With June being LGBTQIA+ Pride month, and only 2 months away, many will be planning their Pride Parade trips. Whether you head to Baltimore, DC, New York City, or one of the many pride parades coming up this year, you are bound to see a sea of people proudly and boundlessly showcasing the truest versions of themselves. While adult members of the LGBTQIA+ community enjoy this luxury, what about queer identifying (or ally) children? For many children, there is a lack of outlets for them to express how they identify or relate to their allyship with the queer community. LGBTQIA+ positive children’s books have been at the forefront of providing this outlet and pave the way for more accepting and loving children.
Books are a productive way to mirror everyday life. For LGBTQIA+ children, it is a way to see how they identify being reflected back at them in a manner that depicts them in a positive light. Heather Has Two Mommies, written by Leslea Newman is 1989, was one of the first children’s books to talk about a lesbian couple. A few years later in 1991, Daddy’s Roommate, written by Michael Willhoite, depicted a divorced father, who now lives with his new boyfriend. Both introduced queer parenthood to children in a way that was digestible and understandable to them. While these books received an intense amount of backlash, they were pioneers in the queer-positive literary realm.
LGBTQIA+ positive books have the ability to not only shed light on a child’s budding sexuality, but also gives them a window to normalize their own home lives. Reading books that reflect their nontraditional families gives them an optimistic view of their family dynamic, free of judgement or negative critique.
So as June approaches, and your Pride 2017 plans come to fruition, try to remember the little ones in your life who might not have the same outlets available to them. Some LGBTQIA+ children’s books to check out might include:
LGBTQIA+ children need to see that they are loved, respected, and valued, and what better way to show them they are valid then through literature that does just that!
Grub Street Poetry Team Member
The image above is "Flight" by Gillian Collins.