HRC & Drag Queen Story Hour Celebrate Banned Books Week

by HRC Staff

We've seen a concerted effort in recent years to silence LGBTQ+ stories and remove them from classrooms and libraries across the country. We should be working to educate children and families on the different identities and stories that exist — not erase them. Banned Books Week, celebrated September 18-24 this year, is dedicated to shining a light on these books and ensuring no community is erased.

In celebration of Banned Books Week, the Human Rights Campaign is partnering with Drag Queen Story Hour to provide families everywhere with an opportunity to celebrate LGBTQ+ stories and spread a message of inclusivity and acceptance for all. We've shared just a couple of LGBTQ+ themed books below that have been challenged or banned in states across the country. Not only can you take a look at this list — you can also tune into our live storytime below!

Red: A Crayon's Story - Michael Hall

  • A blue crayon mistakenly labeled as “red” suffers an identity crisis. Almost everyone tries to “help” them be red until a friend offers a new perspective. They’re blue! About finding the courage to be true to your inner self.

  • Banned Themes: Gender Identity/Expression, Acceptance, Friendship

  • Challenged in 2020 by parents in California.

  • Stormie Daie’s (Triangle Chapter, Durham, NC) favorite book!

And Tango Makes Three - Justin Richardson
  • Summary: The story of two famous dads — penguins Roy and Silo from New York’s Central Park Zoo. The two take turns sitting on an egg until it hatches, and Tango is born.

  • One of the most challenged/banned children's books since published in 2005.

  • Banned Themes: Family, Same-Sex Couples, Parenthood

Neither - Airlie Anderson

  • In the Land of This and That, there are only two kinds: blue bunnies and yellow birds. But one day a funny green egg hatches, and a little creature that’s not quite a bird and not quite a bunny pops out. It’s neither! When not accepted in the Land of This and That, Neither searches and finds a place where all are welcome.

  • Banned Themes: Gender Identity/Expression, Non-Binary, Community, Diversity & Inclusion

  • Challenged in 2020 by parents in California.

  • Angel Elektra’s (Miami, FL) favorite book!

I Am Jazz - Jessica Herthel & Jazz Jennings

  • Summary: From the time she was two-years-old, Jazz knew that she was a girl, even though others saw her as a boy. She loved pink and dressing up as a mermaid, and didn’t feel like herself in “boys’ clothing.” Based on the real-life experiences of Jazz Jennings.

  • Ranks #13 among the top 100 books banned or challenged in the last decade.

  • Banned Themes: Transgender, Gender Identity/Expression, Famil

When Aidan Became a Brother - Kyle Lukoff

  • When Aidan was born, everyone thought he was a girl, but as he grew older, he realized he was a boy. When he finds out he is going to be a big brother, he learns the most important thing about being an older sibling: how to love with his whole self.

  • Banned Themes: Transgender, Family, Siblings

  • Banned in 2021 by a school in Pennsylvania.

  • Harmonica Sunbeam’s (Jersey City, NJ) favorite book!

Heather Has Two Mommies - Lesléa Newman

  • Summary: Heather’s favorite number is two – two arms, two legs and two pets. And she also has two mommies. As school begins, Heather sees that, "the most important thing about a family is that all the people in it love one another."

  • Banned Themes: Family, Same-Sex Couples, Parenthood

  • Challenged in 2020 by parents in Virginia

10,000 Dresses - Marcus Ewert

  • Bailey, a trans girl, is trying to make her dreams a reality. Each night, Bailey dreams of a different mystical dress, which she in turn asks each of her family members if they can help her find the next morning. Despite pushback from some, she finds support in a friend and is able to make the dress of her dreams.

  • Banned Themes: Transgender, Gender Identity/Expression, Family

  • Banned in 2021 by a school in Ohio.

  • Yuhua Hamasaki’s (New York City, NY) favorite book!

Born Ready: The True Story of a Boy Named Penelope - Jodie Patterson

  • Summary: Penelope knows that he’s a boy. (And a ninja.) The problem is getting everyone else to realize it. Through frustrations and triumphs, Penelope’s experiences show children that it always makes you stronger when you are true to yourself and who you really are.

  • Banned Themes: Transgender, Gender Identity/Expression, Acceptance

  • D’manda Martini’s (Maryland) favorite book!

LGBTQ+ Youth