite the same way. Felicia threw away her frilly dresses at age three. Sam hid his interest in dolls and “girl things” until high school—when he finally confided his desire to become Sammi. And seven-year-old Maggie, who sports a boys’ basketball uniform and a long blond braid, identifies as “a boy in the front, and a girl in the back.” But all gender-nonconforming children have one thing in common—they need support to thrive in a society that still subscribes to a binary system of gender.

Dr. Diane Ehrensaft has worked with children like Felicia, Sam, and Maggie for over 30 years. In Gender Born, Gender Made, she offers parents, clinicians, and educators guidance on both the philosophical dilemmas and the practical, daily concerns of working with children who don’t fit a “typical” gender mold. She debunks outmoded approaches to gender nonconformity that may actually do children harm. And she offers a new framework for helping each child become his or her own unique, most gender-authentic person.


Borrow ebooks and audiobooks for free with your library card with OverDrive or Hoopla!


3) The Gender Creative Child: Pathways for Nurturing and Supporting Children Who Live Outside Gender Boxes

Author: Diane Ehrensaft, PhD


Purchase your copy here!*


Synopsis from Goodreads: In her groundbreaking first book, Gender Born, Gender Made, Dr. Diane Ehrensaft coined the term gender creative to describe children whose unique gender expression or sense of identity is not defined by a checkbox on their birth certificate. Now, with The Gender Creative Child, she returns to guide parents and professionals through the rapidly changing cultural, medical, and legal landscape of gender and identity. In this up-to-date, comprehensive resource, Dr. Ehrensaft explains the interconnected effects of biology, nurture, and culture to explore why gender can be fluid, rather than binary. As an advocate for the gender affirmative model and with the expertise she has gained over three decades of pioneering work with children and families, she encourages caregivers to listen to each child, learn their particular needs, and support their quest for a true gender self.

The Gender Creative Child unlocks the door to a gender-expansive world, revealing pathways for positive change in our schools, our communities, and the world.


Borrow ebooks and audiobooks for free with your library card with OverDrive or Hoopla!


4) Trans Bodies, Trans Selves: A Resource for the Transgender Community

Edit By: Laura Erickson-Schroth


Purchase your copy here!*


Synopsis from Goodreads: There is no one way to be transgender. Transgender and gender non-conforming people have many different ways of understanding their gender identities. Only recently have sex and gender been thought of as separate concepts, and we have learned that sex (traditionally thought of as physical or biological) is as variable as gender (traditionally thought of as social).

While trans people share many common experiences, there is immense diversity within trans communities. There are an estimated 700,000 transgendered individuals in the US and 15 million worldwide. Even still, there's been a notable lack of organized information for this sizable group.

Trans Bodies, Trans Selves is a revolutionary resource-a comprehensive, reader-friendly guide for transgender people, with each chapter written by transgender or genderqueer authors. Inspired by Our Bodies, Ourselves, the classic and powerful compendium written for and by women, Trans Bodies, Trans Selves is widely accessible to the transgender population, providing authoritative information in an inclusive and respectful way and representing the collective knowledge base of dozens of influential experts. Each chapter takes the reader through an important transgender issue, such as race, religion, employment, medical and surgical transition, mental health topics, relationships, sexuality, parenthood, arts and culture, and many more.

Anonymous quotes and testimonials from transgender people who have been surveyed about their experiences are woven throughout, adding compelling, personal voices to every page. In this unique way, hundreds of viewpoints from throughout the community have united to create this strong and pioneering book. It is a welcoming place for transgender and gender-questioning people, their partners and families, students, professors, guidance counselors, and others to look for up-to-date information on transgender life.


Borrow ebooks and audiobooks for free with your library card with OverDrive or Hoopla!


5) Becoming Nicole: The Transformation of an American Family

Author: Amy Ellis Nutt


Purchase your copy here!*


Synopsis from Goodreads: The inspiring true story of a transgender girl, her identical twin brother, and an ordinary American family’s extraordinary journey to understand, nurture, and celebrate the uniqueness in us all, from the Pulitzer Prize–winning science reporter for The Washington Post

When Wayne and Kelly Maines adopted identical twin boys, they thought their lives were complete. But it wasn’t long before they noticed a marked difference between Jonas and his brother, Wyatt. Jonas preferred sports and trucks and many of the things little boys were “supposed” to like; but Wyatt liked princess dolls and dress-up and playing Little Mermaid. By the time the twins were toddlers, confusion over Wyatt’s insistence that he was female began to tear the family apart. In the years that followed, the Maineses came to question their long-held views on gender and identity, to accept and embrace Wyatt’s transition to Nicole, and to undergo an emotionally wrenching transformation of their own that would change all their lives forever.

Becoming Nicole chronicles a journey that could have destroyed a family but instead brought it closer together. It’s the story of a mother whose instincts told her that her child needed love and acceptance, not ostracism and disapproval; of a Republican, Air Force veteran father who overcame his deepest fears to become a vocal advocate for trans rights; of a loving brother who bravely stuck up for his twin sister; and of a town forced to confront its prejudices, a school compelled to rewrite its rules, and a courageous community of transgender activists determined to make their voices heard. Ultimately, Becoming Nicole is the story of an extraordinary girl who fought for the right to be herself.

Granted wide-ranging access to personal diaries, home videos, clinical journals, legal documents, medical records, and the Maineses themselves, Amy Ellis Nutt spent almost four years reporting this immersive account of an American family confronting an issue that is at the center of today’s cultural debate. Becoming Nicole will resonate with anyone who’s ever raised a child, felt at odds with society’s conventions and norms, or had to embrace life when it plays out unexpectedly. It’s a story of standing up for your beliefs and yourself—and it will inspire all of us to do the same.


Borrow ebooks and audiobooks for free with your library card with OverDrive or Hoopla!


6) Redefining Realness: My Path to Womanhood, Identity, Love, and So Much More

Author: Janet Mock


Purchase your copy here!*


Synopsis from Goodreads: In 2011, Marie Claire magazine published a profile of Janet Mock in which she stepped forward for the first time as a trans woman. Those twenty-three hundred words were life-altering for the People.com editor, turning her into an influential and outspoken public figure and a desperately needed voice for an often voiceless community. In these pages, she offers a bold and inspiring perspective on being young, multicultural, economically challenged, and transgender in America.

Welcomed into the world as her parents’ firstborn son, Mock decided early on that she would be her own person—no matter what. She struggled as the smart, determined child in a deeply loving yet ill-equipped family that lacked the money, education, and resources necessary to help her thrive. Mock navigated her way through her teen years without parental guidance, but luckily, with the support of a few close friends and mentors, she emerged much stronger, ready to take on—and maybe even change—the world.

This powerful memoir follows Mock’s quest for identity, from an early, unwavering conviction about her gender to a turbulent adolescence in Honolulu that saw her transitioning during the tender years of high school, self-medicating with hormones at fifteen, and flying across the world alone for sex reassignment surgery at just eighteen. With unflinching honesty, Mock uses her own experience to impart vital insight about the unique challenges and vulnerabilities of trans youth and brave girls like herself.

Despite the hurdles, Mock received a scholarship to college and moved to New York City, where she earned a master’s degree, enjoyed the success of an enviable career, and told no one about her past. She remained deeply guarded until she fell for a man who called her the woman of his dreams. Love fortified her with the strength to finally tell her story, enabling her to embody the undeniable power of testimony and become a fierce advocate for a marginalized and misunderstood community. A profound statement of affirmation from a courageous woman, Redefining Realness provides a whole new outlook on what it means to be a woman today, and shows as never before how to be authentic, unapologetic, and wholly yourself.


Borrow ebooks and audiobooks for free with your library card with OverDrive or Hoopla!


7) Stuck in the Middle with You: A Memoir of Parenting in Three Genders


Author: Jennifer Finney Boylan


Purchase your copy here!*


Synopsis from Goodreads: A father for ten years, a mother for eight, and for a time in between, neither, or both ("the parental version of the schnoodle, or the cockapoo"), Jennifer Finney Boylan has seen parenthood from both sides of the gender divide. When her two children were young, Boylan came out as transgender, and as Jenny transitioned from a man to a woman and from a father to a mother, her family faced unique challenges and questions. In this thoughtful, tear-jerking, hilarious memoir, Jenny asks what it means to be a father, or a mother, and to what extent gender shades our experiences as parents. "It is my hope," she writes, "that having a father who became a woman in turn helped my sons become better men."

Through both her own story and incredibly insightful interviews with others, including Richard Russo, Edward Albee, Ann Beattie, Augusten Burroughs, Susan Minot, Trey Ellis, Timothy Kreider, and more, Jenny examines relationships with fathers and mothers, people's memories of the children they were and the parents they became, and the many different ways a family can be. Followed by an Afterword by Anna Quindlen that includes Jenny and her wife discussing the challenges they've faced and the love they share, Stuck in the Middle with You is a brilliant meditation on raising – and on being – a child.


Borrow ebooks and audiobooks for free with your library card with OverDrive or Hoopla!


8) Whipping Girl: A Transsexual Woman on Sexism and the Scapegoating of Femininity

Author: Julia Serano


Purchase your copy here!*


Synopsis from Goodreads: A provocative manifesto, Whipping Girl tells the powerful story of Julia Serano, a transsexual woman whose supremely intelligent writing reflects her diverse background as a lesbian transgender activist and professional biologist. Serano shares her experiences and observations—both pre- and post-transition—to reveal the ways in which fear, suspicion, and dismissiveness toward femininity shape our societal attitudes toward trans women, as well as gender and sexuality as a whole.

Serano's well-honed arguments stem from her ability to bridge the gap between the often-disparate biological and social perspectives on gender. She exposes how deep-rooted the cultural belief is that femininity is frivolous, weak, and passive, and how this “feminine” weakness exists only to attract and appease male desire.

In addition to debunking popular misconceptions about transsexuality, Serano makes the case that today's feminists and transgender activist must work to embrace and empower femininity—in all of its wondrous forms.


Borrow ebooks and audiobooks for free with your library card with OverDrive or Hoopla!


9) Transgender History: The Roots of Today's Revolution


Author: Susan Stryker


Purchase your copy here!*


Synopsis from Goodreads: Covering American transgender history from the mid-twentieth century to today, Transgender History takes a chronological approach to the subject of transgender history, with each chapter covering major movements, writings, and events. Chapters cover the transsexual and transvestite communities in the years following World War II; trans radicalism and social change, which spanned from 1966 with the publication of The Transsexual Phenomenon, and lasted through the early 1970s; the mid-'70s to 1990-the era of identity politics and the changes witnessed in trans circles through these years; and the gender issues witnessed through the '90s and '00s.

Transgender History includes informative sidebars highlighting quotes from major texts and speeches in transgender history and brief biographies of key players, plus excerpts from transgender memoirs and discussion of treatments of transgenderism in popular culture.


Borrow ebooks and audiobooks for free with your library card with OverDrive or Hoopla!


10) We Are Everywhere: Protest, Power, and Pride In The History of Queer Liberation

Author: Matthew Riemer & Leighton Brown


Purchase your copy here!*


Synopsis from Goodreads: Have pride in history.

A rich and sweeping photographic history of the queer liberation movement from the creators of the massively popular Instagram account @lgbt_history, released in time for the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots.

Through the lens of protest, power, and pride, We Are Everywhere is an essential introduction–told through stunning photographs and thoroughly researched narrative–to the history of the modern queer liberation movement. Tracing queer activism from its late nineteenth century European roots to the homophiles who made Stonewall possible and the gender warriors who continue the struggle today, this beautifully packaged book contains hundreds of photos and pieces of ephemera that allow the reader to see history as they read. With photography from some of the best-known queer photographers alongside the work of unknown activists, the vintage and contemporary images cover every aspect of queer life and liberation, including marches, protests, family life, personal snapshots, celebrations, reactions to important legal decisions, and Pride.


Borrow ebooks and audiobooks for free with your library card with OverDrive or Hoopla!


11) I am Jazz

Authors: Jessica Herthel & Jazz Jennings


Purchase your copy here!*


Synopsis from Goodreads: The story of a transgender child based on the real-life experience of Jazz Jennings, who has become a spokesperson for transkids everywhere.

From the time she was two years old, Jazz knew that she had a girl's brain in a boy's body. She loved pink and dressing up as a mermaid and didn't feel like herself in boys' clothing. This confused her family, until they took her to a doctor who said that Jazz was transgender and that she was born that way. Jazz's story is based on her real-life experience and she tells it in a simple, clear way that will be appreciated by picture book readers, their parents, and teachers.


Borrow ebooks and audiobooks for free with your library card with OverDrive or Hoopla!


12) Red: A Crayon's Story

Author: Michael Hall


Purchase your copy here!*


Synopsis from Goodreads: A blue crayon mistakenly labeled as "red" suffers an identity crisis in the new picture book by the New York Times–bestselling creator of My Heart Is Like a Zoo and It's an Orange Aardvark! Funny, insightful, and colorful, Red: A Crayon's Story, by Michael Hall, is about being true to your inner self and following your own path despite obstacles that may come your way. Red will appeal to fans of Lois Ehlert, Eric Carle, and The Day the Crayons Quit, and makes a great gift for readers of any age!

Red has a bright red label, but he is, in fact, blue. His teacher tries to help him be red (let's draw strawberries!), his mother tries to help him be red by sending him out on a playdate with a yellow classmate (go draw a nice orange!), and the scissors try to help him be red by snipping his label so that he has room to breathe. But Red is miserable. He just can't be red, no matter how hard he tries! Finally, a brand-new friend offers a brand-new perspective, and Red discovers what readers have known all along. He's blue! This funny, heartwarming, colorful picture book about finding the courage to be true to your inner self can be read on multiple levels, and it offers something for everyone!


Borrow ebooks and audiobooks for free with your library card with OverDrive or Hoopla!


13) It Feels Good to be Yourself


Author: Theresa Thorn


Special Note: Read my book review on my previous blog, here!


Purchase your copy here!*


Synopsis from Goodreads: A picture book that introduces the concept of gender identity to the youngest reader from writer Theresa Thorn and illustrator Noah Grigni.

Some people are boys. Some people are girls. Some people are both, neither, or somewhere in between.

This sweet, straightforward exploration of gender identity will give children a fuller understanding of themselves and others. With child-friendly language and vibrant art, It Feels Good to Be Yourself provides young readers and parents alike with the vocabulary to discuss this important topic with sensitivity.


Borrow ebooks and audiobooks for free with your library card with OverDrive or Hoopla!


14) Who Are You? The Kid's Guide to Gender Identity

Author: Brook Pessin-Whedbee


Purchase your copy here!*


Synopsis from Goodreads: What do you like? How do you feel? Who are you?

This brightly illustrated children's book provides a straightforward introduction to gender for anyone aged 4+. It presents clear and direct language for understanding and talking about how we experience gender: our bodies, our expression and our identity. An interactive three-layered wheel included in the book is a simple, yet powerful, tool to clearly demonstrate the difference between our body, how we express ourselves through our clothes and hobbies, and our gender identity. Ideal for use in the classroom or at home, a short page-by-page guide for adults at the back of the book further explains the key concepts and identifies useful discussion points.

This is a one-of-a-kind resource for understanding and celebrating the gender diversity that surrounds us.


Borrow ebooks and audiobooks for free with your library card with OverDrive or Hoopla!


15) Jacob’s New Dress

Author: Sarah Hoffman & Ian Hoffman


Purchase your copy here!*


Synopsis from Goodreads: Jacob loves playing dress-up, when he can be anything he wants to be. Some kids at school say he can't wear "girl" clothes, but Jacob wants to wear a dress to school. Can he convince his parents to let him wear what he wants? This heartwarming story speaks to the unique challenges faced by boys who don't identify with traditional gender roles.


Borrow ebooks and audiobooks for free with your library card with OverDrive or Hoopla!





16) Annie’s Plaid Shirt

Author: Stacy B. Davids


Purchase your copy here!*


Synopsis from Goodreads: Annie loves her plaid shirt and wears it everywhere. But one day her mom tells Annie that she must wear a dress to her uncle's wedding. Annie protests, but her mom insists and buys her a fancy new dress anyway. Annie is miserable. She feels weird in dresses. Why can't her mom understand?

Then Annie has an idea. But will her mom agree?

Annie's Plaid Shirt will inspire readers to be themselves and will touch the hearts of those who love them.

Themes of gender norms, identity, individuality, tolerance, and self-esteem.


Borrow ebooks and audiobooks for free with your library card with OverDrive or Hoopla!


17) Gracefully Grayson

Author: Ami Polonsky


Purchase your copy here!*


Synopsis from Goodreads: Alone at home, twelve-year-old Grayson Sender glows, immersed in beautiful thoughts and dreams. But at school, Grayson grasps at shadows, determined to fly under the radar. Because Grayson has been holding onto a secret for what seems like forever: “he” is a girl on the inside, stuck in the wrong gender’s body.

The weight of this secret is crushing, but leaving it behind would mean facing ridicule, scorn, and rejection. Despite these dangers, Grayson’s true self itches to break free. Strengthened by an unexpected friendship and a caring teacher who gives her a chance to step into the spotlight, Grayson might finally have the tools to let her inner light shine.

Debut author Ami Polonsky’s moving, beautifully-written novel shines with the strength of a young person’s spirit and the enduring power of acceptance.


Borrow ebooks and audiobooks for free with your library card with OverDrive or Hoopla!


Thanks for reading!

-The Open Book Chat



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Credentials: Ryan Dillon, LPC

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