In which Annie (high school teacher, mother of two young girls and a younger boy) and her aunt Deborah (children's bookseller, mother of two young women in their 20s) discuss children's books and come up with annotated lists.

Monday, July 30, 2012

More gay-inclusive picture books

Dear Aunt Debbie,

Now we're starting to get a good list together.  I'm interested to find A Different Dragon, and more books that include gay and lesbian parents without that being the only focus of the book.  We enjoyed And Tango Makes Three and King and King a couple of years ago -- time to get them out of the library again, I think.  While I don't have further suggestions at the moment of books I've read with the girls, I've done a little searching around and found a nice annotated list and a few books that seem worth following up on.

The list is Gay-Themed Picture Books for Children, written by a research-loving librarian who also includes picture books about kids born from donor eggs or sperm.  A number of the books here do seem like One Issue Books, but there's a wide variety, and tags along the sidebar to help you navigate.  And I hadn't thought before about incorporating books about donor offspring as well.

Two books by Bobbie Combs incorporate same-sex (and multi-racial) parents into scenes illustrating letters of the alphabet and counting.  ABC a Family Alphabet Book provides a word for each letter, and a sentence using the word:

A is for Awake.
Every morning, I am the first one awake in our house.

L is for Lunch.
We always pack a picnic lunch when my moms take me to the beach.

The writing seems a little flat, but the concept of the book worth checking out.

123 a Family Counting Book is sadly out of print (that's the Alibris link), but the reviews I've found of it say the illustrations are spectacular -- full of really interesting things to count, and again incorporating same-sex parents into the scenes rather than making them the focus of a story.

Todd Parr, writer and illustrator of roughly 3000 brightly-colored picture books, includes same-sex couples in The Family Book, along with single-parent families, families with adopted kids, and other possible constellations.  While I haven't read this one, I'm familiar with The Grandma Book and The Grandpa Book, which are also pleasantly inclusive -- each contains a picture of a grandparent zooming around in a wheelchair, among other things.  Both Isabel and Eleanor like to identify which of their grandparents best fits each page ("Papa has a wheelchair!  Lala likes to sew things!").  I find Parr's work to be a little neon and a little boring for my taste, but I can see why kids respond to it.

Finally (at least for now), there's the out-of-print Lucy Goes to the Country, by Joseph Kennedy, which follows a rambunctious cat getting into all kinds of adventures when her owners -- a gay couple she refers to as her two "Big Guys" -- bring her to a backyard barbecue where she chases a dog up a tree and causes general mayhem.  The fact that her owners are gay isn't referenced directly in the text, but is clearly part of the background in the illustrations, and there is a mention of two women and their daughter in the text as well.

I'm feeling a little better about what's out there, but this is clearly a genre that's ripe for more authors to write in....

Love, Annie

No comments:

Post a Comment