Sugar Free Books‘ inaugural publication, Gabe Faces Ignorance, is the first children’s picture book I’ve read that tackles Islamophobia. Written by L.I. Forsete and illustrated by Gemma Gould, the story focuses on the friendship of Gabe, a white Christian boy, and Sophie, a tan-skinned rosy-cheeked Muslim girl. The two classmates and neighbors walk home from school together every day. The story is told from Gabe’s point-of-view, but Sophie’s feelings are present through Gabe’s increasing awareness of them as well as confrontational dialogue between the children. Continue reading
Cordelia Jensen & Laurie Morrison’s Every Shiny Thing shifts between verse and prose as well as between the point-of-view of Lauren, a wealthy girl whose beloved brother moves to a therapeutic boarding school for teenagers on the autism spectrum, and Sierra, a girl whose experienced poverty and is currently placed in a foster home in Lauren’s neighborhood. The girls attend the same private Quaker school and have an at times awkward and uneven but ultimately caring friendship. As Lauren’s friendship with Sierra develops, she is drifting away from her best friend of many years. Continue reading
Best Best Colors/ Los Mejores Colores (1999), written by Eric Hoffman, illustrated by Celeste Henriquez, and translated by Eida de la Vega, is the story of a young boy named Nate who has recently decided only one color, friend, and mom can be his “best best.” Continue reading
Introducing Teddy: A Gentle Story About Gender and Friendship (2016), written by Jessica Walton and illustrated by Dougal MacPherson, is a whimsical and accessible picture book about gender expression and the power of self-identification. The teddy bear protagonist does everything with a friend named Errol. They climb trees, play in their garden, and have tea parties. 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
A Gift from Greensboro, a poem by Quraysh Ali Lansana, illustrated in black and white with meaningful splashes of color by Skip Hill, is a joyful story about a friendship between a black boy and a white boy in the segregated South.
The two friends race their bicycles through Greensboro, North Carolina, and hangout in Woolworth’s. Continue reading
Carefree, Like Me!: Chapter 2: Sacra the Joyous, by Rashad Malik Davis, introduces young readers to fantasy, friendship, and cultural diversity. Envisioned as a series of seven picture books, the second chapter will be released in late-February 2019.
The story stars two friends, the skinny brown-skinned Amir and his best friend Neena, a girl with big glasses and a deep golden-tan. Continue reading