I tweeted that I had shared the wonderful Grandad’s Camper by Harry Woodgate to our whole school. My request messages box filled with hate. Statements like, “You shouldn’t be allowed anywhere near children,” “You are doing the devil’s work,” “You are a child abuser,” and other such hated fuelled nonsense streamed in to my request messages. Report and block were in big demand.
So, I thought about everything that I had read, and did the only sensible thing I could. I took to Twitter once more, and asked for recommendations of Primary suitable books featuring gay characters so I could share EVEN MORE of them with our children at school, and the recommendations were amazing. Some I knew, some I didn’t, but here is a compilation of just a few of them so we can all make sure our children can see themselves, their families and friends on their bookshelves in school.
Suitable from EYFS/KS1
Grandad’s Camper by Harry Woodgate
Celebrate love in all its forms, as Grandad tells his granddaughter about the adventures he used to have with Gramps.
Grandad’s camper van is hidden away in the garage – now Gramps isn’t around any more, the adventures they shared travelling in it just wouldn’t be the same. As she listens to his wonderful stories, Grandad’s granddaughter has an idea to cheer him up…
Nen And The Lonely Fisherman by Ian Eagleton and James Mayhew
Far out to sea and deep below the whispering waves lives a merman called Nen. Nen spends his days exploring his underwater kingdom, but something is missing: his heart is empty. So, Nen ventures to the forbidden world above and it is here that he meets Ernest, a lonely fisherman.
But can two people from different worlds be together and what will happen when a terrifying storm gathers? A lyrical, beautiful celebration of love, acceptance and faith, with a gentle message about how we treat our oceans, and each other.
Julian Is A Mermaid, and Julian At The Wedding by Jessica Love
While riding the subway home with his Nana one day, Julian notices three women spectacularly dressed up. Their hair billows in brilliant hues, their dresses end in fishtails, and their joy fills the train carriage. When Julian gets home, daydreaming of the magic he’s seen, all he can think about is dressing up just like the ladies and making his own fabulous mermaid costume. But what will Nana think about the mess he makes – and even more importantly – what will she think about how Julian sees himself?
Julian and his nana are attending a wedding. Better yet, Julian is in the wedding along with his cousin Marisol. When wedding duties are fulfilled and with a new dog friend in tow, the pair takes off to roam the venue, exploring everywhere from underneath tables to enchanting willow trees to … muddy puddles? After all, it wouldn’t be a wedding without fun, laughter and a little magical mischief. With ingenuity and heart, author-illustrator Jessica Love tells a charming story of friendship, acceptance and celebration.
The Pirate Mums by Jodie Lancet-Grant, illustrated by Lydia Corry
Billy’s family is not what you’d call ordinary. His mums won’t listen to NORMAL music. They love to sing sea shanties and dance jigs in the lounge. Their clothes are highly unusual, they have a rude parrot for a pet, and their taste in house design is, well . . . FISHY. Billy wishes his family could be more like everyone else’s. Until a swashbuckling adventure changes everything!
Love Makes A Family by Sophie Beer
Whether you have two mums, two dads, one parent, or one of each, there’s one thing that makes a family a family… and that’s LOVE.
Fred Gets Dressed by Peter Brown
An exuberant new picture book from NYT bestselling author Peter Brown, inspired by his own childhood.
Fred loves to be naked! He romps around his house naked and wild and free. Until he romps into his parents’ bedroom and is inspired, finally, to get dressed. But there’s so much in the wardrobe! What will Fred choose?
Jerome By Heart by Oliver Tallec, illustrated by Thomas Scotto
This story follows a little boy named Raphael, whose daily rhythm is steeped in his immense affection for his friend Jerome. The two boys share jokes and snacks and plan future adventures to the Himalayas. Even when Raphael’s constant talk of Jerome is driving his parents crazy, he remains steadfast: “Raphael loves Jerome. I can say it. It’s easy.” And the truth is, when he’s with Jerome, Raphael feels happy, liked, and understood― even special. Thomas Scotto’s simple, strong, and insightful prose and Olivier Tallec’s delightful, expressive illustrations give much emotion and immediacy to the story.
An ABC Of Equality by Chana Ginelle Ewing, illustrated by Paulina Morgan
All people have the right to be treated fairly, no matter who they are, what they look like or where they come from. From A to Z, simple explanations accompanied by engaging artwork teach children about the world we live in and how to navigate our way through it.
Each right-hand page includes a brightly decorated letter with the word it stands for and an encouraging slogan. On the left, a colourful illustration and bite-size text sum up the concept. Cheerful people from a range of backgrounds, ethnicities and abilities lead the way through the alphabet.
- L is for LGBTQIA. Find the words that make you, you.
- N is for No. No means no.
- P is for Privilege. Be aware of your advantages.
- X is for Xenophobia. Ask questions and you’ll see there’s nothing to be afraid of.
Celebrate your Differences, ask more Questions, share your Kindness and learn to Understand the world.
Suitable from LKS2
Harriet Versus The Galaxy by Samantha Bains
A hilarious and heartfelt debut from multi-award winning, hearing aid wearing, comedian, actor and author Samantha Baines. The intergalactic adventure starts at home with Harriet, who discovers that her hearing-aid can do more than she ever bargained for when she finds an alien in her room. Discovering that her family secretly work for an intergalactic agency, Harriet becomes the Earth’s first line of defence as the only one who can understand the invaders. Sure, her hearing aid helps her understand aliens from across the universe, if only she could understand her own feelings.
Harley Hitch And The Iron Forest by Vashti Hardy
Join Harley, her robot dog Sprocket and best friend Cosmo for problem-solving adventures and mysteries in Inventia, a world where science rules and technology grows in the forest; and where exploding science projects, giant slugs and runaway robots are all part of a normal school day.
The Iron Forest near Harley’s home is unlike any other – plants and trees grow cogs and hinges and other mechanical parts – and all of Inventia depends on it. So when a strange fungus is discovered, there’s a race to find a solution. Without essential parts for inventions, the town is quickly falling apart…
But just who or what is behind the mysterious infestation? Harley decides it’s up to her to save the day – with chaotic results!
The Accidental Diary Of B.U.G by Jen Carney
Enter the hilarious world of Billie Upton Green . . . The start of an exciting new series full of Billie’s laugh-out-loud observations and doodles!
There is a new girl at Billie’s school, and Billie takes it upon herself to show her around, teach her the Biscuit Laws, and remind her that yes, two women can get married (after all, Billie’s mums’ wedding is the event of the year).
But then suspicion sets in.
The new girl seems very close to Billie’s best friend Layla. And doesn’t she know a little too much about the latest big school heist – the theft of Mrs Robinson’s purse…?
There May Be A Castle by Piers Torday
On a frozen Christmas Eve, Mouse Mallory and his family set off across a snow-white valley to visit his grandparents. They never arrive. As the wheels skid off the icy road, Mouse is thrown from the car. When he wakes, he finds himself in a magical landscape, with only a talkative sheep and a very bossy horse for company. And they tell him: this is your story now.
So begins Mouse’s extraordinary quest through a world of wonder. A world of monsters, minstrels, dangerous knights and mysterious wizards; a world of terrifying danger but also more excitement than Mouse has ever known. All to find a castle, somewhere, beyond.
But why is Mouse looking for a castle? As thoughts of his family back at the car begin to surface, Mouse realises this might be the most important journey he will ever make …
This is a novel about love and death. It’s about the power of stories to change the way we view the world – and it’s about the power of a child to change their own world. Emotionally arresting but ultimately uplifting, this is a remarkable novel for our times.
Suitable from UKS2
A Storm Of Strawberries by Jo Cotterill
Darby is twelve and has Down’s syndrome. Her favourite things are music, chocolate, and her big sister Kaydee. It’s nearly time for the annual chocolate hunt, the highlight of Darby’s year, but Kaydee has brought a friend home for the weekend. Suddenly both the chocolate hunt and her favourite person are in danger of slipping away… and to make things worse, the family’s strawberry farm is hit by a tornado.
When the storm clears, what will be left? And can Darby mend what’s been broken when nobody will listen to her?
A warm, thoughtful and empathetic novel
The Strange Worlds Travel Agency by L.D. Lapinski
Pack your suitcase for a magical adventure! Perfect for fans of The Train to Impossible Places and Pages & Co. At the Strangeworlds Travel Agency, each suitcase transports you to a different world. All you have to do is step inside . . .
When 12-year-old Flick Hudson accidentally ends up in the Strangeworlds Travel Agency, she uncovers a fantastic secret: there are hundreds of other worlds just steps away from ours. All you have to do to visit them is jump into the right suitcase. Then Flick gets the invitation of a lifetime: join Strangeworlds’ magical travel society and explore other worlds.
But, unknown to Flick, the world at the very centre of it all, a city called Five Lights, is in danger. Buildings and even streets are mysteriously disappearing. Once Flick realizes what’s happening she must race against time, travelling through unchartered worlds, seeking a way to fix Five Lights before it collapses into nothingness – and takes our world with it.
Me, My Dad And The End Of The Rainbow by Benjamin Dean, illustrated by Sandhya Prabhat
Things aren’t going great for Archie Albright. His dad’s acting weird, his mum too, and all he wants is for everything to go back to normal, to three months before when his parents were happy and still lived together. When Archie sees a colourful, crumpled flyer fall out of Dad’s pocket, he thinks he may have found the answer. Only problem? The answer might just lie at the end of the rainbow, an adventure away.
Together with his best friends, Bell and Seb, Archie sets off on a heartwarming and unforgettable journey to try and fix his family, even if he has to break a few rules to do it…
Moonchild: Voyage Of The Lost And Found by Aisha Bushby, illustrated by Rachel Dean
The Sahar Peninsula lies just beyond the horizon, but it isn’t the easiest place to get to. No maps will take you there, nor can it be charted by gazing up at the stars, or down at a compass…
Twelve year old Amira has only ever known a life at sea with her sea-witch mothers. So when their ship is wrecked in a great storm, Amira is delighted to have an opportunity to explore land – accompanied by her best friend Namur – a jinn in cat form. Amira soon finds a boy who has a jinn like her, and learns that their spirit companions are connected to the mysterious storm that gets stronger each day.
When Namur goes missing Amira discovers she has to visit a magical place; a place where lost things can be found. But will Amira also discover her own destiny, and find out what it truly means to be a Moonchild?
So, thank you to all the haters and homophobes who have inspired this blog post. Maybe read a few of these books and educate yourselves. And, even bigger thanks to everyone who responded with book recommendations, kindness and love. Love really is just love in whatever form it takes, and most importantly, love always wins.
Here’s the twitter thread with links to more amazing books and blog posts.