Monicka’s Papa is Tall (2006) and Ryan’s Mom is Tall (2006), written by Heather Jopling and illustrated by Allyson Demoe, were both published by Nickname Press, an independent press founded by the author in 2006 to meet the needs of lesbian and gay families. While she was a surrogate for a gay family Jopling noticed that there were “very few children’s stories that dealt with non-traditional families in a down-to-earth manner.” These books, and a third, also published by Nickname Press, The Not-So-Only Child (2006), written by Jopling and illustrated by Lauren Page Russell, represent Jopling’s attempt to change that by providing lesbian and gay families with stories about same-gender parents. Continue reading
What Are Parents? (2004), written by Kyme and Susan Fox-Lee and illustrated by Randy Jennings, is one example of a surge of books featuring lesbian and gay parents that arose in the early-2000s. It is deliberate and thorough in its depiction of diverse family forms as well as religious and ethnic diversity. Continue reading
A Church for All (2018), written by Gayle E. Pitman and illustrated by Laure Fournier, is a charming tale about LGBTQ spirituality that is influenced by one church’s social justice approach to religion. In an informative end note, Pitman describes attending Glide Memorial Church, the church that inspires the book, at the suggestion of a friend. She writes: “For the first time I found a spiritual community that fully accepted and embraced LGBTQ people.” Continue reading
Kate Pugsley‘s Mermaid Dreams (2019) is a sweet story about a young girl, Maya, who visits the beach with her family. When she asks her parents to play, they tell her they would like to relax instead and suggest she make a new friend. That’s easier said than done. Maya is too shy to approach one of the playing children. Instead she closes her eyes and imagines herself transformed into a mermaid and swimming freely under the ocean’s waves. In her fantasy, Maya meets many sea creatures as she follows inviting laughter that ends up belonging to a little mermaid just like her. Maya awakes from her fantasy when a child invites her to play in real life. She accepts with confidence. Continue reading
I just reached over 2100 followers on my blog and over 2000 followers on Twitter – 4000+ total! To show my gratitude I’m giving away a couple righteous board books! To enter the giveaway follow me on Twitter @jlmiller516 and retweet the pinned post. The winner will receive both books – US only please. Winners will be drawn 4/17!
Queer-affirming children’s book Large Fears (2015) is the product of a collaboration between writer Myles E. Johnson and illustrator Kendrick Daye. Each two page-spread is a vignette combining prose-poetry, photographs, black and white sketches, and color blasts that provide readers with access to the witty, whimsical, controlled chaos of young Jeremiah’s mind. Jeremiah is a queer black boy who loves pink and wants to go to Mars but his fears are almost as big as his dreams and they keep him Earth-bound. Continue reading
They She He Me: Free to Be (2017), by Maya and Matthew Smith-Gonzalez, is a celebration of diversity in its many forms. People with different boy-types, skin-tones, and gender expressions are thoughtfully illustrated above a variety of pronouns that are repeated across the two-page spread. The text suggests that gender is not written on the body but is instead a personal identity that can change over time. It seeks to uncouple gender from the body while simultaneously troubling a gender binary. The creators provide lots of useful backmatter that explains gender, pronouns, and the importance of inclusivity. I think this is a lovely teaching aid that will encourage discussions about the social and personal dimensions of gender for all ages. Continue reading