Be Who You Are by Jennifer Carr

aAuthorHouse, 2010.

Transgender – Preschool/Elementary School

Nick has felt like a girl for as long as he can remember. When he tells his parents, they tell him they love him any way he feels. Nick’s parents let him grow his hair, buy him dresses, and when things start getting difficult at school, they talk to his teacher, and take him to a therapist who supports children “who felt like they were born in the wrong body.”

Nick continues to identify as a girl, and tells her parents that she doesn’t want to be called a boy, or be called Nick anymore. They support her decision to change her name to Hope, and when she wants to meet other children like her, they find other families with children like her that she can play with and talk to.

Hope’s little brother, Will, is relieved that they can still share a room, but doesn’t know what it will be like to have a sister instead of a brother. The family goes to the library to check out books about sisters and brothers loving each other, which makes him feel better.

Will has questions for Hope, which she always answers, and he is relieved when she says she is the same person as always and will always love him.


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Filed under **** Highly recommended, 2010s, Infant - Preschool, Soldier Girls and Dancing Boys

“Labyrinth” by Lois McMaster Bujold

aOriginally published in Analog, August, 1989; included in Borders of Infinity.  Baen, 1989; and also in Miles, Mystery, and Mayhem. Baen, 2001.

Intersex – Adult/Teen Interest

In this novella in the Vorkosigan series, Bel Thorne, a person who is described as being fully hermaphroditic – the preferred term on Bel’s home planet of Beta Colony – serves under Miles in a mission to Jackson’s Whole. Bel flirts with Miles, who is attracted, but can’t stop thinking of Bel as male.

Bel also appears as a supporting character in The Warrior’s Apprentice, The Vor Game, Brothers in Arms, Mirror Dance, Memory, and Diplomatic Immunity.

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Filed under **** Highly recommended, 1980s, Adult, Soldier Girls and Dancing Boys

A Civil Campaign by Lois McMaster Bujold

aBaen, 1999.   Transgender – Adult/Teen Interest

In one of the many story threads in this volume of the Vorkosigan Saga, Lady Donna Vorrutyer travels to Beta Colony to have a sex change operation in order to prevent a loathed cousin from inheriting a title and lands. As a woman, Lady Donna was married three times, and as Count Dono Vorrutyer, marries again and has a child. Count Dono also appears briefly in Captain Vorpatril’s Alliance (Baen, 2012).

Other titles in the series will be of interest to LGBTQ readers. While this title can be read as a stand-alone, readers will be missing a great deal of background information and character development.

The author’s suggestion for the order in which to read the series can be found here:

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Filed under **** Highly recommended, 1990s, Adult, Soldier Girls and Dancing Boys

Beauty Queens by Libba Bray

aScholastic, 2011.

Lesbian/Transgender – High School

In this very popular, and over-the-top novel, a group of teenage beauty contestants are stranded on an apparently deserted island when their plane crashes. With few resources they manage to survive storms, people-eating snakes, snarky infighting, and pirates. When they uncover an arms-dealing conspiracy related to the beauty pageant, the young women put their heads together and put a stop to it, saving themselves, and continuing to practice for their pageant in the meantime. Among the contestants is a lesbian teen, and one of the pirates is transgender.

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Filed under **** Highly recommended, 2010s, Soldier Girls and Dancing Boys

Choir Boy by Charlie Anders

aSoft Skull Press, 2005.  

Transgender – Adult/Teen Interest

Thirteen-year-old Berry wants nothing more than to remain a choirboy all his life. In humorous and heart-rending fashion Berry goes from nerdy teen to confused transgender-kid.  Anders brings new life to the term teenage angst.

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Filed under *** A good read, 2000s, Adult, Soldier Girls and Dancing Boys

The Purim Superhero by Elizabeth Kushner

purimKar-Ben, 2013.  

Gay – Preschool/Elementary School

Nate is encouraged by his two fathers to follow his own way when choosing his Purim costume, rather than being pressured to be a super-hero like all the other boys plan to be. Abba tells him that not all boys need to be alike, and that makes Nate think about his family with two fathers. They also use the example of Queen Esther, who dared to be herself in order to protect the Jewish people, and Abba explains that being yourself can make you stronger, even if you are different – an oblique reference to being openly gay. Additionally, Nate’s family is shown as being well integrated into their synagogue community.


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Filed under **** Highly recommended, 2010s, Infant - Preschool

“The Missing Person” by Jennifer Finney Boylan

aIn How Beautiful the Ordinary: Twelve Stories of Identity edited by Michael Cart. Bowen Press / Harper Teen, 2009.

Cross-dressing/Transgender – High School

“All that time, trapped in the walls of your own house and no one even knowing you’re there?”

To Jimmy, who has just ventured out for the first time dressed as a girl in his sister’s clothes, his mother’s surprised comment about a missing girl makes painful sense.

This short story is highly recommended.

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Filed under **** Highly recommended, 2000s, Soldier Girls and Dancing Boys