New Books for New or Growing LGBTQ Families

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New Books for New or Growing LGBTQ Families

As the season turns towards spring and new beginnings, it feels appropriate to highlight five new and upcoming LGBTQ-inclusive picture books about welcoming new children into a family.

Creating an LGBTQ family often requires outside assistance. "We're Happy You're Here," by Julie Wilkins, illustrated by Brady Sato (Orca), is a celebration of all the "Many special people" who "did many special things" for a child to be here today, including not only queer and non-queer couples and solo parents, but also siblings, grandparents, gamete donors, surrogates, and medical, financial, legal, and social service professionals.

This is not a how-to of family creation, but a simple and loving look at diverse families and their helpers as they dream, plan, and hope. Many have queer-coded haircuts, clothing, or tattoos; others' identities are more ambiguous. A few read as nonbinary, including one who is pregnant. Several of the expressive illustrations show the different people as part of the same city or neighborhood, offering a sense of connection and community. This is bound to become a go-to gift book for LGBTQ families, though it really works for almost any kind of family, and that's the beauty of it.

"It's a They!" by Lindsay Herriot (Orca), is a charming board book that welcomes a new baby without applying gender labels. The adorable photos show various babies and siblings playing and cuddling as the rhyming text provides commentary from the siblings' perspectives. The new baby is small, soft, and fun to snuggle, we read. When asked if the baby is a brother or sister, "They're our sibling," is the reply. On one page, the sibling ponders what pronouns the baby will use, and leaves the question unanswered. And when people ask if the baby is a girl or a boy, the sibling responds, "We aren't sure of their gender yet—and they bring us so much joy." The family will "love them just as they are" no matter who they become.

The three books below help fill a gap in picture-book representation of human children with LGBTQ parents welcoming a new sibling. There have been surprisingly few previous ones that haven't used anthropomorphic animals or analogies with pets.

In "Harper Becomes a Big Sister," by Seamus Kirst, illustrated by Karen Bunting (Magination), Harper is excited when her dads tell her they're adopting a baby boy. She imagines him joining in all their family activities.

Reality is different, however. New baby Wyatt just sleeps, eats, and needs his diaper changed. Harper's dads are too tired or too busy with him to spend much time with her. "Everything is about the baby!" she yells, storming off to her room.

Her dads follow, and she explains why she's mad; they promise to be better about finding time for her. Dad plays hide-and-seek with her while Daddy holds Wyatt, and we know that this family is going to work things out.

As in his previous books about two-dad families, Kirst thoughtfully explores a challenging situation and models useful ways for children to work through their emotions. The book has the same protagonist family as Kirst's "Dad and Daddy's Big Big Family" (about extended family), although each can be read separately. In both, Bunting's illustrations bring a warm charm to the characters and their world.

In "All Our Love," by Kari-Lynn Winters, illustrated by Scot Ritchie (North Winds Press), life has been "just right" for Sofia and her two dads—but when they they say she will soon have a new brother, Sofia has lots of questions: Will her dads like the new child better? Does the new child even want a sister?

While she waits, she writes her sibling a welcome letter about life in their family, what each dad likes to do, and what they (and she) are good at. "You might get asked," she also notes, "why we have ... a Dad and a Daddy. We're just lucky, I guess." Her parents love her, Sofia concludes, but they'll also love you. Now, their family will again be "just right."

Much of the text plays out as the illustrations show Sofia being picked up at school by one dad and rushing to the hospital to meet the other in the birthing ward, a lovely way of combining action and reflection. The sweet and gently humorous story does not indicate whether the family was formed via surrogacy or adoption, making it broadly applicable.

"Joyful Song: A Naming Story," by Lesléa Newman, illustrated by Susan Gal (Levine Querido), is the tale of a Jewish boy and his two moms heading to the naming ceremony for his new baby sister. Along the way, several neighbors of various racial and ethnic identities want to know the baby's name, and Zachary can hardly keep from spilling the secret. His moms interrupt with nicknames ("Little Babka" is my favorite), and invite the neighbors to join them for the big reveal. At the ceremony, with the rabbi (notably a woman) next to them, Zachary happily announces his sister's real name. The family, neighbors, and congregation then have lunch together, part of a diverse community whose members honor each other's traditions.

Newman, acclaimed author of "Heather Has Two Mommies" and more than 80 other books, has here crafted a story both lyrical and delightful, while Gal's lush watercolor illustrations befit the vibrant community.

Whether you are growing your own family or helping to celebrate another, I hope that one or more of these books brings joy to you and the children in your life.

Dana Rudolph is the founder and publisher of Mombian (, a two-time GLAAD Media Award-winning blog and resource directory, plus a searchable database of 1,500+ LGBTQ family books.