March 31 was observed as Transgender Day of Visibility, a day to raise awareness and celebrate the successes of transgender and gender-nonconforming people, many of whom are protagonists of inspiring books for youth such as the ones mentioned below.
99% Chance of Magic by Amy Eleanor Heart, Abbey Darling, and Luna Merbruja
99% Chance of Magic: Stories of Strength and Hope for Transgender Kids is the world’s first literary collection of short stories for transgender and non-binary kids. Twelve trans fairy tales and magical stories make up the collection that use fantasy elements to drive home the message of empowerment, pride, and love instead of spoon-feeding it to readers. From unicorns to princesses, shapeshifters to giants, these stories explore a variety of wonderous worlds, but one goal connects them all: to cast a protection spell of hope and strength for transgender and non-binary kids everywhere. Grades 3-7
The Name I Call Myself by Hasan Namir, illustrated by Cathryn John
Hasan Namir’s book The Name I Call Myself is a moving depiction of a person coming into their own and charting their own gender journey to discover who they really are. Ari doesn’t like their birth name Edward and they find themselves preferring to play with dolls and watching princess movies. Their father, however, wants them to do everything deemed suitable for a boy, like keeping their hair short and playing hockey. By the time they’re 16, Ari wants to run away from home so that they can be their own true self. This book follows Ari’s journey from age six to adolescence. It touchingly depicts Edward’s tender, solitary gender journey to Ari: a new life distinguished and made meaningful by self-acceptance and unconditional love. Grades 2+
Casey’s Ball by Kit Yan, illustrated by Holly McGillis
Casey’s Ball follows the story of Casey, who used to be on the girl’s soccer team; but ever since they came out as trans, everyone knows they’re a boy and so Casey is now on the boy’s team. Casey is adamant to prove his mettle. He practices running faster, kicking the ball harder, and scoring a goal for his team. He loves the rush of the game, the exhilaration after a mighty kick, and hanging out with his teammates. And even when he makes a big mistake, the coach encourages Casey to keep trying and learning. Casey’s Ball, notably, doesn’t dwell on Casey’s gender identity. It moves beyond it and tells the story of what is possible when a young person can be who they want to be and is surrounded by people who want to see them thrive and succeed. Grades 1-3