Gayle E. Pitman’s This Day in June

This Day in June book coverGayle Pitman is the author of numerous LGBTQ* children’s picture books. Published in 2014, This Day in June, is not her newest release, but it is worth reviewing as it captures a beautifully inclusive vision of a Pride Parade sure to delight young readers. This text can easily be read with toddlers, who will enjoy the multiple representations of fabulous queerness colorfully illustrated by Kristyna Litten.

Short rhyming couplets describe the action occurring on each two-page illustration. Full of depth and whimsy, Litten’s colorful art is worth slowing down to enjoy. She illustrates a cast of beautifully unique characters each expressing joy and pride, as it should be. From motorcycles to rainbow suspenders, leather daddies to suburban ones (not that the two are mutually exclusive) the text is a great way to introduce children to what they can expect at a Pride Parade or reminisce about past attendance.

The publisher recommends This Day in June for children 4 – 8, but I can’t see it holding the attention of a child quite that old. I see this as a wonderful addition to the library of very young children, in fact, 2 – 4 year olds seem like a more appropriate audience. However, Pitman provides a very useful reading guide that elaborates on each couplet and its corresponding image. If the text is used to facilitate discussion about LGBTQ* culture with older children I can sort of understand the appeal, although I think there are many more engaging books for the over six crowd, including some by Pitman herself. Overall a very fun book that is a pleasure to read and explore!

This review is part of my “Snapshots of LGBTQ Kid Lit” project. I’m working on a book, The New Queer Children’s Literature: Exploring the Principles and Politics of LGBTQ* Children’s Picture Books, which is under contract with the University Press of Mississippi. Part of my research is identifying and interpreting English-language children’s picture books with LGBTQ* content published in the US and Canada between 1979 and 2019. Follow my blog to follow my journey!

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