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Transgender, Non-Binary and Gender Expansive Characters

The books listed offer a way to affirm, learn, and start important conversations about celebrating individuality. 

High School

Cover of ACT Cool
Tobly
McSmith
2021

Transgender teen and aspiring actor August lands a spot at a prestigious performing arts high school in New York City, but he struggles to move past the life he left behind, with conservative parents who wanted to send him to conversion therapy.

Cover of Cheer Up: Love and Pompoms
Crystal
Frasier
Val Wise
2021

Annie is under pressure to join the cheerleader squad to make friends and round out her college applications. Her former friend BeeBee is a people-pleaser--a trans girl who must keep her parents happy with her grades and social life to keep their support of her transition. Through the rigors of squad training and social pressures (not to mention micro aggressions and other queer youth problems), the two girls rekindle a friendship they thought they'd lost.

Cover of Growing Up Trans
Lindsay Herriot and
Kate Fry (editors)
2021

This illustrated nonfiction anthology is a collection of stories, essays, poetry and art by transgender youth.

Cover of The Heartbreak Bakery
A. R.
Capetta
2021

Syd (no pronouns, please) has always dealt with big, hard-to-talk-about things by baking. Being dumped is no different, except now Syd is baking at the Proud Muffin, a queer bakery and community space in Austin. Everyone who eats Syd's breakup brownies breaks up. 

Cover of Iron Widow
Xiran Jay
Zhao
2021

The boys of Huaxia dream of pairing up with girls to pilot Chrysalises, giant transforming robots that can battle the mecha aliens that lurk beyond the Great Wall. It doesn't matter that the girls often die from the mental strain.
When 18-year-old Zetian offers herself up as a concubine-pilot, it's to assassinate the ace male pilot responsible for her sister's death. But she gets her vengeance in a way nobody expected--she is labeled an Iron Widow, a much-feared and much-silenced kind of female pilot who can sacrifice boys to power up Chrysalises instead.​

Cover of Like Other Girls
Britta
Lundin
2021

After getting kicked off the basketball team for a fight that was absolutely totally not her fault (okay maybe a little her fault), Mara is dying to find a new sport to play to prove to her coach that she can be a team player. A lifelong football fan, Mara decides to hit the gridiron with her brother, Noah, and best friend, Quinn--and she turns out to be a natural. But joining the team sets off a chain of events in her small Oregon town--and within her family--that she never could have predicted.

Cover of Cemetery Boys
Aiden
Thomas
2020

Yadriel, a trans boy, summons the angry spirit of his high school's bad boy, and agrees to help him learn how he died, thereby proving himself a brujo, not a bruja, to his conservative family.

Cover of Felix Ever After
Kacen
Callender
2020

Felix Love, a transgender seventeen-year-old, attempts to get revenge by catfishing his anonymous bully, but lands in a quasi-love triangle with his former enemy and his best friend.

Cover of The Black Flamingo
Dean
Atta
2019

Fiercely told, this is a powerful coming-of-age story told in verse, from one of the UK's leading poets, Dean Atta. Perfect for fans of Sarah Crossan and Poet X. A boy comes to terms with his identity as a mixed-race gay teen - then at university he finds his wings as a drag artist, The Black Flamingo. A bold story about the power of embracing your uniqueness. Sometimes, we need to take charge, to stand up wearing pink feathers - to show ourselves to the world in bold color.

Cover of Gender Queer
Maia
Kobabe
2019

This memoir by author and illustrator Maya Kababe begins with eir childhood in rural California with hippie parents, no electricity or running water, and very few gender expectations. As Kababe grows up, e confides about fumbling through high school, learning about other LGBTQ+ people, going to art school, and coming to know and understand emself as a genderqueer and asexual person. With humor, honesty, and a healthy smattering of pop culture references, e delves into topics such as sex and dating, gender dysphoria and gender euphoria, and coming out.

Cover of Pet
Akwaeke
Emezi
2019

There are no monsters anymore, or so the children in the city of Lucille are taught. Jam and her best friend, Redemption, have grown up with this lesson all their life. But when Jam meets Pet, a creature made of horns and colors and claws, who emerges from one of her mother's paintings and a drop of Jam's blood, she must reconsider what she's been told. Pet has come to hunt a monster, and the shadow of something grim lurks in Redemption's house. Jam must fight not only to protect her best friend, but also to uncover the truth, and the answer to the question--How do you save the world from monsters if no one will admit they exist?

Cover of A Quick & Easy Guide to Qu
Mady G. and
J.R. Zuckerberg
2019

This helpful resource guides readers through the basics of the LGBT+ world. Covering essential topics like sexuality, gender identity, and navigating relationships, it explains the spectrum of human experience through informative comics, interviews, worksheets, and imaginative examples.

Cover of Stage Dreams
Melanie
Gillman
2019

Set in the 19th century, Flor and Grace, a Latinx rebel and a trans runaway, set off on a cowboy-tastic adventure as they work to overthrow a plot by the Confederate army in the New Mexico Territory. Their fateful meet-cute happens when Flor, known in outlaw circles as the Ghost Hawk, ends up robbing the very stagecoach that Grace left her Georgia home in. When the pair come together, Grace convinces Flor to let her join in on the heist and take the Confederates by storm. What follows is a whirlwind adventure and a blossoming romance that feels just as fragile as the alliance between the girls.

Cover of Being Jazz: My Life as a (
Jazz
Jennings
2016

Teen activist and trailblazer Jazz Jennings--named one of "The 25 most influential teens" of the year by Time--shares her very public transgender journey, as she inspires people to accept the differences in others while they embrace their own truths.

Cover of If I Was Your Girl
Meredith
Russo
2016

Amanda Hardy only wants to fit in at her new school, but she is keeping a big secret, so when she falls for Grant, guarded Amanda finds herself yearning to share with him everything about herself, including her previous life as Andrew.

Cover of Rethinking Normal: A Memoi
Katie Rain
Hill
2014

In this young adult memoir, a transgender girl shares her personal journey of growing up as a boy and then undergoing gender reassignment during her teens.

Cover of Some Assembly Required: Th
Arin
Andrews
2014

Seventeen-year-old Arin Andrews shares all the hilarious, painful, and poignant details of undergoing gender reassignment as a high school student in this winning teen memoir. 

Cover of Tomboy: a Graphic Memoir
Liz
Prince
2014

Eschewing female stereotypes throughout her early years and failing to gain acceptance on the boys' baseball team, Liz learns to embrace her own views on gender as she comes of age, in an anecdotal graphic novel memoir.

Cover of Beyond Magenta: Transgende
Susan
Kuklin
2014

Author and photographer Susan Kuklin met and interviewed six transgender or gender-neutral young adults and used her considerable skills to represent them thoughtfully and respectfully before, during, and after their personal acknowledgment of gender preference. Portraits, family photographs, and candid images grace the pages, augmenting the emotional and physical journey each youth has taken. Each honest discussion and disclosure, whether joyful or heartbreaking, is completely different from the other because of family dynamics, living situations, gender, and the transition these teens make in recognition of their true selves.

Cover of I am J
Cris
Beam
2011

J, who feels like a boy mistakenly born as a girl, runs away from his best friend who has rejected him and the parents he thinks do not understand him when he finally decides that it is time to be who he really is.

Cover of Parrotfish
Ellen
Wittlinger
2007

Grady, a transgendered high school student, yearns for acceptance by his classmates and family as he struggles to adjust to his new identity as a male.

Cover of Luna
Julie Anne
Peters
2004

Fifteen-year-old Regan's life, which has always revolved around keeping her older brother Liam's transsexuality a secret, changes when Liam decides to start the process of "transitioning" by first telling his family and friends that he is a girl who was born in a boy's body.