Discover & explore for grade schoolers: Gender identity

By Children’s Librarian Hal Patnott

It’s Transgender Awareness Week, an annual event dedicated to educating our communities about the lives of transgender people. Transgender Awareness Week is celebrated every year during the week leading up to Transgender Day of Remembrance (November 20), a day set aside to recognize each life lost during the year to transphobic violence around the world.

In honor of Transgender Awareness Week, let’s talk about gender identity! Our understanding of gender and the language we use to describe it is constantly evolving. Often, we learn a limiting and binary definition of gender that tries to put everyone into just two categories—boy or girl.

However, that definition excludes and harms so many of our friends, neighbors, and family, because gender is an infinite spectrum that expands both between and far beyond the concepts of boy and girl. Exploring gender identity is a valuable learning experience as a means of self-discovery and as an opportunity to build empathy. 

Starting conversations about gender identity with the young people you care for can sometimes feel scary or overwhelming. If you’re feeling nervous, you aren’t alone.

We receive requests all the time for books about gender identity and what it means to be transgender. Sharing stories is a great place to begin. Below are some resources to help. You also can check out our Transgender Resource Collection.

Share these stories

Check out these titles available in your digital library. Don’t have a library card? Get instant access: Sign up now »

Picture books

Chapter books & graphic novels

Explore these online resources

  • The Gender Unicorn: This free tool is great for facilitating creative conversations about gender.
  • Gender Wheel Coloring Pages: These downloadable coloring pages accompany books by Maya Christina Gonzalez like They, She, He, Easy as ABC
  • Gender Wheel Videos: This collection of videos includes a short story about pronouns, readings by Maya Christina Gonzalez, and a series of lessons that pairs with They, She, He, Easy as ABC.
  • Pronouns: This app is a fun tool for learning how to use a variety of pronouns.
  • Queer Kid Stuff: This YouTube channel includes videos for all ages about LGBTQ+ identities and social justice.
Hal Patnott

About Hal

Hal Patnott is a children’s librarian who specializes in serving LGBTQ+ young people and their allies. He is passionate about identity exploration through collaborative storytelling and imaginative play.

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