Happy Pride 2019! This year marks 50 years since Stonewall and the birth of the LGBTQIA movement.
The Pride marches in cities across the US are a fantastic way to celebrate the LGBTQIA community and support their right to equality and civil rights. We know that not everyone in the US is accepting of LGBTQIA adults and that their rights are constantly under attack. We also know that LGBTQIA kids continue to suffer higher rates of bullying and suicide.
That’s why there is such a need for books that create a safe place and a respectful dialogue for all LGBTQIA youth and adults.
It’s also one of the reasons I wrote my diverse picture book, Jamie is Jamie: A Book About Being Yourself and Playing Your Own Way. My intent for Jamie is Jamie was to create space for gender non-conforming, gender neutral, and transgender kids to be seen, respected, and loved in classrooms everywhere.
With that in mind, I am very happy to share A Pride Month Round-up of Amazing LGBTQIA Kidlit Books and Reviews. Enjoy!
The guiding principle of organizing a play space should be creativity, not gender. Take a look at the space through a gender-neutral lens. Are there a variety of colors and materials/toys to use, or does your space have a concentration of pink in one area? Kids first respond to a play area visually, and having a vibrant, multicolored space is more welcoming to all children. Read the rest of the article here.
Mombian was recently kind enough to share their views of my book, Jamie Is Jamie and I love her thoughtful words:
“Kudos to Moradian for not turning this into a “very important teaching moment” in which an adult delivers an explanation about gender or tries to label Jamie. Instead, she empowers the children to drive the action. Another child simply comments that although she doesn’t know the answer, she can’t wait to play with Jamie again. “That was a lot of fun!” she says. The next day, we see the kids again at play, and this time, both boys and girls are playing with both dolls and action figures. Jamie is happy “because everyone was playing exactly what they wanted to play.” Read the review in its entirety here.
Quality kids’ and YA LGBTQIA book are hard to find in general, much less “award-winners.” That why I was over-the-moon happy to see KidLitTV’s list of Award-Winning Kid Lit for Pride Month 2019 thanks to Bethany Edwards from Biracial Bookworms.
Raise Them Righteous also had powerful thoughts on Jamie Is Jamie as well.
I love this book for its accessibility, ability to teach without appearing too didactic, and exploration of non-binary gender. I also liked that Bogade created a diverse group of students, including a girl in a hijab as well as black and Latinx students. Most importantly, Jamie’s behaviors influence other students who begin playing outside of narrowly prescribed options. I really appreciated Moradian’s willingness to let the queer child challenge and change the straight world. All too often it is the straight world that begrudgingly tolerates the queer kid.
All of the above titles, advice, conversations, and reviews will work to promote awareness of children’s books that uplift LGBTQIA+ voices, history, and culture. Much headway has been made in helping our transgender, gay, and nonbinary youth to stand up and speak out for equality for all…but there still a ton of work to be done.
One more thing…
Through color-coding in stores, kids “learn” which toys are “supposed” to be for girls or boy. Pink and yellow toys are considered “girly” and anything blue or dark green is obviously for boys, right? What about the toys themselves? Can boys play with dolls and girls play with trucks?
Of course, they can! And that’s the open-minded thinking that is captured in my children’s picture book,Jamie is Jamie.
I wrote Jamie is Jamie for my daughter who’d been told that only boys can play a superhero. My daughter and every other child deserve a book that gives them permission to be free to play and explore their own way-not the way everyone “thinks they should.”
I created my book to challenge gender stereotypes and encourages children to make play choices based on their interests. And because playing is fundamental to learning, I’ve created a special section in Jamie is Jamie for teachers, parents, and caregivers where they can find tips on how to make kids’ playtime learning time.
Afsaneh has been teaching for over 15 years from preschool to graduate school, and is often invited to give teacher training workshops and speak at educational conferences. Her vast experience in working with different ages, academic levels, and cultures has given her the ability to work with anyone and help them achieve their learning goals. She is also the author of Jamie is Jamie.