Mariana Llanos’s Luca’s Bridge/ El puente de Luca

Luca's Bridge/El Puente de LucaMariana Llanos’ timely bilingual picture book Luca’s Bridge/ El puente de Luca tells the story of a boy named Luca and his family as they move from the US, where his parents are undocumented, to Mexico, where they are citizens, so the family can remain together.

The story is told in the third-person from Luca’s point-of-view as he leaves the only home he has ever known for a country whose language he doesn’t speak. The book captures the generational divide that often separates citizens from non-citizens in homes throughout the US as well as the effects of unreasonable immigration policies on families and children. Continue reading

Pija Lindenbaum’s Mini Mia and her Darling Uncle (2007)

Pija Lindenbaum’s Mini Mia and her Darling Uncle (2007) was originally published in Stockholm but was readily available in the US at the time of its release thanks to distributors like Amazon.com. Like quite a few LGBTQ children’s picture books, this one is told in the first person from the point-of-view of a young girl, Mini Mia, as she gushes about her amazing relationship with her gay uncle. Continue reading

Eric Jon Nones’ Caleb’s Friend (1993)

Caleb's Friend by Eric Jon Nones (1993-05-01)Eric Jon Nones’ Caleb’s Friend (1993), published by Farrar, Straus & Giroux, offers a queerly seductive representation of same-gender desire.

Caleb, a tan-skinned boy of about twelve, is an orphan who works on a boat. One day an icy-blue skinned merboy approaches the ship to return a harmonica Caleb has accidentally dropped into the sea. The human boy and merboy continue to meet, but they exchange objects like shells and flowers instead of kisses. Continue reading

Ingrid Godon’s Hello, Sailor (2003)

Hello, Sailor, by Ingrid Godon with words by Andre Sollie, was originally published in the Netherlands before being translated into English and published by MacMillan Children’s Books in 2003.

It is a beautiful story about a man named Matt who lives in a lighthouse and works nightly to guide ships safely home with the hope that the sailor he loves and longs for will be on one of the ships. Continue reading

Jason Martinez’s My Mommy is a Boy (2013)

My Mommy Is a Boy by [Martinez, Jason, Winchester, Karen]Written by Jason Martinez and illustrated by Karen Winchester the self-published My Mommy is a Boy (2013) is a short picture book told from the point-of-view of a little girl named Amaya whose parent is transitioning. The amateurish illustrations and use of the “she” pronoun throughout detract from the story and confused the four-year-old I shared it with. He didn’t understand why Amaya kept referring to her parent as “mommy” and using she/her/hers pronouns, since he was a man.

It is a bit jarring.

Although the author notes on the back cover that he wrote the book for his daughter to “show her that I care about how she feels and to show her how much I love her” the confusion his daughter may have experienced, confusion he tried to convey, doesn’t translate well to helping other children understand the gender transition of a parent. Continue reading