I didn’t intend to do a little roundup; it just sort of evolved on its own. It all began with a visit to the Northshire Bookstore in Manchester VT. One of several timely displays in the children’s book area caught my eye — weddings. There among Miss Spider’s Wedding, Frog Bride, and Junie B. Jones is (almost) a Flower Girl was a copy of Uncle Bobbie’s Wedding by Sarah Brannen. Yea!!! I love Vermont! This is just what I like to see — being a part of and not singled out as different or an issue. (An aside — wearing her Two Lives Publishing hat, Bobbie recently presented at SCBWI New England where Sarah was also a faculty presenter and at the New Jersey Library Association Conference they both presented on a panel about LGBT publishing for children. They were quite a team.)
Elizabeth Bluemle did a fine post about new titles for young children with LGBT parents on Shelftalker. (Another aside — during our recent stay in Vermont, we planned to visit the Flying Pig Bookstore on our drive to Burlington but it was closed for Mother’s Day.)
Elizabeth reviewed Mommy, Mama and Me and Daddy, Papa and Me, two delightful board books with two moms and two dads families written by Leslea Newman. Those titles are also the Cooperative Children’s Book Center (CCBC) Book of the Week.
I received an update about HRC Family Project’s Welcoming Schools program. You can download An Introduction to Welcoming Schools,a primer version of the Welcoming Schools Guide, a guide designed for use in elementary schools with tools, resources and lessons on family diversity, name-calling and gender stereotyping. Included is a list of LGBT-inclusive children’s books.
Last week I worked on some reviews for the Philadelphia Family Pride Newsletter. One of the titles I reviewed was 10,000 Dresses, a title I learned about from in-the-know Fuse #8. Thanks Betsy! Sorry I couldn’t find the post to make a direct link
Here’s my review:
This is the first picture book we know of with a transgender child as the main character. While some reactions might be “Whoa! Why a trans book for so young?” we’ve heard that there is a need – kids can and do identify with gender at young ages.
Bailey happily dreams of dresses every night – gorgeous, original dresses made of “crystals that flashed rainbows in the sun,” “lilies and roses with honeysuckle sleeves,” and “windows which showed the Great Wall of China and the Pyramids.” But when she tries to tell her parents about the dreams and her desire to own dresses like the ones she dreams about, their negative reaction fills her with despair. “You’re a boy. Boys don’t wear dresses! . . . don’t mention dresses again!” Luckily Bailey meets Laurel who thinks Bailey’s designs are “awesome” and together they make beautiful dresses for themselves. Laurel’s understanding and acceptance of Bailey are a huge gift to her, as this empowering book will be for many children. Artist and graphic designer Rex Ray’s paper collages provide a colorful, retro-futuristic backdrop for Bailey’s story.
The analogy of a window and mirror is often used when talking about diversity in children’s books – the books provide both a mirror for self- recognition and a window to viewing the world outside. The author’s use of dresses made of mirrors and windows may be coincidence but It’s a nice touch.