Milk Is Good for Kids

The Harvey Milk StoryIt’s the first annual Harvey Milk Day in California, an official state holiday signed into law by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

The Kern High School District Board of Trustees in Bakersfield, California, however, voted to not observe the holiday. Several speakers at a board meeting said they don’t think Milk is a good role model for students.

He wasn’t perfect, I agree, and there are aspects of his life—as with any sexually active adult’s life—that aren’t appropriate for discussion with children. But if being gay is just about having sex, then most gay people aren’t gay most of the time. As a civil rights leader, Milk is most definitely a good role model.

I therefore thought it was time once again to mention The Harvey Milk Story, by Kari Krakow, a biography for older elementary school students.

It oversimplifies a bit, as is the way with most history books for that age group, but conveys Milk’s significance with warmth and appreciation. (The one gross error is that it says Milk was the first openly gay elected official in the country, when in fact he was the fifth—though clearly the one with the biggest impact at the time.) It’s a picture book, but does mention the shooting and Milk’s death, so be forewarned if your kids are young.

If you’re in California and taking part in any of the many events and actions to celebrate the day, please leave a comment and share your experience!

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