ArchivesBooks for Kids Archives - Page 3 of 12 - Mombian

Election Menagerie: Donkeys, Elephants, and Guinea Pigs


I’m having a feeling of déjà vu. Four years ago, I was waiting to see if Barack Obama would be elected president; waiting to see the outcome of a ballot measure in California that would decide the legality of marriage equality in that state; and baffled that a patron of a Colorado library had asked for the removal or reshelving of the children’s picture book Uncle Bobby’s Wedding, claiming it was “inappropriate for children” because it showed two anthropomorphic male guinea pigs getting married.


Diversity in Children’s Book Covers


Since we’re talking more than usual about books this week (it being Banned Books Week), I wanted to expand the conversation beyond just LGBT-inclusive children’s books, and point out some very good posts about racial and ethnic diversity in children’s books—specifically related to the covers of such books. It’s easy to quote the proverbial lesson about books and covers, but the reality is a bit more complex.


Banned Books Week Reminds Us of the Need for LGBT-Inclusive Children’s Books


This week marks the 30th anniversary of Banned Books Week, bringing issues of LGBT content in children’s books once again to the fore.


Gay Dads Read from their Children’s Book for Banned Books Week


It’s Banned Books Week, the annual celebration of the freedom to read! In honor of the event, here’s a video of gay dads Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson, authors of And Tango Makes Three, reading from their book, which for several years topped the American Library Association’s list of most challenged books.


New Book Compiles Decades of LGBT Children’s Literature


Books matter. “Children feel unimportant and invisible when they do not see representations of their lives and families in books,” asserts librarian Jamie Campbell Naidoo. He knows this firsthand. Growing up in the Bible Belt in the early 1980s, he says, there were no books that “mirrored my life and the lives of other queer children.” If there had been, he says, he “I would not have felt so alienated and ashamed of being different.” His classmates, too, might have understood his queerness was not strange. Such books, however, were not to be found.

Fast forward to today and Dr. Naidoo, now an assistant professor of library and information studies at the University of Alabama, has written a book of his own to help guide librarians, parents, teachers, and others seeking LGBT-inclusive titles.


Todd Parr Explains Book, Families to Illinois Adults Who Don’t Understand Them


Author Todd Parr has responded with the video below (after the jump) to the banning of his The Family Book by an Illinois school board. They banned the book after some parents complained about a page that says, “Some families have two moms or two dads.” Todd Parr is awesome.


He Sailed Off, Through Night and Day: Goodbye, Maurice Sendak


Acclaimed children’s author Maurice Sendak died yesterday at the age of 83. I love his books, both the words and the pictures, and their exploration of “the darker side of childhood,” as NPR puts it. Darker, yes, but never bleak or hopeless.


Heather — No, Miriam — Has a Sweet Passover


Lesléa Newman is best known as the author of the first children’s book to feature LGBT parents, Heather Has Two Mommies, as well as other LGBT-inclusive picture books, such as Mommy, Mama, and Me; Daddy, Papa, and Me; and Donovan’s Big Day. The prolific author’s latest book, A Sweet Passover, does not feature an LGBT family, but is nonetheless a charming tale worthy of consideration by readers here.


Adrienne Rich: The Passing of a Lesbian Icon

Adrienne Rich was a mother, a lesbian, and one of our country’s foremost poets and writers. Today comes the news that she has died at the age of 82. Below is one of my favorite quotes from her works, about invisibility and diversity.


Book Recommendation: Pugdog, a Gender-Bending Tail


I mentioned a few weeks ago that children’s books dealing with issues of gender identity are still few and far between. A colleague of mine, however, recently recommended Andrea U’ren’s Pugdog, a picture book about a gender nonconforming dog.


Why Burping Turtles are Like LGBT Kids Books: A Post for Dr. Seuss


Happy birthday to the good doctor, who was born Theodor Seuss Geisel on this date in 1904. While we may not be able to celebrate quite like they do in Katroo, we can celebrate Read Across America Day, an annual “reading motivation and awareness program” run by the National Education Association (NEA).

Today is also a great time to share an incident regarding Seuss’ Yertle the Turtle, since it relates to those who say that LGBT-inclusive books in the classroom are inappropriate. Geisel once said that when writing Yertle:


“What Makes a Baby?” Project Will Create a Book for All Families


I want to know what’s in the water up in Toronto, Canada. Just days after I post about S. Bear Bergman’s Toronto-based Flamingo Rampant project to produce books for trans-identified elementary school children, I find out about Cory Silverberg’s Toronto-based project to create a “What Makes a Baby” book that works for all types of families, no matter how they were formed or the number or gender of the parent(s). As Silverberg points out in the video below, kids want to know where babies come from, but they also want to know where they themselves come from–and the two questions don’t always have the same answer.


History Tidbit: A 19th-Century Tomboy and Inventor


You’ve heard of Thomas Edison—but have you heard of Margaret Knight? She was a contemporary of Edison and the holder of at least two dozen U.S. patents. (Some sources say nearly 90, but the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office says 26, and I take them for the authority.) She created her first invention, a safety mechanism for mechanical looms, when she was only 12.


Books for and About Transgender Children: More Than You Think, Less Than We Need


Children’s books with gender nonconforming/transgender protagonists are rare, but over the past year or so there have been some encouraging signs of progress.


Rainbow Bibliography Shows Children’s Books Across LGBTQ Spectrum


A new American Library Association (ALA) list of recommended LGBTQ-inclusive books for children and young adults shows that characters who are transgender, bisexual, and of ambiguous identity are taking their place solidly beside more traditional gay and lesbian ones.

Wisconsin high school librarian Lynn Evarts, who chairs the ALA committee that chooses the annual “Rainbow Bibliography,” said she is “very happy” that the fifth annual version of the list, announced January 22, is so diverse.


Where Are the LGBT Biographies for Kids?

My third-grade son has been enjoying biographies, learning things even I didn’t know about Thomas Edison and Benjamin Franklin. So when I read that Frank Kameny, one of the founding fathers of the gay equality movement, was honored November 15 by a memorial service at the Cannon House Office Building near the U.S. Capitol, I […]


Top Lesbian and Gay Parenting Books of 2011

This year brought us several new books, fiction and non-fiction, featuring lesbian- and gay-headed familes. While we might hope for greater quantity (and greater diversity across the LGBT spectrum), the quality was at least very good. Here are some of the best.


Lesbian Teen Provides Lifeline of Books to LGBT Youth

(I broke this story a few weeks ago in my Mombian newspaper column, reprinted below. It’s about a lesbian teen making a difference—and underscores for me how much things have changed since I was a teen. Despite the horror stories we still hear about bullying, suicide, and other ills, there are more gay-straight alliance clubs, […]


Book Recommendation: The Secret Science Alliance

My eight-year-old son and I stumbled upon a book the other day that he’s been unable to put down: The Secret Science Alliance and the Copycat Crook, by Eleanor Davis. If you roll your eyes at the school-despising, slacker mentality of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series (however funny they may be), or if your kids love graphic novels, kid heroes, and/or science, you (and they) will love this.


Maurice Sendak Talks About New Book, Parenthood, Coming Out, Growing Old

It’s Banned Books Week, the the American Library Association’s (ALA) annual celebration of the freedom to read. I can think of no better way to celebrate than to point out a new interview by NPR’s Terry Gross of children’s literature icon Maurice Sendak, about his new book, Bumble-Ardy. Sendak’s book In the Night Kitchen made the ALA’s […]


LGBT Characters in Young Adult Literature: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Authors Rachel Manija Brown and Sherwood Smith wrote in a post at Publishers Weekly this week that a literary agent told them to make a gay character in their young adult novel straight if they wanted the agent to represent them. It’s unfortunately not an isolated occurence. If you’re wondering why, author Patricia Nell Warren […]


Create a Video for Banned Books Week

I often write about banned books here, and love the annual Banned Books Week in September. This year, the American Library Association is encouraging anyone celebrating the freedom to read to take part in a Virtual Read-Out on YouTube. School Library Journal has the details: The criteria are simple: create a video that’s less than two minutes […]


Mazel Tov! Jewish LGBT Children’s Book Contest Winner Announced

Jewish LGBT organization Keshet has announced the winner of its first Jewish Children’s Book Writing Contest (mentioned here in February): The Purim Superhero, by Elisabeth Kushner, a public librarian in Vancouver, Canada—and a lesbian mom herself. Kushner told Keshet: When I heard about the Keshet contest, it seemed like a perfect fit: in the Purim story, […]


Same-Sex Weddings Inspire Pioneering Author’s New Picture Book

More than 20 years after she wrote Heather Has Two Mommies, the first picture book for and about children with lesbian parents, Lesléa Newman is still turning out must-reads for lesbian families. Her latest work, Donovan’s Big Day, is a delightful story about a boy preparing for the wedding of his two moms. Newman, who […]


Author Arthur Levine Talks About His LGBT-Inclusive Picture Book

Congratulations to Mandy, winner of the final Monday is One Day giveaway last week. Here’s a video of author Arthur Levine talking about the book, his own very personal inspiration for it, and Julian Hector’s fitting illustrations. Levine is openly gay, and includes a pair of gay dads in the book, but the book’s message […]