Pat Cummings’ Trace

TraceA series of interrelated events assemble to create a haunting tale of intergenerational salvation in Pat Cummings’ debut middle-grade novel Trace. The title character loses his loving parents in a car crash that he miraculously survives and mistakenly blames himself for causing.

Trace moves to Brooklyn to live with his aunt, Lea, an artsy and kind woman who doesn’t have much experience with children but makes up for it with compassion. Continue reading

Catherine Hernandez’s M is for Mustache: A Pride ABC Book (2015)

M is for Mustache: A Pride ABC Book

M is for Mustache: A Pride ABC Book (2015), a Flamingo Rampant publication written by Catherine Hernandez and illustrated by Marisa Firebaugh, is an alphabet primer that also introduces children to various aspects of queer culture from rainbow flags to activist-icon Marsha P. Johnson.

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j wallace skelton’s The Newspaper Pirates (2015)

j wallace skelton is the author behind one of Flamingo Rampant’s first children’s picture books, The Newspaper Pirates (2015). The narrator-protagonist is Anthony Bartholomew, a young boy with pale skin, red hair, and big glasses Anthony has an admirable sense of style, often boasting long scarves, pearl bracelets, and large rings. His fathers, Papa and Abba, are as perplexed as he is when their newspapers go missing from their apartment. The story pivots around Anthony trying to solve the mystery of the missing newspaper. Continue reading

James LaCroce’s Chimpy Discovers His Family (2010)

Chimpy Discovers His FamilyJames LaCroce’s self-published children’s picture book, Chimpy Discovers His Family (2010), is the story of a misfit chimp who prefers banana facials to banana fights. He meets a gay couple, Juan and Benji, while they vacation on his “island.”

The couple takes him on several adventures and soon decide to adopt him, however, the adoption agency rejects their appeal, because they are gay. Continue reading

Jean Davies Okimoto and Elaine M. Aoki’s The White Swan Express: A Story About Adoption (2002)

The White Swan Express: A Story About Adoption

The White Swan Express: A Story About Adoption (2002), written by Jean Davies Okimoto and Elaine M. Aoki and illustrated by Meilo So, is a story about international adoption that focuses on four North American families  bringing their adopted daughters’ home from China. Continue reading

#TBT Elizabeth Levy’s Nice Little Girls (1974)

Image result for Elizabeth Levy's Nice Little Girls (1974)Nice Little Girls (1974), a Delacorte Press publication written by Elizabeth Levy and illustrated by Mordicai Gerstein, explores the challenges of being a tomboy, particularly when boyish behaviors are paired with short hair, overalls, and sneakers that highlight how difficult reading gender can be.

When Jackie begins her first day at a new school her teacher, Mrs. James, introduces her as a boy, only to be loudly corrected by the boisterous girl. Of course, the class erupts in laughter at the expensive of both Jackie and her teacher. On the playground her new classmates continue to make fun of her gender expression telling her she’s really a boy, not a girl. Jackie is so upset she holds back tears while mulling over what it would mean to agree with them and just be a boy. This idea cheers Jackie up and she begins to march around the playground shouting “I’m a boy.” Although her peers first think she’s weird, they quickly follow her lead. Levy writes: “Jackie felt good for the first time that day.” Continue reading

#TBT Lynn Phillips’ Exactly Like Me (1972)

Lynn Phillips’ 1972 Lollipop Power, Inc. publication Exactly Like Me is a slim paperback children’s book with an impactful message about disrupting gender roles. On the back cover of the book Lollipop Power describes itself as “a women’s literature collective that works for the liberation of young children from sex stereotyped behavior and role models.”

This book is about a rambunctious little girl confident enough to challenge social norms about what little girls can and should want, do, and be. She rejects the idea of being a nurse or a teacher. instead imagining herself growing up to be an astronaut or politician. This is a fun book with simple illustrations and text. Its poor production quality reflects that of other Lollipop Power, Inc. titles, but its message makes it an amazing snapshot of feminist history! Continue reading