The best transgender books 📚

Browse the best books on topics and characters as recommended by authors, experts, and creators. Along with notes on why they recommend those books.

Coming Fall 2022: The ability to sort this list by genre (signup here to follow our story as we build a better way to discover books).

Book cover of My Sister, Daisy

My Sister, Daisy

By Adria Karlsson, Linus Curci

Why this book?

This is a heartwarming and sensitive story of a change in a family when a younger brother announces a new gender identity. She is a girl. There's an author's note, telling us this is based on a true story. And the bright darling illustrations add to this needed picture book for all children.

From the list:

The best picture books about diverse families

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Book cover of When Aidan Became a Brother

When Aidan Became a Brother

By Kyle Lukoff, Kaylani Juanita

Why this book?

I think this is one of the most remarkable books about transgender experiences available now. Aiden gives voice to both his excitement about becoming a big brother and his frustration with the practice of assigning babies a gender based on their body parts. I have never read another picture book that better reflects my own feelings as a trans person. This book is warm, funny, honest, and will help both parents and children better understand trans experiences and each other. 

From the list:

The best kid’s books to celebrate transgender pride

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Book cover of Just One of the Guys?: Transgender Men and the Persistence of Gender Inequality

Just One of the Guys?: Transgender Men and the Persistence of Gender Inequality

By Kristen Schilt

Why this book?

I have always thought that we desperately need to hear from transmen and transwomen to help distinguish the effects of biological sex from those of cultural gender conditioning—more specifically, to illuminate both the influence of our respective high levels of estrogen or testosterone) and, in a word, sexism. Using interviews with transmen, Schilt very much does the latter. Consider this book a thorough precursor (2010) to the much-publicized experiences of Martin and Nicole (Google it); Martin concludes, about his experience being treated as Nicole, "It sucked." Indeed. (And the surprise experienced by so many transmen at their post-trans experiences supports…

From the list:

The best books to make you think about gender (and sex)

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Book cover of Pet

Pet

By Akwaeke Emezi

Why this book?

Chibundu Onuzo’s debut novel PET is an exciting introduction to one of literature’s most innovative voices. PET is a YA novel set in the fictional city of Lucille. The adults tell the children there are no more monsters, but best friends Jam and Redemption learn otherwise. The novel doesn’t flinch from big issues—identity, abuse, and police brutality. The book is so unique it’s hard to classify it.

From the list:

The best novels by African women

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Book cover of Melissa (Formerly Published as George)

Melissa (Formerly Published as George)

By Alex Gino

Why this book?

This book is a milestone in transgender literature for kids. Published in 2015, it follows a fourth-grader’s attempts to get classmates, teachers, parents, etc. to see past the surface: she’s a girl named Melissa, not a boy named George as everyone perceives. An argument often leveled against transgender kids is that they can’t know they’re transgender because they’re too young. This novel counters that by compassionately and realistically portraying a child who knows her identity from an early age, and it shows how devastating it is when the people who should love and support Melissa instead reject her assertion of…

From the list:

The best YA and MG transgender books

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Book cover of Act Cool

Act Cool

By Tobly McSmith

Why this book?

Another YA book set in New York, but this time in the world of a performing arts school. August Greene, a trans boy from a conservative Pennsylvania community, not only gets accepted into a prestigious performing arts academy in the big city but gets to live his authentic life while doing so. Trouble is, his parents don’t know he’s trans. McSmith is heavily involved in the NY theatre scene, and he writes with insight and accuracy about both trans issues and trans representation in the performing arts. 

From the list:

The best books to introduce you to the world of trans masculine teens

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