The best middle grade books about LGBTQ+ families

Who am I?

Thirteen years ago, when my partner and I started our family, we didn’t know any other LGBTQ+ parents. We decided to learn all we could about the experiences of LGBTQ+ families. Our interviews with more than 70 families grew into an LGBTQ+ parenting guide called Pride and Joy. These real-life stories blew us away with their diversity; made us laugh, cry and gasp as we saw how families thrived, often against the odds. Yet we rarely saw families like these in the books our children read, so I started writing stories of my own. Thankfully, there are now many more - you’ll find some of my favourites on this list. 

I wrote...

Proud of Me

By Sarah Hagger-Holt,

Book cover of Proud of Me

What is my book about?

Josh and Becky are both 13 years old, born just a few days apart, making them ‘almost-twins’. They live with their two mums and share the same anonymous donor. Despite their differences, they’ve always been close, sharing everything and supporting each other in a world which sometimes tells them that they are not ‘real’ siblings. 

However, as Josh becomes increasingly obsessed with finding their donor, and Becky’s feelings for new girl, Carli, start to develop into something more, they drift apart, keeping secrets from their mums and from each other. But when the school’s LGBTQ+ Pride group comes under threat, Josh and Becky come together again, with their friends, to try and save it.

The books I picked & why

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The Secrets of Sam and Sam

By Susie Day,

Book cover of The Secrets of Sam and Sam

Why this book?

Twins Sam and Sam (yes, their two mums, both psychologists, did decide to give them the same name) are not quite teenagers. They both struggle with fears and friendships on the brink of high school. I love this book because the humour is so subtle but spot on, the characters are so well-drawn, and the twins’ different anxieties about an impending school trip are so relatable. The fact that Sam and Sam have two mums makes their family distinctive, and the mums’ relationship is warm and believable, but is not the main element of the story.

The List of Things That Will Not Change

By Rebecca Stead,

Book cover of The List of Things That Will Not Change

Why this book?

Meet ten-year-old Bea, whose parents are recently divorced and whose dad is getting ready to marry his boyfriend Jesse. Bea struggles with change, so her parents make a list to reassure her that none of the things that really matter to her will change after the divorce. My own children, like Bea, have lots of caring adults in their lives, some biologically related and some not, and I loved seeing this kind of complex, blended family represented so beautifully on the page. This book also helps readers to reflect on what they can change in their lives, and which situations they need to learn to come to terms with. Unfortunately, the wedding does not go to plan, but this disaster is transformed into an opportunity to show true friendship in action.

The Accidental Diary of B.U.G.

By Jen Carney,

Book cover of The Accidental Diary of B.U.G.

Why this book?

Billie Upton Green (B.U.G.) has two mums, an obsession with biscuits (the best varieties and correct way to eat them), and a problem with spelling. Young or old, everyone surely has a favourite biscuit-like Billie, I’m a custard cream fan - and even the most reluctant reader, whatever their own family is like, can pick up this quirkily illustrated book and find something to make them laugh or that they can identify with. Author Jen Carney, like me, draws on her own experience as a lesbian parent, and ensures that Billie is able to educate her classmates in a no-nonsense way on what it means to be adopted and to have two mums. 

Me, My Dad and the End of the Rainbow

By Benjamin Dean,

Book cover of Me, My Dad and the End of the Rainbow

Why this book?

This book focuses on ten-year-old Archie, as he comes to terms with his father coming out as gay. Archie’s difficulties, and some of the book’s drama, come from his dad’s inability to talk to Archie honestly and openly about what’s going on and family uncertainty resulting from the divorce, rather than any issue that Archie has with his dad being gay. My favourite thing about this book is its portrayal of LGBTQ+ community - from teenage babysitters with dyed hair to drag queens and lesbian mums - as a place that’s warm and supportive for people of all ages. This book makes being LGBTQ+ sound like a whole load of glitter-filled fun! And that gets my vote every time.  

Holly's Secret

By Nancy Garden,

Book cover of Holly's Secret

Why this book?

I wasn’t sure whether to include this book at first. It’s over twenty years old now - probably one of the first middle-grade titles where a character has same-sex parents. But while some attitudes feel dated, the story is still gripping and relevant. There are still many kids, like Holly, who love their families but feel like they have to keep them hidden to fit in with their friends. Holly learns that keeping secrets leads to bigger problems than the ones she was trying to avoid. Nancy Garden is a pioneer in writing for young adults about LGBTQ+ themes. She is one of my inspirations in becoming a writer. I hope each generation will continue to discover and be inspired by her work, just like I was.  

5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in LGBTQ topics and characters, prejudices, and lesbian topics and characters?

5,309 authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about LGBTQ topics and characters, prejudices, and lesbian topics and characters.

LGBTQ Topics And Characters Explore 93 books about LGBTQ topics and characters
Prejudices Explore 15 books about prejudices
Lesbian Topics And Characters Explore 45 books about lesbian topics and characters

And, 3 books we think you will enjoy!

We think you will like The Price of Salt: Or Carol, A Little Light Mischief: A Turner Novella, and Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal? if you like this list.