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8 Books About Gender Fluidity for Young Readers

Chris M. Arnone

Senior Contributor

The son of a librarian, Chris M. Arnone's love of books was as inevitable as gravity. He holds an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Missouri - Kansas City. His novel, The Hermes Protocol, was published by Castle Bridge Media in 2023 and the next book in that series is due out in winter 2024. His work can also be found in Adelaide Literary Magazine and FEED Lit Mag. You can find him writing more books, poetry, and acting in Kansas City. You can also follow him on social media (Facebook, Goodreads, Instagram, Twitter, website).

HarperCollins Children’s Books.

Ash and Daniel are no strangers to feeling like outcasts. As someone who cycles through genders, it’s a struggle for Ash to feel in control of how people perceive them. Daniel’s been told he’s overly sensitive more times than he can count. As he and Ash join forces to save a rescue dog, things go from cute to complicated when they start catching feelings for each other—and Daniel thinks Ash is a girl. With so much on the line, they’ll have to decide to go against binaries and embrace the beauty of living in between or forever feel at war with themselves.

Gender as a binary is purely a social construct. This is a concept that is difficult for some to really wrap their minds around, let alone explain to their young children. Particularly for cisgender parents, knowing where to start the conversation on gender fluidity is the first hurdle. Here are eight books about gender fluidity to get the ball rolling.

Books About Gender Fluidity for Young Children

A Fire Engine for Ruthie by Lesléa Newman and Cyd Moore

This book looks at the gender binary in a way almost every kid can understand: through toys. Whenever Ruthie visits Nana, she’s presented with dolls and dresses, but doesn’t want to play with those. Nana’s neighbor, Brian, gets to play with a toy fire engine. Why can’t Ruthie?

I Am Jazz! by Jessica Herthel, Jazz Jennings, and Shelagh McNicholas

Jazz Jennings is a real-life transgender woman who is already famous enough that your children may already know of her. This book is based on her story as a transgender child and gives real insights into what it’s like growing up transgender.

Julian Is A Mermaid cover

Julian is a Mermaid by Jessica Love

On the subway home one day, Julian see three women dressed in a way that grabs his heart and imagination. They are dressed as mermaids. He goes home and tries his best to dress the same, to be as beautiful and glamorous as those three women, even if his abuela doesn’t understand. A winner of the Stonewall Book Award, Julian is a Mermaid is gorgeous in storytelling and illustration.

My Princess Boy by Cheryl Kilodavis and Suzanne DeSimone

Based on her own son, Cheryl Kilodavis presents Dyson. Dyson loves pink and sparkles and wearing jeans and climbing trees and wearing tiaras. The book explores how gender can be so fluid particularly to young children who have not been exposed to the binary that society constructs.

Middle Grade Books About Gender Fluidity

Gracefully Grayson by Ami Polonsky

Grayson is in 6th grade and harboring a secret: She’s a girl on the inside, even if her body doesn’t show it. Gracefully Grayson tenderly navigates the fears of coming out as transgender and how compassionate people like teachers can be so instrumental in helping a child find their true selves.

Lily and Dunkin by Donna Gephart

Lily is a transgender girl struggling with still looking like a boy in 8th grade. Dunkin is the new kid to town, and he struggles with bipolar disorder. These two unlikely companions form a fast friendship and show just how important relationships are when dealing with gender fluidity and mental illness. Lily and Dunkin will break your heart, but it will stitch it back together.

The Moon Within by Aida Salazar

Unlike the rest of the books on this list, The Moon Within doesn’t feature a genderfluid main character, but a girl who is struggling with puberty and family traditions. Rivera has a friend coming to terms with gender fluidity, however, which can provide great insights on how to be a friend and ally to other genderfluid children.

The Pants Project by Cat Clarke

Liv is a transgender boy living in the closet. If that isn’t hard enough, Liv’s school invokes a new dress code forcing girls to wear skirts. Liv combats the new policy the only way he knows how: by starting The Pants Project. With his new friend Jacob, Liv starts gathering signatures in a petition against the new dress code.

No one has to be alone in their gender journey, and neither do parents of genderfluid children. The authors and illustrators of these books about gender fluidity are already with you. Give these a read with your children and then find a whole community of genderfluid people out there.