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.

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of The Secrets of Sam and Sam

Why did I love 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.

By Susie Day,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Secrets of Sam and Sam as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Sam likes being a twin. He likes having two mums. He likes cheese sandwiches and his dog and drawing comics with his friend Pea. He does not like humus - or heights ...His twin sister Sammie likes being a twin too. She knows that she's perfect best friend material for somebody - the girls in her class just haven't realised yet. And she knows that she's the best Sam - Sam A. Both Sam and Sammie - and everybody in their lives seems to be keeping secrets - which ones will come out? Meet the very different twins and their…

Book cover of The List of Things That Will Not Change

Why did I love 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.

By Rebecca Stead,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The List of Things That Will Not Change as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A Publishers Weekly Best Book of 2020
Nominated for the Carnegie Medal

Sonia and I have a lot in common. Our parents are divorced. Our dads are gay. We both love barbecue potato chips. But she is different from me in at least one way: you can't tell how she's feeling just by looking at her. At all.

When Bea's dad and his wonderful partner, Jesse, decide to marry, it looks as if Bea's biggest wish is coming true: she's finally (finally!) going to have a sister.

They're both ten. They're both in fifth grade. Though they've never met, Bea…

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

Why did I love 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. 

By Jen Carney,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Accidental Diary of B.U.G. as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Meet Billie Upton Green and her VERY accidental diary - and don't you DARE call her B.U.G!

Billie has taken the new girl at school under her wing. She'll teach her the important stuff - Biscuit Laws, Mrs Patterson and of course where to sneakily eat a Jaffa Cake. She might even get invited to the EVENT OF THE YEAR (Billie's mums' are getting married).

But then suspicion sets in. The new girl seems VERY close to Billie's best friend Layla.

And she knows a LOT about the big school heist - the theft of Mrs Robinson's purse. But, Billie…

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

Why did I love 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.  

By Benjamin Dean,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Me, My Dad and the End of the Rainbow as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The rainbow-filled, JOYOUS debut from a hugely exciting new talent. Perfect for 9+ readers and fans of Elle McNicoll, Lisa Thompson and Onjali Rauf's bestselling THE BOY AT THE BACK OF THE CLASS.

My name's Archie Albright, and I know two things for certain:

1. My mum and dad kind of hate each other, and they're not doing a great job of pretending that they don't anymore.

2. They're both keeping a secret from me, but I can't figure out what.

Things aren't going great for Archie Albright. His dad's acting weird, his mum too, and all he wants is…

Holly's Secret

By Nancy Garden,

Book cover of Holly's Secret

Why did I love 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.  

By Nancy Garden,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Holly's Secret as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A new town and new classmates, but the same family -- with two moms

Dear Diary,
...Until today I was Holly Lawrence-Jones. But starting tomorrow I'm going to be Yvette Lawrence-Jones. My family doesn't know that yet, but I'll tell them tomorrow, and that's the name I'll tell the people at school, too. Yvette's going to be sophisticated and grownup-feminine enough to have white ruffled curtains, and maybe even a boyfriend. She's also going to have a NORMAL family. Kids are not going to make jokes about her and say mean things, because there won't be any reason for them…

5 book lists we think you will like!

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