Books can be helpful, entertaining, illuminating portals into the trans*/gender nonconforming experience. The list below — which highlights books by and about the trans*/gnc community — is divided into sections by audience age, and alphabetized by author. We’ll keep updating the list periodically.
Morris Micklewhite and the Tangerine Dress by Christine Baldacchino, illustrated by Isabelle Malenfant
A little boy shows his class the power of the little orange dress. With gentle humor, author Baldacchino debunks all the shoulds and shouldn’ts of children’s behavior merely based on the number of x-chromosomes.
I Am Jazz by Jessica Herthel & Jazz Jennings, illustrated by Shelagh McNicholas
The only picture book memoir thus far tells the story of young Jazz Jennings and her realization since age 2 that her girl’s brain didn’t fit her boy’s body. Groundbreaking for being the first, yet bookshelves have plenty of room for both addition and improvement.
Jacob’s New Dress by Sarah and Ian Hoffman, illustrated by Chris Case
Jacob’s love of wearing dresses doesn’t exactly endear him to all the other kids in his class. But his imagination and determination eventually win over his parents, his teacher, and his classmates, too.
Who Are You? The Kid’s Guide to Gender Identity by Brook Pessin-Whedbee, illustrated by Naomi Bardoff
Inspired by the work of Gender Spectrum, a non-profit group dedicated to creating gender sensitive and inclusive environments for children and teens, this colorful book explains bodies, how we express ourselves, and identities in easy-to-understand language for all ages. Also includes information and resources for adults and allies.
Being Jazz: My Life as a (Transgender) Teen by Jazz Jennings
Transgender teen activist/reality TV star Jazz Jennings, who voiced her gender identity at 2, who became a transgender icon at 5, shares her first 15 years. The middle-grade companion to her picture book, I Am Jazz (above).
Wandering Son (multi-volume series) by Shimura Takako, translated by Matt Thorn
A groundbreaking graphic series from Japan about two middle-school friends coming of age: Nitori who wishes he could be a girl and Takatsuki who wishes she could be a boy. Creator Shimura treats both protagonists’ journeys of self-discovery with gentle honesty; her characters are wide-eyed and adorable, uncertain and searching.
Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out written and photographed by Susan Kuklin
Six transgender and gender nonconforming teens speak out — candidly, vulnerably, openly — about their diverse experiences. Kulkin’s photographs are especially revealing.
If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo
New girl Amanda — born Andrew 19 years ago — escapes the abuse and violence of her hometown to start anew with her father, who she hasn’t seen in six years. New school, new friends, maybe even new love … if only her secret stays safe.
Parrotfish by Ellen Wittlinger
Angela’s announcement about his transition to Grady as a high school junior leaves both his family and friends divided. Author Wittlinger creates Grady’s world with deft accuracy, filled with contemporary details and all-too-real situations
She’s Not There: A Life in Two Genders by Jennifer Finney Boylan
Originally published in 2003, Boylan’s bestselling memoir chronicling her transition from James to Jenny was updated in 2013. With the growing awareness of the transgender community, Boylan’s memoir is even more resonating today.
The Transgender Child: A Handbook for Families and Professionals by Stephanie Brill and Rachel Pepper
Just about everything you ever wanted/needed/hoped to know about raising a transgender child. An indispensable guide for all families and institutions that include transgender members. Also see: The Transgender Teen.
Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides
The 2003 Pulitzer Prize winner has one of fiction’s best opening lines: “I was born twice: first, as a baby girl, on a remarkably smogless Detroit day in January of 1960; and then again, as a teenage boy, in an emergency room near Petoskey, Michigan, in August of 1974.” Cal’s epic self-discovery, intricately interwoven through his ancestral tale, is a complex, transformative journey indeed.
Becoming Nicole: The Transformation of an American Family by Amy Ellis Nutt
Jonas and Wyatt were born identical twin boys, but by toddlerhood, Wyatt knew she was a girl. Their mother Kelly supported Nicole unconditionally; father Wayne’s understanding would take longer. Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Nutt edifies readers with history, science, medicine, and law, deftly exposing the family’s challenges without demonizing the ignorant, fearful, at times downright nasty naysayers.