Thursday, July 16, 2015

Two Picture Books About Acceptance

These two books are about acceptance and tolerance - but of the LGBT community and young boys who like to dress up.  They were the subject of a book challenge at my local public library recently - fortunately, the books are still on the shelves.

My Princess Boy, written by Cheryl Kilodavis, is subtitled "a mom's story about a young boy who loves to dress up" -- in this case, her four-year-old son.  The narrative is a bit pedantic, but there's an important message about compassion and tolerance. Suzanne DeSimone's illustrations are notable for the lack of features on the faces.  I like to think that is so the reader or listener can imagine anyone's and everyone's faces on the characters - further promoting acceptance of others and one's own uniqueness.

This Day in June, written by Gayle E. Pitman, Ph.D., a professor of psychology, won the 2015 Stonewall Book Award - Mike Morgan & Larry Romans Children’s & Young Adult Literature Award, given annually to "English-language works of exceptional merit for children or teens relating to the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender experience.'
This was the first time in the award's 44-year-history that a picture book won (or was even named an honor book).

The book portrays the sights, sounds, and emotions of a colorful gay pride parade with short rhyming text and intricate illustrations by Kristyna Litten.  Young children who look at this book will see a fun parade; older children and parents will see some of the subtler messages in the shirts and signs of parade participants and watchers (the latter generally rendered in simple outlines and pastels).  Pitman also included an interesting four-page reading guide that provides more background for the images in each of the double-page-spread illustrations, as well as a four-page "note to parents and caregivers" with ideas on using the book and talking to children of various ages about the issues it might bring up.  I would definitely recommend this book.

© Amanda Pape - 2015

[My Princess Boy and This Day in June are available on the lower level of the Dick Smith Library in the Curriculum Collection, call numbers EDUC HQ1075 .K535 2010 and EDUC PZ8.3 .P5586836 TH 2014 respectively.]

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