Libraries Northern Ireland stocking transgender-themed titles aimed at toddlers and book advising teenagers how to use casual sex hook-up apps

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now
Libraries NI has purchased a number of books introducing the idea of gender-switching to toddlers and primary school children.

The News Letter came across most of the titles thanks to a Freedom of Information request to Libraries NI, asking for a list of LGBTQ+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer/questioning) children's books it owns.

It supplied the News Letter with a list of 22 LGBTQ+ titles in what it calls its “junior” range (covering ages 0 to 16), totalling 504 copies.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

There were also another 27 titles in its “teenage” (also known as “young adult”) range, totalling 1,101 copies.

An image from the children's storybook 'My Shadow is Pink'An image from the children's storybook 'My Shadow is Pink'
An image from the children's storybook 'My Shadow is Pink'

In all, this amounted to 1,605 books, the cost of which came to £9,238.

But there were also scores of e-books, available only digitally, and they cost another £5,376.

A great many of the books deal not with gay matters but with transgenderism.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

They feature cartoon characters finding fulfilment in switching their gender – and in one case, finding solace with a stranger after running away from their family.

...and one of the pages from the book, where the boy begins crossdressing...and one of the pages from the book, where the boy begins crossdressing
...and one of the pages from the book, where the boy begins crossdressing

All this comes amid a huge surge over recent years in the number of children announcing they are transgender, with some ultimately going on to take hormone blockers and have healthy body parts surgically removed.


One junior-level transgender book listed by Libraries NI is 'Introducing Teddy: A Story About Being Yourself' by Jess Walton.

Though Libraries NI does not specify an exact age range for each book, the world's leading online retailer Amazon says it is for "baby to five years".

The cover of 'My Shadow is Pink'The cover of 'My Shadow is Pink'
The cover of 'My Shadow is Pink'

Here is what the book says:

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Errol and Thomas the Teddy play together every day. But one day Thomas does not want to play, because he feels sad.

"What's wrong, Thomas? Talk to me," says Erroll.

Thomas tells him: "I need to be myself, Errol. In my heart, I've always known that I'm a girl teddy, not a boy teddy. I wish my name was Tilly, not Thomas."

The cover of '10,000 Dresses'The cover of '10,000 Dresses'
The cover of '10,000 Dresses'

Erroll says "I don't care if you're a girl teddy or a boy teddy – what matters is that you are my friend."

Thomas (now Tilly) replies: "You are the best friend a bear could have," and goes on to turn his bow tie into a hair bow, earning praise from a girl playmate for doing so.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Another physical book in the "junior" category is '10,000 Dresses' by Marcus Ewert.

According to Amazon, it is for reading age five to six.

It is about a young boy named Bailey who dreams about dresses every night.

...and some of the book's content...and some of the book's content
...and some of the book's content

One dress is made of crystals, and when Bailey slips it on rainbows jump out.

Bailey wakes and asks mum if he can have such a dress. Mum says: "You're a boy, boys don't wear dresses."

"But I don't feel like a boy", Bailey replies.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"Well you are one, Bailey, that's that. Now go away and don't mention dresses again."

He meets with similar rejection from his dad and brother.

Bailey then runs away and comes across a stranger, an older girl, on a porch.

The two team up to make dresses together, and the older girl tells Bailey: "You're the coolest girl I've ever met," causing the boy to beam happily.


Other transgender-themed books the News Letter found in stock, but which did not appear on the list supplied by Libraries NI, include 'You Need to Chill' by Juno Dawson.

Amazon describes this as being for ages four to seven.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

It is about a boy called Bill who disappears from school one day.

Bill's classmates quiz his sibling as to his whereabouts, to which the sibling replies: "Your hysteria is silly, the truth is that my brother Bill is now my sister Lily.

"She's still clever and funny and kind and cool. She's really rather brill. And if people have a problem, we shout: 'Hun, you need to chill.'"

The book ends with a picture of rejoicing children waving transgender flags and signs that say "love" and "be kind".


Another is ‘My Shadow Is Pink’ by Scott Stuart.

Amazon says this book's reading age is three to nine.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

It begins with a pre-school boy describing how he casts a pink-coloured shadow, and how that shadow is wearing a dress.

After a while a brutish-looking father arrives and says of the child’s shadow: “It will turn blue one of these days. Don’t worry. This is just a phase.”

The boy goes on to put on a dress for real, and his father’s attitude changes; he tells his son that his pink shadow represents his “inner-most you”.

He says the boy should wear a dress to school, and that if someone doesn’t like it then “they are the fool”.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Meanwhile the books for older readers include 'This Book is Gay', also by Juno Dawson.

The book has chapters about "coming out trans" and how to argue against Christians and Muslims, plus tips on giving “blowjobs” and "handjobs” (described as “perhaps the most important skill you will master as a gay or bi man”), massaging men's anuses, and "how sex apps work".

Amazon lists it as being "suitable for 13+".

The book begins by recounting a conversation the author had overheard in a park, in which a mother told her son when he grows up he will kiss girls.

Dawson writes: "After I had snatched the child away and left him with social services (OK, I didn't do that but I probably should have done something other than tut really loudly), I was sad at how we still DEFAULT to heterosexual in the 21st century."

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The book ends with a list of things readers should boycott, such as “films based on books by notable homophobe authors”.

One teenage book on the shelves which did not appear on the list supplied by Libraries NI is ‘Boy Queen’ by Lester George.

Its blurb says it is about a boy whose friends are getting ready to head to university, and who is "unsure about what to do next and whether he has the talent to follow his dreams".

He attends a drag show where he "realises there might be a different, more sequinned path for him... there's only one thing for Robin to do: bring it to the runway!"

Amazon lists its reading age as "12 years and up".

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

As previously reported, Libraries NI has hosted “drag queen storytime” events for young children in its libraries: Alliance leader Naomi Long speaks up in defence of drag performers reading transgender-themed books to children

The Freedom of Information request to Libraries NI was submitted in 2022.