LGBTQ Books for Children

LGBTQ Books for Children

In honor of Pride Month, I’d like to share with you our favorite LGBTQ-friendly books for children. We’re avid readers in this house and I love that the world of children’s book is far more diverse than it was when I was growing up.

Children’s Books to Read in Honor of Pride Month

childrens books for pride month lgbtq

Teaching Children about the LGBTQ Community

While we’ve always reaffirmed to our children that “love is love” it’s great to have these books to help them learn all the more about LGBTQ history and icons, breaking gender stereotypes, and what it means to be nonconforming. I’m by no means an expert on this myself, but I nevertheless want to use this space to encourage you to check out at least one of these books (if you haven’t yet!)

Now of course some of the links below are affiliate links – which means I may make a commission should you click through to purchase – but this in no way impacts my recommendation of said books. And of course if you have a book to recommend that didn’t make the list, please comment below and share with us!

Springfield IL capitol building with pride fest banner

LGBTQ Stories for Younger Children

Julián Is a Mermaid

Julián Is a Mermaid by Jessica Love is an absolutely beautiful book, both through the story itself and the imagery. In this story, Julián dreams of being a mermaid and one day decides to dress up as one….only to be caught by his abuela. Curious what happens next? You’ll have to read it for yourself!

See on Amazon

Pink is for Boys

This book by Robb Pearlman breaks through the stereotype of pink vs blue and empowers kids to express themselves using any color of the rainbow they wish. It also reaffirms the idea that each person should feel free to enjoy doing whatever is they love!

 See on Amazon

Love is Love

Love is Love by Michael Genhart is a story about how love is what makes a family. I’ve written before about why we should ditch the step in step-child, but this book goes beyond that. When a boy is taunted for “not having a real family” he quickly learns what that actually means.

 See on Amazon

A is for Activist

This board book is absolutely phenomenal and one that the whole family is sure to love. It’s full of pictures, sound words, and a cute cat on every page for the little ones to find. Not only will this story help your child learn his ABCs but it’s sure to inspire and delight everyone!

See on Amazon

Introducing Teddy

When Errol finds his best friend Thomas feeling sad, he soon discovers why – Thomas wishes to be Tilly. How will Errol handle this unexpected change? Buy the book and share this “gentle story about gender and friendship” with your little ones today!

 See on Amazon

Mommy, Mama, and Me

This sweet family story shares a day in the life of a toddler and its mommies. The author – Leslea Newman – also has a similar book entitled Daddy, Papa, and Me.

 See on Amazon

See on Amazon

LGBTQ Books for Older Children

The ABC’s of LGBT+

While the title may make it sound like this is a story is for little ones, it’s actually an in-depth book on sexuality and gender. It also includes a dictionary/glossary to help readers understand the various terms used. It’s a great book for older children and adults!

See on Amazon

Star Crossed

This story by Barbara Dee is absolutely brilliant. In it, Mattie finds herself crushing on Gemma during their school’s production of Romeo and Juliet. Oh but wait – she’s also really into Elijah, a boy she’s liked for “like forever!” What will happen when Mattie suddenly has to step in as Gemma’s Romeo? Only one way to find out…

 See on Amazon

The Other Boy

As if being twelve wasn’t hard enough, Shane (our story’s main character) has a secret that he feels he can’t tell anyone, even his family or best friend Josh. While I don’t want to give too much away, I will say that Shane’s assigned gender at birth doesn’t quite match up with who he really is…

See on Amazon

George

George by Alex Gino is another story about a trans child who yearns for acceptance…well that and to play the role of Charlotte in Charlotte’s Web. Luckily George has her friend Kelly to help her make the world see her for who she truly is!

 See on Amazon

Ivy Aberdeen’s Letter to the World

As if suffering through the destruction of a tornado wasn’t enough, our main character Ivy realizes her journal has gone missing…a journal filled with drawings of girls holding hands. Suddenly, though, the drawings start to reappear in her locker along with notes encouraging her to come out. The thing is, though, Ivy’s sister blew up over her best friend coming out…will she do the same when she finds out her sister likes girls?

 See on Amazon

LGBTQ Books for School

The Great Big Book of Families

This book by Mary Hoffman does such a beautiful job of featuring all kinds of families and their lives together. It’s not only great to help children better recognize that everyone’s family is different, but it’d make for a great classroom addition as well!

 See on Amazon

Annie’s Plaid Shirt

If you can’t guess from the title, this story by Stacy B. Davids is about how much Annie loves wearing her plaid shirt. Then one day she’s told she’ll have to wear a dress to her uncle’s wedding and she’s anything but excited. Annie doesn’t understand why her mom doesn’t get that she feels weird in dresses! Then Annie has an idea…

 See on Amazon

Red: A Crayon’s Story

Entertaining yet insightful, Red: A Crayon’s Story by Michael Hall is about a blue crayon being mistakenly labeled as red. No matter what his teacher, friends, or mother says about being red, this crayon knows who he really is. It’s a great book to teach children about self awareness!

 See on Amazon

LGBTQ Children’s Books Based on True Stories

And Tango Makes Three

I’m not sure if I’m just a sap for sweet stories or if it’s because this one is based on a true story, but I LOVE this book. When two male penguins became inseparable and formed a bond unlike any other, the zookeepers at Central Park Zoo gave them a motherless egg. Then (much to everyone’s surprise!) the pair hatched the baby!

 See on Amazon

I Am Jazz

It’s hard not to know who Jazz Jennings is, but have you shared her story with the kids? From the age of two, Jazz always knew she was a girl born in a boy’s body. Through this book, the author shares how important it is to respect each other’s differences and recognize that everyone has the right to be who they are.

 See on Amazon

Pride: The Story of Harvey Milk and the Rainbow Flag

Based on another true story, this book by Rob Sanders celebrates social activist Harvey Milk and his role in creating a global symbol of equality and inclusion.

 See on Amazon

A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo

Oook so maybe this one isn’t actually a true story, but the idea certainly stems from one! When I heard about this book from John Oliver, I didn’t hesitate for a moment to pre-order it. It is by far and away one of our family’s favorite books…even if it has led to my children calling a certain man a “stink bug” (hehehe)

 See on Amazon

This Day in June

Last but certainly not least, This Day in June by Gayle E. Pitman is a beautifully done reflection of the LGBTQ community and what it means to celebrate pride. What I love most about this it that it includes a reading guide full of facts surrounding LGBTQ history/culture as well as a guide on how parents can talk to children about sexual orientation and gender identity.

See on Amazon

Narrowing in on this list of LGBTQ books to read to children wasn’t an easy task. There are so many great books out there to not only help you celebrate Pride Month, but to teach about diversity and acceptance all year long. While we still have an incredibly long way to go toward a more peaceful and accepting world, reading books like these to our children is a great place to start.

Are there any books you think I missed that are an absolute must for this list?

Comment below and share with us!

How to Turn $5 Into an Hour of Peace & Quiet

How to Turn $5 Into an Hour of Peace & Quiet

With the school year drawing to a close, it also means my children will be home with me more…a lot more.

Now don’t get me wrong, I absolutely adore my little ones (97% of the time), but I’m a work-at-home mom with no nanny, no daycare, and no family help.

To be frank – it sucks.

There are a lot of ways to survive as a WAHM, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy. I truly love that I had the ability to quit my job and become a professional blogger/online business owner, but trying to work when my children are around 24/7 is exhausting. And doing so after my husband gets home at 6pm? Ooph. I love client calls, those are always energizing, but sitting down to write a blog post or create some social media graphics just doesn’t happen after spending 12 hours chasing around two little ones.

So lately I’ve been combing through my Pinterest trying to find ideas on how to keep my kids entertained without A) spending a lot of money B) having them watch 6 hours of TV every day or C) having to invest a ton of my own energy to do so.

Well one thing I kept coming across was setting up a “washing station” for kids to wash their toys – KIDS. LOVE. BUBBLES. This much I know.

Summer Activity Idea for Kids

summer fun diy idea

I decided to take things one step further, though. I went online to the Dollar Store – yes, I shop online at the Dollar store, have I mentioned I’m usually short on time? – and was browsing around when I found these AMAZING Crayola Bath Tub Paints. So I picked up a few of those, a couple cute plastic tubs, some bubble bath, and a pack of sponges.

summer fun kid car wash

I decided I wouldn’t just set up a “car wash” but would in fact encourage they make a mess before then washing everything.

car wash fun

You can always tell when he’s concentrating when his tongue pops out…

car wash kid fun

I don’t know what was more fun – painting or washing!

It took me all of two minutes to get them set up and they then played for NEARLY AN HOUR!! An hour in which they were too busy to pick on each other, whine about the sunshine, or beg for yet another cup of juice. It was heaven. Plus I didn’t have to give them a bath that night! 😉


What’s your go-to summer activity to keep kids busy?

I’d love to know in the comments below!

Affirmations 101: Your Guide to Happier Thoughts

Affirmations 101: Your Guide to Happier Thoughts

Do you consider yourself a smooth talker? Or do you stumble over your words, your brain moving faster than your mouth?

Either way – what if I told you that you could talk your way into a healthier, wealthier, overall happier life? Sounds like crazy voodoo or maybe just hippy hullabaloo right? Fortunately I have science on my side as I tell you – affirmations DO work.

What is an affirmation?

An affirmation is simply a statement or declaration that something is valid and true.

Let’s say that when you pass by the hallway mirror on your way to the kitchen for a cup of coffee, you notice out loud, “My hair is a mess!”

Or perhaps when you are loading up the family car with groceries, you might mutter, “I spend a small fortune every week feeding these kids!”

You may not know it, but those are affirmations, albeit negative ones. An example of a positive affirmation is something like “I deserve to be happy!”

How do affirmations work?

It starts by becoming more mindful of your words, thoughts, and actions. When you catch yourself thinking or saying something negative, stop yourself. Find a way to put a positive spin on it, even when you don’t want to.

As you train your brain to be positive through your affirmations, it will become natural, and it will influence your life in all areas, including your thoughts. You will begin to manifest in your life what you envision to be true in your life, and you give affirmation to what you believe to be true.

Developing your own affirmations may feel uncomfortable at first, but as soon as you get used to the idea of speaking out positive truth, it will be a natural part of your daily routine.

When you catch a glimpse of that unruly hair, quickly exclaim, “I have such beautiful, healthy hair.”

And as you stock your kitchen, “I am so blessed to be able to provide so well for my family!”

Depending on what you hope to accomplish through positive affirmations, you will be able to tailor the phrases to benefit you individually. Identifying where you have weakness in thought patterns is a great place to start. If you are hard on yourself in a particular area, or if you are struggling with something specific, combat the tendency to be critical of yourself by immediately telling yourself what you would like to see, as though it has already happened that way.

You are amazing!

A big part of using positive affirmations is choosing to believe you are significant and you are valuable. You will be amazed at how dramatically this alone will change your life. If you are reminding yourself all day how valuable you are, your decisions will be made through a different lens, your reactions to negative circumstance will not be made out of fear, and you will develop a deeper sense of security in your emotional and physical well-being.

You may have read it, but a couple years ago I wrote a post on how I lived to blog, but I was scared it wouldn’t amount to anything. Regardless of that fear, I kept telling myself I was going to make it happen – I would find my freedom, quit my job, and be the work-at-home mom I’d always wanted to be.

And guess what?

It happened. In fact, just two months after writing that post, I was making more than enough money to quit my job and now work from home as a professional blogger and efficiency strategist, helping other bloggers master the art of bringing in profits without pressure.

So when doing your own affirmations, think of it as a narrator in your life, reading the script as you live it out. If the script says that you are successful and happy, you act out the narrative believing that it is true, before it happens. You tell yourself what to believe, so that it will happen.

If you still need more convincing, take eight minutes to watch this video (I PROMISE you, it’s worth it):

Tips on positivity

There are a few helpful things to keep in mind as you start on your journey towards a positive, healthy lifestyle full of new words, phrases and initially awkward declarations.

First, be grateful for who you are and what you can accomplish.

Second, don’t ever compare yourself to others.

Finally, don’t judge yourself or others.

As you implement these simple guidelines, you will be successfully affirming yourself with positivity in no time. You can begin using your positive affirmations to influence outcomes in all kinds of situations.

You listen to yourself more than you think! (And so do your kids!)

Usually what comes out of your mouth is a good indicator of what you believe. And guess what? If you’re saying it, your kids are hearing it. So even if you’re only directing negative self-talk at yourself, you’re still teaching your children that it’s okay to disrespect yourself and your surroundings in such a way.

If you believe you are not good enough, you will voice that in a number of ways, and in turn, you’ll produce less than stellar results. You can use positive affirmation to turn the tables, change your mind about what you believe and get positive results. After practicing positive affirmations regularly, your thought patterns will change and you will discover that your beliefs now have changed. The affirmations that are released from your mouth will now appropriately indicate your beliefs, and will be manifested in your life.

[clickToTweet tweet=”Usually what comes out of your mouth is a good indicator of what you believe. #affirmations #positivethinking” quote=”Usually what comes out of your mouth is a good indicator of what you believe.”]

Remember that positive affirmations are a tool to re-train your mind into believing what you are telling it to believe. When you are speaking, pay attention to the words. Convince yourself that what you are saying is true. Believe that you are who you say you are through your affirmations.

Don’t have time for affirmations?

That was always my excuse – “ugh! It’s just so hard to remember!” or “There’s no time in the mornings!”

Sound familiar?

Yeah, thought so. That’s why I made it a habit to do affirmations WITH my children. If you struggle to believe in the power of affirmations, make it a point to include your children and watch as positive thinking becomes a family habit. There’s little better you can teach your children than to think positive.

[clickToTweet tweet=”There’s little better you can teach your children than to think positive.” quote=”There’s little better you can teach your children than to think positive.”]

Here are a few examples of positive affirmations to influence your day:

  • I trust myself to make great choices
  • I am unique and significant
  • I am totally capable of providing well for my family
  • I was made to experience life abundantly
  • I was created to be healthy and whole
  • I am a source of great comfort, peace and joy for my family
  • I am creative and resourceful
  • I attract interesting people and amazing opportunities, because I am interesting and amazing
  • I am calm and relaxed when I interact with others
  • I study and comprehend what I read easily
  • I am surrounded by love
  • I have the means to experience life as I choose
  • My body is healthy and functioning as it should

As you habitually remind yourself of all that you are through positive affirmations, you will achieve far greater success in your life — physically, emotionally, spiritually, mentally and financially.

You will thrive in your abundantly blessed life, and everyone around you will want to know your secret.

Do you have any experience with positive affirmations? I’d love to hear about your successes!

Apocalyptic Brain: My Response to Hawaii’s False Alarm

Apocalyptic Brain: My Response to Hawaii’s False Alarm

I have what I call an “apocalyptic brain.”

The first time I realized that’s what it was when I was on my way to pick my babies up from daycare.

At the time, my daughter was eight months old and my son had just turned two. And because he had just turned two, he was moved to the “twos room” all the way on the other side of the daycare building.

So there I was, waiting at the red light to turn toward the daycare, and suddenly I was lost…

Tumbling down into this pit of chaos and confusion. Darkness all around and when I opened my eyes, there was pandemonium.

In my mind, a bomb had just went off, reducing half the city to ashes, and I had mere moments to get to the daycare. But once there, which direction do I choose? With both babies at either end of the building, how do I pick which child to go after first? What if something happens to one while I’m rescuing the other? Where will we go from there? Stay put or run?? How do I save my husband? Or do I trust he’ll find us? What if we never see each other again and something happens to me?? Who will make sure my babies are safe???

It wasn’t until a horn blared behind me that I realized the light had turned green. My knuckles screamed in protest as I pried my fingers from the steering wheel and turned into the daycare. Everyone safe. Everyone sound…well, almost everyone…

I consider myself (more-or-less) a logical person but even now, writing this piece, I can feel my chest tightening. Yes, I know the scene that played out wasn’t real, but in that moment? In that moment, it was everything and my inability to quickly find a safe solution has stayed with me ever since.

While I have since implemented various strategies and coping mechanisms to help me work through this anxiety, I awoke on Saturday January 13th to find myself once again being threatened by the chaos.

In case you’ve been living under a rock – which, uh, can I join you?? – Hawaii inadvertently sent a message out via its emergency alert system that a ballistic missile threat was inbound and residents were told to seek immediate shelter. Luckily it was a false alarm, but the fallout from it is far from over…

In the 24 hours that have followed, my newsfeed has been overtaken by stories of Hawaiian mothers and the panic they felt and articles on what people went through as they prepared to try and survive. I can already hear some of you telling me, “Well just stay off social media, Amber!” but that’s far easier said than done when it’s my job. When was the last time you tried going with social media for a day?

I know I shouldn’t read the stories, but my apocalyptic brain needs to know what happened, to absorb the “shoulda, coulda, woulda” of it all.

Then my primal brain jumps in and tries to allay my fears, to pretend that this isn’t an actual threat. That we’re not at risk for nuclear war. That we’re not lead by a man-child who uses Twitter to threaten other supposed leaders.

But honestly it’s my logical brain that continues to win out. I recognize that while an apocalypse probably isn’t looming (despite what my mother says), the chance of a war has become a very real possibility. All we can do is prepare and live our best lives possible, because frankly we can’t know how we’ll react in a situation such as this one. Sure, we could let our brains run away, send us into an anxious world of chaos, or we could choose to keep moving forward.

“Prepare for the worst, but expect the best”, right?

Yes, we have supplies in our basement should the worst happen. And yes, I’ll continue to plead “joke” with my Canadian friends about adopting me. But in the meantime, we’ll continue to live our lives and strive to do better. To volunteer more with our children. To be civically engaged. And to trust that this country will eventually be the brilliant land of freedom its so often thought to be.

[clickToTweet tweet=”Don’t let the anxiety, fear, or anger win out. Choose to be better.” quote=”Don’t let the anxiety, fear, or anger win out. Continue to be the best, most kind person YOU can be and teach your children to do the same.”]

Believe it’ll get better from here and maybe together we’ll make it so.

Mother Daughter Date Ideas for the Winter

Mother Daughter Date Ideas for the Winter

Looking for free mommy/daughter date ideas? You’ve come to the right place! And fortunately many of these ideas will also work for Father/Daughter dates, Mommy/Son dates, or for whole family fun!

As another year draws to close and winter fully sets in, it can be hard to want to get up and go. Trust me, I get that — it’s due to be -16 °F as I write this!! Rather than setting your kids in front of the TV while you hide under blankets and cry over your holiday budget gone awry, though, why not make use of this quieter time of year and plan out a few Mommy/Daughter dates?

When it comes to planning out Mommy/Daughter dates, the best ones are both free and easy. While it can be tough to find things to do during the winter, these are a few experiences I’ve used to ensure we don’t go stir-crazy during the cold months. They’re not always completely free, but they are done with frugality in mind. Also, please note that this post is sponsored by C’est Ça New York, a company that makes absolutely gorgeous tulle and lace garments (the Mommy & Me skirts being a favorite of mine!)

Along those lines, links below may be affiliate links, which means I receive compensation should you click through to purchase (this comes at no additional cost to you).

Mommy/Daughter Picnic

Just because it’s cold outside, doesn’t mean you can’t picnic! My husband and I received an absolutely AMAZING picnic set for our wedding and while it’s certainly a lot of fun to use during the summer months, I occasionally allow for it to be used for a fun indoor picnic. My daughter and I will pack it up from our snack cart and fruit drawer then we’ll march around the house, singing “Teddy Bear Picnic” while searching for the perfect spot to lay out our blanket. It seems silly, but it always ends it full tummies and giggles (*psst* don’t tell her, but it’s also a way I “trick” her into eating more fruit!)

Read a Book at the Library

I’m sure library visits are probably already on your list of rainy day ideas, but how often do you actually sit and read at the library? Find a cozy spot in the children’s section and take half an hour to read whatever books your child brings your way. With few distractions, it’s a great way to spend some quality time together while also enjoying a bit of peace and quiet.

brown hair toddler reading book stuffed animals

Hot Cocoa Party

Tea parties are so old hat, a hot cocoa party is where it’s at! Serve up a mini-buffet of candy canes, whipped cream, chocolate chips, and anything else your little one might like to top her cocoa with and then let her at it. Just don’t forget to set a place for the teddy bears and dollies, too!

Salon

When was the last time you let your child pick out your clothes or do your hair? Probably never, right? But I bet they’d love it! Let your child be a “salon owner” and give you a full head-to-toe makeover – clothes, makeup, you can even let them brush your hair! Little makes my daughter happier than when I hand her a brush to brush my hair…and honestly, she’s gotten pretty good at it, so it’s actually a nice relaxing time for me, too!

Fun Photo Shoot

And after the makeover, why not do a fun photo shoot?? Better yet, why not dress in matching outfits and set it up so you can both be in front of the camera.

I’ll admit, before I had kids, I thought Mommy/Daughter outfits were a bit weird, but then I had my daughter and oh.my.goodness – she’s a mini-me and I love it!! When we got our matching tulle skirts from C’est Ça New York I couldn’t believe how gorgeous they were. We opted for the champagne color so we had more options in terms of leggings worn underneath and it is most definitely true to the pictures shown.

Little makes me happier in terms of fashion than a tulle skirt and these are phenomenally made (while also making ME look and feel great!) And of course my daughter was in heaven, running about the room squealing about being a princess. In fact, she was running around so fast, it was hard to grab a picture, but we’ll be posting some soon on my Instagram so don’t forget to follow us!

Wiggles Workout

Okay so now that we’ve had some food, hot chocolate, and a makeover, why not burn off any remaining energy with a little workout fun? Maybe you’re not quite as big of a fan as I am when it comes to The Wiggles, but there are many other kids shows that have dancing about in them – pick one and get up and dance! I opt for The Wiggles because they’re always so high energy, but still easy to follow along. Seriously, this is a great way to not only get your child burning off some excess sillies, but if you struggle to get a workout in during the day, this is a great way to bond with your child AND live a healthier life.

Mommy/Daughter Date Time

Regardless of how you spend time with your child (volunteering with your child is also a great way to go!), the fact that you’re taking time out to just spend some 1:1 time with your kid will do wonders for the both of you. Your children don’t care about how much money you’re making and they certainly can’t wrap their little minds around the every day stress we battle as parents, but giving them an hour or two of JUST you and your attention? That’s truly priceless to them.

So why not make it a goal in 2018 to schedule out at least a couple hours each month to do nothing but enjoy the light you brought into this world? Goodness knows they won’t stay little forever…

What sort of activities do you plan when you’re having 1:1 time with one of your kids?

Comment below, I’d love to hear about it!