Positive books for primary students
Allie’s Basketball Dream by Barbara Barber (2013)
Picture Book. Basketball is Allie's favourite sport. When her dad gives her a new basketball of her own, she hits the neighbourhood courts, full of confidence. Once there, her enthusiasm ebbs as her shots fall short of the basket - at least at first. (Recommended for ages 8 plus).
Cycling to Grandma's House by Jac Torres-Gomez (2014)
Picture book. Luna has just been assigned a challenging school project: to find the most incredible characteristic about being a girl and then present it to her class. A powerful new children’s book that breaks the taboo around menstruation. (Recommended for ages 9 - 12).
Daddy and Dada by Ryan Brockington (2021)
Picture book. A young girl describes how families come in all shapes and sizes, and hers has two dads. (Recommended for ages 3 plus).
Enough Love? by Maggie Hutchings (2021)
Willa’s parents split up and her dad meets Kevin.
Girl Stuff (8-12 years old) by Katz Cooke (Revised and updated 2019/20)
The essential younger girl's guide to puberty and the pre-teen years – body changes, dealing with friends & bullies, getting confident, first periods, pimples, hair (wherever it is), phones & being online. No mention of being transgender is apparent.
Dara’s Clever Trap by Liz Flanagan and Martina Peluso (2014 )
Unlike many fairy tales that culminate in a marriage, this traditional tale from Cambodia begins with one. Princess Dara has a lot more to do than look for Prince Charming. When Dara goes on a trip to search for the white stones she needs to build a beautiful palace for her father, her husband falls victim to a scheme. The princess quickly puts her engineering skills to work to plan her own trap. (Recommended for ages 6 – 10)
Jabari Jumps by Gaia Cornwall (2017)
Picture book. When Jabari arrives at the pool, he announces to his Dad that he’s going to jump off the diving board for the first time. Jabari assures his Dad that he’s not scared at all, but his body language says otherwise. His father sensitively offers Jabari tools to overcome his fear, while also letting him know that it’s okay if he doesn’t want to jump. (Recommended for ages 3 – 7).
*Johnny the Walrus by Matt Walsh (2021)
Johnny is a little boy with a big imagination. One day he pretends to be a big scary dinosaur, the next day he’s a knight in shining armour or a playful puppy. But when the internet people find out Johnny likes to make-believe, he’s forced to make a decision between the little boy he is and the things he pretends to be — and he’s not allowed to change his mind. (Recommended for ages 8-12)
The author is critical of transgender activism and sex reassignment surgery.
Kate and the Beanstalk by Mary Pope Osborne and Giselle Potter (2000)
When Kate climbs the magic beanstalk into the sky, she must overcome even more obstacles than Jack did. The author has the humorous touch of the giantess who is overworked by the giant because he keeps eating her servants. This funny re-telling is full of generosity and heart as Kate works to help others and not just herself. (Recommended for ages 6 – 10).
*My Body is Me by Rachel Rooney (2020)
An upbeat, rhyming picture book, aimed for 3-6 year olds, written by Rachel Rooney and illustrated by Jessica Ahlberg in consultation with TransgenderTrend.
*Not All Princesses Dress in Pink by Jane Yolen and Heidi E.Y. Stemple (2010)
While none of the active, smart princesses in Yolen’s book wear pink, each one of them does sport a sparkly crown. This playful book gets to one of the reasons so many girls are drawn to princesses: their power. A princess can be a baseball player who “plays in bright red socks that stink.” She can be someone who wears her jewels while she fixes things with power tools. (Recommended for ages 3 – 7).
Pretty Salma: A Little Red Riding Hood Story from Africa by Niki Daly (2007)
This feminist fairy tale is funny and incorporates lots of details from Ghanaian culture. Salma’s grandma tells her not to talk to strangers on her trip to the market, but crafty Mr. Dog is determined to trick her and granny by dressing up. Will granny survive Mr. Dog’s sneak attack? Luckily Salma and her grandpa know just what to do to scare Mr. Dog right out of the house. (Recommended for ages 4 – 8).
*Tell Me a Tattoo Story by Alison McGhee and Eliza Wheeler (2016 )
Think tattoos are about being a tough guy? This tender conversation a father has with his young son will change your mind. With tattoos that remind Dad of his favourite childhood book, to the words “be kind” that his own father used to tell him, each tattoo has a meaningful story. While some of the tattoos are elaborate, it’s the simplest one that the little boy loves the most. (Recommended for ages 3 – 7).
*The Book of No Worries: A survival Guide for growing up by Lizzie Cox and Tanja Stevanoic (2018)
Tips on how to handle growing up, including managing self image how common it is for kids going through puberty to dislike their bodies/themselves etc. (Recommended for ages 10 and up)
*The different dragon by Jennifer Bryan 2006
Noah has lesbian parents. He goes for an amazing journey with his cat where he meets a dragon who doesn’t want to be scary and fierce all the time. (Recommended for ages 3 – 7).
Thelma the unicorn by Aaron Blabey (2017)
Thelma is an ordinary pony who dreams of being a glamorous unicorn. Then in a rare pink and glitter-filled moment of fate, Thelma's wish comes true. She rises to instant international stardom, but after a while, Thelma realises that she was happier as her ordinary, sparkle-free self. So she ditches her horn, scrubs off her sparkles, and returns home, where her best friend is waiting for her with a hug. (recommended for ages 3 – 8.)
Two Mums and a Menagerie by Carolyn Robertson (2015)
Two lesbian mums, their children, and many animals.
Plus two great websites:
A Mighty Girl
This is the world’s largest collection of books, toys, movies, and music for parents, teachers, and others dedicated to raising smart, confident, and courageous girls and, of course, for girls themselves! https://www.amightygirl.com/
Feminist fairy tales web site https://www.rebekahgienapp.com/feminist-fairy-tales/