Historically, children’s stories haven’t done much to challenge the gender role status quo. Typically, we see the stereotypical roles of girls and boys take shape on the pages ― without taking into account that children’s interests and desires may differ from what they’re reading.
“We live in a world that pressures our kids to conform, especially regarding gender-normative behavior,” says Craig Pomranz, author of the children’s book, Made by Raffi. “How much wasted talent is caused by these artificial ideas about what are appropriate activities for boys and girls?”
Fortunately, parents, authors and society as a whole are a bit more woke these days to the importance of teaching children to embrace their individuality by giving them relatable stories to connect to. From a little girl who picks a plaid shirt instead of a dress, to a mislabeled crayon who’s trying to figure out who they really are, there are plenty of reads that’ll teach children to feel comfortable in their own skin.
Check out 10 of our favorite children’s books about nonconformity below, and don’t forget to sign up for our Full Carts, Can’t Lose email to stay on top of the best sales each week.
'The Paper Bag Princess' by Robert Munsch
In this not-so-traditional tale, the princess ends up saving her prince from harm's way. Get it here
'Made by Raffi' by Craig Pomranz
Made by Raffi is the story of a little boy who is teased for sewing and knitting. Yet, it's his crafty talents that end up saving the day for his school. Get it here
'Red: A Crayon's Story' by Michael Hall
After a blue crayon is mistakenly labeled as red, he sets out to try and become someone he's not, only to realize that it's okay to be exactly who you are. Get it here
'I Don't Want To Be A Frog' by Dev Petty
This book is all about self-acceptance as Frog realizes that as much as he wants to be a dog, or cat, or rabbit, he is who he is. Get it here
'Morris Micklewhite and the Tangerine Dress' by Christine Baldacchino
In this heartwarming tale of nonconformity, Morris is teased for wearing the tangerine dress in his classroom’s dress-up center, but when his mom encourages him to be exactly who he is, he brings his entire classroom together through his vivid imagination and creativity. Get it here
'Rosie Revere, Engineer' by Andrea Beaty
Rosie is a shy girl by day, but brilliant inventor by night. In this classic heroine tale, she sets out to create the greatest invention of all, the ability to fly. Get it here
'I Am Jazz' by Jessica Herthel and Jazz Jennings
"This is an essential tool for parents and teachers to share with children whether those kids identify as trans or not. I wish I had had a book like this when I was a kid struggling with gender identity questions. I found it deeply moving in its simplicity and honesty." - Laverne Cox. Get it here
'A Peacock Among Pigeons' by Tyler Curry
This book is all about learning how to stand out when you're no longer content with fitting in. Get it here
'Whoever You Are' by Mem Fox
'Whoever You Are' teaches us that despite our backgrounds, differences, physical features, we're more alike than we think we are. Get it here
'Annie's Plaid Shirt' by Stacy B. Davids
Annie loves her plaid shirt, but when she's asked to wear a dress one day, she feels so out of place. Until she comes up with a creative solution to show her independence. Get it here
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