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

j wallace skelton’s The Newspaper Pirates (2015)

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

#TBT Lynn Phillips’ Exactly Like Me (1972)

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

Kendal Nite’s The Prince and Him: a rainbow bedtime story… (2007)

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

Eileen Pollack’s Whisper Whisper Jesse, Whisper Whisper Josh: A Story About AIDS (1992)

Whisper Whisper Jesse, Whisper Josh: A Story About AIDSWhisper Whisper Jesse, Whisper Whisper Josh: A Story About AIDS (1992), written by Eileen Pollack and illustrated by Bruce Gilfoy, is an early picture books that explores a young boy’s experience processing grief after losing his uncle to AIDS.

The text-heavy story pairs wordy prose with detailed sketches of a boy as he describes the secrets and whispers that fill his home. Unlike most stories that explore similar themes and foreground the close relationship between uncle and nephew or niece, Jesse is estranged from his Uncle Josh and only meets him after he becomes ill. Jesse’s mother explains that his father and uncle had a fight, but the reader, like the child, never learns why. Jesse’s sick uncle moves in with the family, which makes his mother happy, because she missed her brother, Josh. Continue reading

Barry Wittenstein’s A Place to Land: Martin Luther King Jr. and the Speech That Inspired a Nation

A Place to Land: Martin Luther King Jr. and the Speech That Inspired a NationWritten by Barry Wittenstein and illustrated by Jerry Pinkney, A Place to Land: Martin Luther King Jr. and the Speech That Inspired a Nation, provides a creative take on the nurturing team of Black intellectuals and activists King surrounded himself with as he worked to make meaningful social and economic change. The important picture book offers an inventive behind-the-scenes look at King before, during, and after his famous “I Have a Dream” speech at the March on Washington on August 28, 1963. Continue reading