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Pride Month: 12 Best Indian LGBTQ+ books for kids

June is Pride Month. There are many LGBTQ books for children but Indian children's books that talk about the LGBTQ experience are especially powerful and doubly representative of our children. Here are 12 best South Asian LGBTQ+ books for children.  

1. Ritu Weds Chandni


This is a cornerstone Indian children's book that details a cousin's wedding - Ayesha's cousin Ritu, who marries her girlfriend, Chandni. Ayesha is excited because she can dance at the baraat ceremony but not everyone is happy about the event. Will Ayesha be able to save her cousin's big day?  

Centering Ayesha’s love for her cousin as much as it showcases Ritu and Chandni’s love for each other, this warmhearted debut from Ameya Narvankar celebrates the power of young voices to stand up against prejudice and bigotry.

Buy this book now!

2. The Boy in the Cupboard

Oh, how we love the parents in this book about a boy who loves to wear dresses but remains hidden in a cupboard! Their conversation with their child, their sensitivity, and their intelligence truly inspires us to be better parents too.

“Darling, why don’t you come out and play?
I wonder what you do in there all day?”

Karan’s favorite place in the whole world is his cupboard. If he’s not at school, he’s in the cupboard. Even if he goes out to play with his friends, he’ll be back inside the cupboard before you know it. And somehow, no one’s asked him why until one day, Ma does. And even though Ma usually knows everything, she didn’t know what Karan was going to say…

A heartfelt tale about a boy trying to understand himself and his place in the world, The Boy in the Cupboard is for everyone who’s ever questioned something they were blindly asked to believe in.

Buy this book now!

3. The Big Thoughts of Little Luv

Big Thoughts of Little Luv is about a boy named Luv. Everyone tells him he is just like his twin sister Kusha but this gets him to question the little things. For instance, why can Kusha wear a dress and still do pretend fights? Why can't Luv wear a dress or cry when he is hurt? Luv is even more perplexed when he goes to his aunt's wedding and sees his father crying when his aunt leaves to go to her new house. Also, didn't Luv's mom say that boys don't wear pink but how come daddy ties a pink

Much like a Karan Johar movie, this book has a grand wedding, a huge family, much vibrancy, and fun! Priya Kuriyan illustrates these scenes to the hilt and there isn't a false note anywhere. We like how true the story is to the voice inside a child's head. The logic that drives the story is so natural and childlike. This is exactly how children try to understand this world. 

Buy this book now!

4. Sadiq Wants to Stitch

Sadiq loves to stitch colorful patterns on rugs like his Ammi. But his Ammi says he should stick to what boys do, which is herd sheep. Sadiq and his Ammi belong to the Barkatwal nomadic tribe community living in Kashmir.

In spite of his Ammi's objections, Sadiq decides to follow his passion and stay up late at night sewing his patterns on his rug in secret. Does he change his Ammi's mind?
A lovely book by Mamta Nainy that breaks gender norms and also offers us a peek into the life of the Bakarwals and brings attention to their dying craft.

Buy this book now!

5. The Boy Who Wore Bangles

Bhargav loves Navratri. He loves the dance, the chaniyas, and the sweet pendas after the Ambe Ma Aarti. His favorite part is when he dances with bangles on his wrists. Bangles are alluring, shiny and they make a great sound when they tinkle on his wrists when he dances. This year, Bhargav's father forbids him from wearing bangles and his Ba agrees with his logic. Ba tells Bhargav why she thinks boys cannot wear bangles. With his infallible, childlike logic, Bhargav shoots down every reason he has with very simple explanations, showing her interesting aspects of their culture that prove that men and women share many similarities in dresses and accessories. The author has written this book so convincingly that it will charm even the doubters! The illustrations bring a Gujarati Navratri celebration in all its splendor.

Buy this book now!

6. Laxmi's Mooch

A joyful, body-positive picture book about a young Indian American girl's journey to accept her body hair and celebrate her heritage after being teased about her moustache.

Buy this book now!

7. Nikhil Out Loud


Nikhil Shah is the voice actor for Raj Reddy on his super hit animated television series in outer space, Raj Reddy in Outer Space. All this comes crashing down when Nikhil's mom moves to a small town in Ohio to take care of Nikhil's grandmother. In this little town, Nikhil doesn't know anyone and has to grapple with small-town woes - conservative parents protesting an openly gay actor in the play, Nikhil's grandparents hitting the roof when finding out he's gay, the new friends he makes, and the ultimate game changer for a boy who is a voice actor - his voice breaking! Witty, well-written, relatable, and engrossing from start to finish, my kid and I loved how Nikhil manages to find his footing, whatever the situation. He is awkward, funny, genuine, smart, and is not afraid to share his big emotions or his quick wit. The story moves at a perfect pace and hits all the right notes. We love this book!

Buy this book now!

8. En Kudumbam

While families come in all shapes and sizes, the love that holds each one together is the same. This heart-warming book showcases diversity within families and teaches kids to embrace our differences while celebrating the things we have in common. You will recognise one of the families featured in this book - Dads of Meenakshi from Australia! 

Access an audio book as well when you buy En Kudumbam, simply by scanning the QR code on the back cover.

Buy this book now!

9. Rainbow Hands by Mamta Nainy

We absolutely loved this book about a young boy who loves to paints his nails with his mom's nail polish. As kids, a group of us cousins and I would polish our nails. I think the book is not just about questioning gender stereotypes but about exploring our identities in different ways. I read somewhere in the tenth century, men wore heels as a way to help the Persian cavalry keep their shoes in their stirrups and the fashion spread to other countries, with Louis XIV being a famous wearer of heels.  

10. Talking of Muskaan 


What would you do if you didn’t fit in?

Muskaan is in hospital, fighting for her life.

Three classmates—her former best friend Aaliya, the hottie Prateek, and the class topper Subhojoy—talk about Muskaan, and themselves. About school, home and the larger world, the school bus and the basketball court; about secrets that become burdens. And through their stories are revealed the twists and turns that drove Muskaan to try to kill herself.

Funny and tragic by turns, Talking of Muskaan is a warm, moving novel about life and death and the young people caught in between.

11. Reva and Prisha  


Come and hang out with the Sahils—twins Reva and Prisha, and their mothers, Runu and Pritam—as they jump from dreams to food to school to walks, and discover the world together, with joy, fun and friendship. Divided in individual chapters, with each chapter being a different adventure, this book is easy-to-read and fun for all! Highlights: The book subverts traditional norms with an alternate family structure of two mothers and their two kids, and they are both Hindu and Muslim Focuses on themes of kindness, empathy, sibling love, family, compassion and appreciating nature and the world around us

12. The Best At It


From award-winning actor, Maulik Pancholy comes a hilarious and heartfelt middle-grade debut about a gay Indian American boy coming into his own. One of Time Out's “LGBTQ+ books for kids to read during Pride Month,” is perfect for fans of Tim Federle’s Nate series. A Stonewall Honor Book!

Rahul Kapoor is heading into seventh grade in a small town in Indiana. The start of middle school is making him feel increasingly anxious, so his favorite person in the whole world, his grandfather, Bhai, gives him some well-meaning advice: Find one thing you’re really good at and become the BEST at it.

Those four little words sear themselves into Rahul’s brain. While he’s not quite sure what that special thing is, he is convinced that once he finds it, bullies like Brent Mason will stop torturing him at school. And he won’t be worried about staring too long at his classmate Justin Emery. With his best friend, Chelsea, by his side, Rahul is ready to crush this challenge.... But what if he discovers he isn’t the best at anything?

Funny, charming, and incredibly touching, this is a story about friendship, family, and the courage it takes to live your truth.  

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