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
Saturday is Patty Day (1993), written by Lesléa Newman and illustrated by Annette Hegel, is one of the earliest children’s picture books to deal with lesbian parenting and divorce. Newman does a wonderful job creating a teachable text that accounts for the challenges of seperation. I particularly appreciate her sensitive focus on the feelings of Frankie, the young child whose parents are divorcing. At every turn, the story rings true, and even 25+ years after it was originally published, Saturday is Patty Day is a good book to support parents, lesbian or not, in helping their children process divorce. Continue reading
Today (5/1/19) is the official release date of You Can Call Me Katelyn, a fun #girlpower children’s picture book, written by Keri T. Collins and playfully illustrated by Marcia Adams Ho. The friendly and accessible first-person-narrative introduces young readers to Katelyn, a cheerful and confident girl determined to change her name. Continue reading
A Girl Named Adam (2019), written by Jordan Scavone and illustrated by C.N.J. Zing, tells the story of a young girl begrudgingly adjusting to her best friend’s transition at the start of fourth grade. Few stories that focus on transgender children are available, and Scavone’s story is the first I have read that focuses on the discomfort and jealousy of a young girl whose good friend is transitioning.
The story opens with the narrator, Annie, and her best friend, referred to through most of the narration as Adam, going back-to-school shopping with Annie’s mom. Annie didn’t want to go shopping with a “boy,” but her mom forces her to “be nice” and invite Adam along. Continue reading
Here’s a list of books I’ve reviewed about kids who reject gender norms. Check out the reviews and commit to adding one to your personal or school library!!
I’m reviewing LGBTQ# inclusive children’s picture books at RaiseThemRighteous.
If you are an author/publisher (traditional/indie/self-published) contact me for a review and to learn more about my book project!
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!
La Frontera: My Journey with Papa (2018) is a much-needed bilingual children’s book that thoughtfully explores one family’s experience of immigration to the United States. Deborah Mills and Alfredo Alva co-authored the text, which is based on Alva’s experience arriving in the United States with his father over thirty-years ago. Mexican illustrator Claudia Navarro’s beautifully detailed images help communicate the emotional significance of the story by carefully capturing expressions and gestures of characters. Importantly, La Frontera does not just make us feel; it also makes us think about immigration contextually by subtly introducing political and economic explanations for the actions and experiences of the characters.
Maya Gonzalez’s necessary children’s picture book, When a Bully is President: Truth and Creativity in Oppressive Times (2017), sends a positive message to children about the power of creativity, awareness, self-care, and community engagement. When a Bully is President requires reflection and discussion, preferably with a knowledgeable person who can help children work through complex connections between the “big” and “small,” past and present, forms of bullying Gonzalez describes.