Rainbow Family Collections
Selecting and Using Children's Books with Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Content
by Jamie Campbell Naidoo
April 2012, 260pp, 6 1/8x9 1/4
1 volume, Libraries Unlimited

Hardcover: 978-1-59884-960-8
$70, £54, 61€, A96
eBook Available: 978-1-59884-961-5
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

Research shows that an estimated 2 million children are being raised in lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) families in the United States; that the number of same-sex couples adopting children is at an all-time high; and that lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer/questioning (LGBTQ) couples raising children live in 96 percent of all counties in the United States. Today’s educators and youth librarians therefore need guidance in choosing, evaluating, and selecting high-quality children’s books with LGBTQ content.

As one of the only highly praised resources on this important topic, this thoughtfully compiled book examines and suggests picture books and chapter books presenting LGBTQ content to children under the age of 12.

Highlighting titles for children from infancy to age 11, Rainbow Family Collections examines over 250 children’s picture books, informational books, and chapter books with LGBTQ content from around the world. Each entry in Rainbow Family Collections supplies a synopsis of the title’s content, lists awards it has received, cites professional reviews, and provides suggestions for librarians considering acquisition.

The book also provides a brief historical overview of LGBTQ children’s literature along with the major book awards for this genre, tips on planning welcoming spaces and offering effective library service to this population, and a list of criteria for selecting the best books with this content. Interviews with authors and key individuals in LGBTQ children’s book publishing are also featured.


  • A foreword by K.T. Horning of the Cooperative Children's Book Center
  • An extensive bibliography of picture books, easy chapter books, nonfiction books and nonprint materials with LGBTQ content for children ages 12 and under
  • An index of key terms for each title provides easy access to titles representing a specific aspect of LGBTQ culture
Jamie Campbell Naidoo, PhD, is Associate and Foster-EBSCO-Endowed Professor, School of Library and Information Studies, University of Alabama, where he teaches and researches in the areas of diversity, public libraries, and children's and youth services. A former public library youth services coordinator and elementary school librarian, he has served on various national and international children's book award committees. His published works include Libraries Unlimited's Celebrating Cuentos: Promoting Latino Children's Literature and Literacy in Classrooms & Libraries.


"This excellent resource includes a history of LGBTQ literature for children, information on understanding rainbow families, suggestions for library services to rainbow families, and tips on evaluating LGBTQ materials. . . . . Librarians in both public and school libraries will find this resource very helpful in selecting materials and collection development for this population. "—Library Media Connection, March 1, 2013

"What a treasure trove of information! This is an essential purchase for elementary and middle school library professional collections, public libraries, and academic libraries that support teacher education of information science programs. Rainbow parents may want their own copies."—ARBA, January 1, 2013

"No excuses. With Naidoo's book in hand any librarian can provide excellent service to all children and families under the LGBTQ rainbow umbrella."—GLBTRT Newsletter, November 14, 2012

"This well-researched book is a much-needed tool, providing a wealth of information on how to welcome rainbow families into the library. . . . Naidoo has created a resource that is not only an excellent annotated bibliography, but also one that presents the material with historical context and ideas for implementation in a library setting. . . . According to statistics, 96 percent of all the United States counties include LGBTQ couples raising children. Librarians need this book to help ensure that those families' needs are being met."—School Library Journal, October 1, 2012

"The history of LGBTQ content in children’s literature is informative and interesting and provides extensive evaluation tools. The most valuable section is the materials section, which is not only helpful for choosing new titles but should also prove useful in evaluating a current collection. . . . This volume gives librarians plenty of information about developing an inclusive collection and should be at the ready at any public library seeking to reach 'rainbow' families."—Booklist, September 15, 2012

"Rainbow Family Collections is a major new resource that should become well-thumbed by librarians and educators looking to start or bolster their collections, parents seeking materials for their children, and LGBT organizations and community centers. It offers an in-depth look at the current state of LGBT-inclusive children’s literature, while also providing a plethora of useful tools and ideas to help librarians, authors, and publishers navigate into the future."—Bay Windows, June 6, 2012

"The contents of this book are refreshing. . . . The forward is uplifting and important to read. It would be so easy to overlook these titles, but this type of reference tool allows librarians to go outside of their world and develop a balanced collection in areas they aren't necessarily expert on."—Teacher Librarian, June 1, 2012
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