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Once Upon a Rainbow: These are the 9 best LGBT+ fairy tales for kids on 'Tell a Fairy Tale Day'

Children's author Olly Pike encourages parents to introduce queer storytelling at bedtime...

Olly Pike holding up a copy of The Pirate Mums
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Greetings on 'Tell a Fairy Tale Day,' a magical celebration where stories open portals to worlds of wonder and enchantment.

Fairy tales have always held a special place in my heart. They are often the first instances where, as children, we encounter the concepts of good versus evil and the assurance that good will always prevail.

But when I was a child I never read a fairy tale (or any book for that matter) that taught me another important lesson… That it was ok to be me. Back then I was considered a ‘different’ kind of boy’, the kind who preferred fairy wings over football shirts. For fear of being shunned, rejected and humiliated I conformed and reserved my true self for when I felt safe - which was usually when I was alone.

How we chose the best LGBT+ fairy tales for kids

Personal experience: As I grew up, I discovered my LGBT+ identity and I made it my mission to provide for new generations something I didn’t have… representation, affirmation and the freedom to explore one's identity without fear.

Celebrate diversity: I'm excited to share some of my favorite LGBT+ and gender-stereotype-breaking fairytale tales and stories for children, each one a celebration of love, diversity, and the magic of being true to oneself.

Modern storytelling: As society evolves, so should our fairy tales. It's crucial that we continue to update these timeless tales (plus craft new ones) ensuring they reflect the diverse and dynamic world we live in - and this is not a job for one person, it will take all of us.

So, as we embark on this fairy tale journey, let the magic of these tales remind us of the extraordinary power of inclusive storytelling. Fairytales have always been a mirror to our society, and by updating them, we ensure that they continue to inspire generations with messages of hope, love, and the triumph of good over evil.

  • Maiden & Princess by Daniel Haack & Isabel Galupo

    Front cover of Maiden & Princess

    Maiden & Princess

    Age range

    Suggested Age Range: 4 - 8

    Enter the enchanting world of ‘Maiden and Princess’ by Daniel Haack. This delightful rhyming fairy tale explores themes of love as a maiden and princess discover the magic and joy that comes from simply embracing one's true self.

  • Nen and the Lonely Fisherman by Ian Eagelton

    Front cover of Nen and the Lonely Fisherman

    Nen and the Lonely Fisherman

    Age range

    Suggested Age Range: 5 - 9

    ‘Nen and the Lonely Fisherman’ takes us on a whimsical journey of unexpected connections and heartfelt emotions. This touching fairy tale explores the transformative power of love and companionship, proving that even the loneliest hearts can find solace in the most magical of encounters.

  • Pirate Mums by Jodie Lancet-Grant

    Front cover of The Pirate Mums

    Pirate Mums

    Age range

    Suggested Age Range: 3 - 7

    In the delightful world of ‘Pirate Mums', Jodie Lancet-Grant introduces a swashbuckling adventure where two mums embark on a pirate journey with their son. This charming story challenges stereotypes and showcases the power of family love.

  • Pop'n'Olly books by Olly Pike

    Front cover of Little Red Riding Dude

    Pop'n'Olly books

    Age range

    *Suggested Age Range: 5 - 10

    Adding a personal touch to the list, I am thrilled to share with you the fairy tale works of Pop'n'Olly. Amongst our stories you’ll find a ‘Goldilocks’ who encounters family diversity, Jamie, a transgender ‘Cinderella’ and a ‘Little Red Riding Dude’ who helps his wolf friend to embrace his own fabulousness. All written and illustrated by yours truly.

  • The Paper Bag Princess by Robert Munsch

    Front cover of The Paper Bag Princess

    The Paper Bag Princess

    Age range

    Suggested Age Range: 5 - 9

    The Paper Bag Princess by Robert Munsch breaks gender stereotypes with gusto. Princess Elizabeth, armed with wit and courage, sets out on a quest to rescue her prince, showcasing her bravery and her power of independence.

  • King and King by Linda de Haan and Stern Nijland

    Front cover of King & King

    King & King

    Age range

    Suggested Age Range: 4 - 8

    King and King is a heartwarming children's book that challenges conventional norms. Linda de Haan and Stern Nijland weave a charming story, with wonderfully unique illustrations, about a prince finding love in an unexpected place.

  • Julian is a Mermaid by Jessica Love

    Front cover of Julian is a Mermaid

    Julian is a Mermaid

    Age range

    Suggested Age Range: 4 - 8

    While not a traditional fairy tale, Julian is a Mermaid immerses us in Julian’s imaginative world of mermaids. Jessica Love's tale celebrates self-expression and acceptance, making it a fabulous addition to our list of diverse and inclusive stories.

  • Gender Swapped Fairy Tales by Karrie Fransman and Jonathan Plackett

    Front cover of Gender Swapped Fairy Tales

    Gender Swapped Fairytales

    Age range

    Suggested Age Range: 8 - 12

    This collection of reimagined classic tales, by Karrie Fransman and Jonathan Plackett, is so simple yet so clever and offers a delightful twist to timeless stories. Stunningly Illustrated, Gender Swapped Fairytales simply offers the fairy tale characters we all know so well… just with swapped genders! Absolutely genius.

  • The Last Firefox by Lee Newbury

    Front cover of The Last Firefox

    The Last Firefox

    Age range

    Suggested Age Range: 6 - 10

    Embark on a captivating adventure with The Last Firefox by Lee Nordling and Eva Cabrera. This enchanting tale follows Charlie as he is made guardian of the last of a magical species - the adorable Firefox. This beautiful story invites readers into a world where themes of camaraderie and courage intertwine.

Meet the expert

Olly Pike reading a book to a group of children

I’m the Director and CEU (Chief Executive Unicorn) of Pop'n'Olly, - the UK's leading provider of LGBT+ educational resources for children, parents, and teachers.

At Pop’n’Olly we are best known for redefining traditional fairy tales through an LGBT+ and diverse lens, and for creating tools for positive change. Our resources are being used in countless classrooms and homes across the UK to help combat LGBT+ prejudice before it can begin to form.

You can follow Pop'n'Olly on X here and Olly here. Find out more about his work at their website.

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