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
David Milgrim’s Time to Get Up, Time to Go (2006) follows a little boy and his doll throughout their day. Simple illustrations and text make the picture book accessible to very young children to whom the cheerful illustrations will likely appeal. The young protagonist takes his pale-blue doll with him everywhere. His daily activities pivot around homemaking and include cleaning and cooking. Continue reading
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.
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 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
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
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
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
The Prince and Him: a rainbow bedtime story… (2007) is a self-published fairy tale written by Kendal Nite and illustrated by Y. Brassel. The story begins with Prince Edmond’s parents urging him to marry a princess and enter adulthood. The prince’s father lines up local girls for him to kiss and he does, but he is not enticed. His mother gives him money and sends him into the world to find his love. He leaves home and keeps kissing maidens, but doesn’t find his bride. Continue reading
Belinda’s Bouquet (1991), an Alyson Wonderland publication written by Lesléa Newman and cheerfully illustrated by Michael Willhoite, is a far more subtle depiction of lesbian parenting than was common in the early 1990s. The story is narrated by a young boy named Daniel, although it focuses on his best friend Belinda’s body image. Continue reading