4 Books About Transgender Youth

by Marsha Rakestraw

Not only do people who are transgender have to deal with bullying, violence, and bigotry, but young people also must frequently grapple with changing bodies, unsupportive families and schools, and the challenges of navigating a very unique experience.

Children who may be transgender need to read about others who share their experiences, and kids who are cisgender benefit from learning about people who are different from them.

Here are 4 books for youth (three fiction, one non-fiction) that explore what it’s like to be transgender.

lily & duncanLily and Dunkin by Donna Gephart
2016. Grades 5-9

Tim wakes up every morning knowing something that others can’t tell just by looking at him: Tim is really Lily Jo. And as a middle schooler, Lily is desperate to receive the hormone blockers that will stop her body from permanently becoming Tim’s body. Lily makes a friend over the summer, but when her new friend Dunkin realizes Lily’s not part of the “in” crowd, he dumps her for the bullying basketball team.

bookGeorge by Alex Gino
2015. Grades 4-6

George was born a boy, but she knows she is a girl. And when no one is around, she calls herself Melissa and reads magazines about clothes and makeup. These magazines are hidden, as are George’s feelings. As a fourth grader how does she tell those around her that she is actually a girl? How does she explain how much it hurts when her mom says “You will always be my baby boy”?

bookBeyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out by Susan Kuklin
2014. Grades 9 and up

Beyond Magenta is a collection of stories of transgender teens, who share their joys and struggles and reveal how they want to be viewed by others. Through interviews, readers are exposed to many different backgrounds and experiences within the transgender youth community, from teens who identify as male or female, to those who identify as neither, to a teen who is intersex.

Book cover: Gracefully GraysonGracefully Grayson by Ami Polonski
2014. Grades 5-9

To the outside world, Grayson is a boy; but inside, Grayson knows she should be living as a girl. As 6th grade begins, the introverted Grayson finds a friend she can relate to and a teacher who encourages her. As she struggles with her desire to be her true self, Grayson makes a decision that will change her life. She tries out for the female lead in the school play and lands it.

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