LGBTQ+ Books to Read This Valentine’s Day for Kids, Teens, and Adults

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lgbtq+ valentine's day books
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Growing up in a very conservative household, I was used to hearing stories of a man and woman falling in love, with very stereotypical gender roles for women and men in a marriage. While traditional roles are wonderful for those who are happy with them, I wanted to raise my children so they know that all types of love are beautifulI wanted them to not only know that they could love whomever they want when they grow up but also that they should never judge others for who they love either.

As Valentine’s Day approaches this year, I wanted to make sure that I was diversifying my personal library—and my kids’ bookshelf—with stories celebrating romantic love in all its forms. Here are 16 of my favorite LGBTQ+ books to celebrate love this Valentine’s Day. 

 

To Read With Little Kids

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Scott Stuart

My Shadow Is Pink

My boys immediately fell in love with this book because they were able to relate to liking unicorns, fairies, and other things that were “for girls.” It's a lovely picture book that explores how difficult it can be to share pieces of ourselves that, at times, we may feel the need to hide, but with support and love, they realize that they are not alone. I found that this book helped me teach my 4 and 5-year-olds about gender identity, self-acceptance, and unconditional love.

Joan Holub & by Daniel Roode

This Little Rainbow

This board book is wonderful for younger children from ages 3 to 5 years old who are learning about very important LGBTQ+ people paving the way for others. The beautiful pictures, bright colors, and short descriptions make this a great addition to your bookshelf for even the smallest reader in your home.

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Robin Stevenson & Julie McLaughlin

Pride Puppy!

Pride Puppy! follows a young child and their family whose dog gets lost in the Pride parade. This rhyming alphabet book offers an inclusive glimpse of the LGBTQ+ community that celebrates every year. I personally love reading this one on Valentine’s Day because it is a quick, inclusive read that my children enjoy that isn't too heavy for bedtime.

Daniel Haack and Stevie Lewis

Prince & Knight: Tale of the Shadow King

Since I grew up in a family obsessed with books where princesses fell in love with princes, I wanted to make sure my children also enjoyed stories that share a much more inclusive fairy tale for different types of love. The Prrince & Knight series does just that! It follows two brave heroes who are happily married and have to face many obstacles to save their kingdom from the Shadow King.

 

For Middle-Grade Readers

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Edited by Katherine Locke & Nicole Melleby

This Is Our Rainbow

When I saw that some of my favorite authors were coming together in this book, it was an instant preorder and it did not disappoint. I’m pretty new to reading Middle-grade fiction, but this was a beautiful collection that depicted so many different LGBTQ+ experiences.

Karina Manta

On Top of Glass

After reading Karina Manta’s Modern Love essay, “I Can’t Hate My Body if I Love Hers,” I immediately was drawn to her memoir about her figure skating and life as a bisexual professional athlete. I think this is a wonderful book to add to your Valentine’s Day to-be-read list because it covers much more than the struggle of coming out and delves into self-image and self-love.

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Jules Machias

Both Can Be True

Both Can Be True is a wonderful debut for those looking for books that explore gender fluidity and the power of acceptance. I really appreciated that this was a book for kids ages 8 to 12 because it can be hard to find books that cover fluidity that aren’t for really young children, teens, or adults. Each character is multi-layered and feels relevant for Gen-Z.

 

For Young Adults

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Molly Knox Ostertag

The Girl from the Sea

This is a bewitching introduction to first love in a beautifully illustrated graphic novel that not only highlights a sapphic romance but is also great for readers who like illustrations along with the story.

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Alechia Dow

The Kindred

For those looking for romance with a large side of science-fantasy, I highly recommend The Kindred. In a galactic kingdom, Kindred mind-pairings were created to help match people no matter how rich or how poor they were. Duke Felix finds himself next in line for the throne and decides to flee with his match, Joy, to earth, where they test the strength of their kindred bond. Dow has a way with words that left me pining right along with these these asexual/aromantic and demisexual characters.

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Jason June

Jay’s Gay Agenda

This sex-positive rom-com delves into the complexities of first loves as well as heartbreaks. After growing up as the only out kid in a very small rural town, in his senior year, Jay and his family move to a very LGBTQ+ friendly community—for the first time—where he finally feels like he belongs. This is a wonderful addition to any Valentine’s “to be read" list for those looking for something fun. I personally found it very important because the characters discussed body dysmorphia, stereotyping, and safe sex.

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Leah Johnson

Rise to the Sun

I loved Johnson’s You Should See Me in a Crown and was so excited after I found out that this novel was another light in the darkness with its joyful writing and heartfelt story. Rise to the Sun follows Olivia, who is an expert at falling in love and getting broken up with, as well as her best friend Toni, who is a week away from starting college. Growing up without feelings toward girls being normalized, I loved how seamless Johnson’s story is for not only Black teens but also BIPOC who are LGBTQ+.

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Margot Wood

Fresh

If you are looking for a hilarious coming-of-age story that is also sex-positive, Wood has got you covered. I am an avid fan of the hate-to-love romance trope, and this book made me have butterflies right along with the main character Elliot, who is learning a lot in college about how to love and who she wants to love.

 

For Adults

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Penny Aimes

For the Love of April French

This adult romance stars a trans woman named April French who sets out to have fun in a kink club but finds a lot more. This slow burn is a great read for Valentine's Day that ends on a positive.

Hettie Bell

Knit, Purl, a Baby and a Girl

After a surprise pregnancy, Poppy is trying to get her life together, so she joins a knitting group to start. I was immediately drawn in by the promise of another happily-ever-after, but I also thoroughly enjoyed how the main character was a plus-size bisexual woman who was easy to relate to.

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Simon James Green

Heartbreak Boys

Green writes about such lovable characters that immediately draw you in. This was a quick, humorous, and delightfully romantic novel that follows two friends as they try to make their exes jealous.

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Edited by R.O. Kwon and Garth Greenwell

Kink

This collection of stories helps open doors to the world of desire and portrays love, BDSM, and kinks all across the sexual spectrum. While I loved the spice, I also really enjoyed that it helped me see how fluid love and sex can be.

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