Michael Genhart’s Love is Love (2018)

Love Is Love Cover

Love is Love (2018), written by Michael Genhart, PhD and illustrated by Ken Min, is a first-person narrative about a child/children who are bullied for wearing rainbow t-shirts but come together in Pride.

Although told in the first-person, the illustrations attribute the unfolding narrative to shifting narrators who awkwardly inhabit the “I” voice. Each “narrator” wears a t-shirt with a rainbow heart. Along with the narrator seeming to shift, the settings change dramatically—moving from a park to a beach to a huge statue of Buddha.

The message is strongly delivered and clearly captured in the title – love is love. The text itself is repetitive and the seemingly unmotivated shift in narrator and setting is disconcerting. I’m sure the creators were trying to show that Pride knows no geographical boundaries, in fact towards the end of the book all the “narrators” gather with their families in a park to fly kites in their matching t-shirts. The book just doesn’t quite come together.

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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