12 Books for Trans Day of Visibility

From picture books and middle grade novels to YA novels and a collection of essays, poems, art, and stories, these 12 recent titles showcase a range of transgender and nonbinary voices and experiences, perfect for Trans Day of Visibility.

Trans Day of Visibility. Image of transgender flag and covers of all twelve books.

March 31 is International Trans Day of Visibility, a day for celebrating the lives and contributions of transgender and nonbinary people while raising awareness of the discrimination facing this community. From picture books and middle grade novels to YA novels and a collection of essays, poems, art, and stories, these 12 recent titles showcase a range of trans and nonbinary voices and experiences.

 Galaxy: The Prettiest Star by Jadzia Axelrod. illus. by Jess Taylor. DC Comics. ISBN 9781401298531.
Gr 9 Up–Sixteen-year-old Taelyr (Taylor among the humans) lives a boring, normal life in a small, quiet town. That life just so happens to include being on the run and hiding from the Vane, aliens who attacked Taelyr’s home world Cyandii in an intergalactic war six years prior. Trans writer Axelrod crafts an honest, relatable story that delves into issues of feeling out of place in one's own body and relationships strained by transitioning, but also contains hope and joy. VERDICT An effervescent and poignant tale about discovering and embracing your truest self against all odds; a must-buy for teen collections.

Lark & Kasim Start a Revolution by Kacen Callender. Abrams/Amulet. ISBN 9781419756870.
Gr 9 Up–A queer Black neurodivergent teen learns about the revolutionary power of love and truth amidst the messiness of teenage life both online and off. Lark, 17 and nonbinary, hopes that if they crack 50,000 followers on Twitter, they will land a literary agent. When a viral tweet thread professing their love to an unknown friend gains them those followers, there’s just one problem: Lark didn’t write it; former best friend Kasim, who is trans, accidentally posted it on Lark’s account. VERDICT A heartfelt and thoughtful look at a fractured friendship and the transformative capability of love and compassion.

 Dear Mothman by Robin Gow. Abrams/Amulet. ISBN 9781419764400.
Gr 5 Up–Sixth-grader Noah is struggling after his best friend Lewis’s unexpected death. No one seems to understand his deep grief, and now that Lewis is gone, no one knows that Noah is really Noah, not the name he was given at birth. The only connection Noah can find is to Mothman, a mythical cryptid that was a subject of fascination for Lewis. A book that so honestly depicts a transgender, autistic character is a rarity, and Noah’s story is truly beautiful. VERDICT A triumphant coming-of-age story about gender identity, strength, and friendship, as well as the different ways that people discover who they are.

Growing Up Trans: In Our Own Words ed. by Lindsay Herriot & Kate Fry. Orca. ISBN 9781459831377.
Gr 6 Up–A vibrant collection of essays, poems, art, and stories from trans teens, this book serves stereotype-busting diverse perspectives that are sure to resonate with many. Each piece feels authentically young, and it’s clear that the kids who submitted work (as a part of a workshop led by trans mentors and facilitated by editors Herriot and Fry) felt comfortable in sharing some of their deepest-held thoughts and feelings. VERDICT A useful conversation starter for young teens exploring the gender spectrum and for the adults in their lives, this is a recommended purchase for teen nonfiction shelves.

 Different Kinds of Fruit by Kyle Lukoff. Dial. ISBN 9780593111185.
Gr 5 Up–Newbery Honor–winning author Lukoff brings a middle grade novel to warm the hearts of every rainbow family and ally. Annabelle enters sixth grade ready to make her final year at her small private school a great one—and the year starts auspiciously with a young teacher and a new friend, Bailey, who is nonbinary. Lukoff masterfully portrays the personalities, both child and adult, that Annabelle comes to know, believes she knows, and those whom Annabelle questions can ever know her. VERDICT This one belongs in every library serving grade-school kids, and warrants booktalking and display to draw attention to the reality of the rainbow spectrum.

Lakelore by Anna-Marie McLemore. Feiwel & Friends. ISBN 9781250624147.
Gr 7 Up–Although many people no longer remember the lore of the nearby lake, Bastián has always been privy to its secrets. A transmasculine nonbinary boy with ADHD, they are able to manage their symptoms by creating alebrijos, papier-mâché sculptures of fantastical creatures, and releasing them into the lake. Only one other person knows the secrets of the lake—Lore, a genderfluid nonbinary teen with dyslexia who has just moved to Bastián’s town after an event they refuse to speak about. VERDICT An especially important purchase for school libraries, but a strong candidate for inclusion in most collections serving teens.

A Costume for Charly by C.K. Malone, illus. by Alejandra Barajas. Beaming. ISBN 9781506484051.
PreS-Gr 2–Bi-gender Charly is determined to find a Halloween costume that represents their whole identity, showing they’re both a boy and a girl. Their Dracula costume makes their femme side feel erased, and the Little Red Riding Hood costume leaves their masc side in the dust. The only solution? Charly must get creative! Back matter includes information on bi-gender identity and select LGBTQIA+ resources. VERDICT Charly’s joyous creativity and persistence will encourage trick-or-readers to think outside of the box this Halloween.

 Beating Heart Baby by Lio Min. Flatiron. ISBN 9781250819093.
Gr 10 Up–Seventeen-year-old Santi’s life has been a mess since his childhood best friend (a person Santi had only known online as “Memo”) ghosted him. With the loss of Memo, Santi also lost a part of himself. To help Santi move on and reconnect with life, Aya, Santi’s guardian, moves them to her hometown of Los Angeles and pushes her charge to join the marching band that was so pivotal to her in her youth. This gorgeous debut deftly explores themes around gender dysphoria, abuse, loss, anxiety, and depression. VERDICT A must-have for all collections serving older teens—especially those looking to add more high-quality realistic queer fiction to their shelves.

My Rainbow by DeShanna Neal & Trinity Neal. illus. by Art Twink. Penguin/Kokila. ISBN 9781984814609.
PreS-Gr 2–A lively picture book tribute to a family’s unwavering support of their transgender daughter, written by a mother-daughter advocate duo and based on their experiences. The text’s frank and refreshing usage of terms such as cisgender will spark necessary conversations between children and caregivers. VERDICT There are very few books widely published and readily available that spotlight Black trans girls and women; this picture book is an affirming, uplifting story to add to school and public library collections.

The Wicked Bargain by Gabe Cole Novoa. Random. ISBN 9780593378014. 
Gr 9 Up–For 16 years, Mar’s life on the ocean has been pretty much perfect, as long as they keep their fire and ice magia under control. No stranger to rejecting binaries, Mar is transmasculine and uses they/them pronouns; Mar’s struggles with body dysmorphia despite the acceptance and acknowledgment of their gender identity will be resonant or illuminative, depending on readers’ perspectives. Set against a backdrop of early 19th-century Spanish control in the Caribbean, Spanish phrases are woven throughout. VERDICT This novel sets the standard for inclusive, swashbuckling romance; it’s adventurous, fun, and highly recommended.

 Sir Callie and the Champions of Helston by Esme Symes-Smith. Random/Labyrinth Road. ISBN 9780593485774.
Gr 5 Up–When their champion knight father is called back to serve the crown, Callie is excited to live out their dream of becoming a knight. Upon arriving in legendary Helston, nonbinary Callie’s ambition is cruelly stifled by the intolerant Chancellor and the palace’s rigid gender norms; they are expected to forfeit their sword and practice magic with the girls instead. The writing is empowering, expertly creating an inclusive tale that affirms everyone’s right to define themselves. VERDICT A must-have for every library. This is an important book that will capture every reader’s heart and imagination.

 The Sunbearer Trials by Aiden Thomas. Feiwel & Friends. ISBN 9781250822130.
Gr 7 Up–In this Mexican-inspired fantasy, Teo must unexpectedly compete against eight of Reino del Sol’s brightest young Heroes and one unlucky 13-year-old in a competition to become the next Sunbearer, carrying light to all the temples of Reino del Sol and keeping away the evil Obsidian gods for another few years. The world of the Reino del Sol is consciously and emphatically queer and diverse, and transition is shown to be a celebration. VERDICT Readers who have aged out of Percy Jackson and Rick Riordan Presents will delight in the mythology that Thomas has created, while readers who enjoy the competition structures of Sarah J. Maas’s Throne of Glass or Amanda Foody’s All of Us Villains will love reading about the challenges the heroes face. While the trials do not always feel high stakes, this is a fun and warm-hearted start to a duology.

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