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Banned Books Week Special: Some favorite kids’ lit titles


Banned Books Week (this year, Sept 30 – Oct 6): always a favorite among bibliophiles, and a particular favorite among we who keep finding books about us banned. Before it ends tomorrow, I wanted to call out a half dozen or so favorite kid’s book titles from our family’s library.  There aren’t nearly enough books for children with family or gender diversity in them, but the lists I consult (like this page of well-defined lists from the Welcoming Schools curriculum) can still be dizzying. And given how few images our kids get of ourselves and our families in the culture around them, dull, one-dimensional, pedantic, inadequate, or pat books are even more disappointing. It’s tough, but it’s true: when there’s a paucity of imagery, what is out there is subject to high scrutiny and higher expectations.

[Continue reading the rest of this post over at Lesbian Family.]



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She is older than I know

We were moving from books ‘n milk to the brushing of the teeth, stations two and three of a five-station, post-dinner nightly journey that ends with lullabies in bed and, for the elder and more insomniac of the pair, rambling conversations about the larger questions of life.

All this rhythm and ritual has been road-tested by years of parenting and a statistically significant number of controlled experiments (no ritual? bedlam!). It’s no simple matter, to ease their young bodies and minds from the hurly-burly of the day into the waiting arms of Morpheus. Before, I would never have put such stock in this kind of stuff–in fact, I would have considered it far more “routine” than “ritual,” and derided it. No longer. I’ve learned.

I had just finished reading Maurice Sendak’s In the Night Kitchen to the boychild whilst the girlchild bore a hole in page after page of her latest American Girl historical yarn We were gathering our things, and the boychild was already heading into the bathroom on Mama’s back.  I had been thinking something as I was reading Night Kitchen.  I’m not sure what led me to it, but I made the judgement call that his older sister was old enough to hear a little something about the slings and arrows that fly around the books they read.

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‘Nuff said


I mean really? Is any commentary even needed?

This was the first Amazon review of Julianne Moore’s new kids’ book in her Freckleface Strawberry series (this one: Freckleface Strawberry: Best Friends Forever).  I learned of the book whilst reading a post at Dominique Browning’s Slow Love Life blog: “A Two-Mom Couple Confronts Noisy, Rude Questions: Julianne Moore Has Some Answers.

So quite naturally I bopped over via the link to check out the book.  And see what greeted me? Tautological homophobia.  Self-cancelling phrase. Ignorance, ignorant of itself.

If any of y’all are registered Amazon reviewers and interested in buying and reviewing Julianne Moore’s book, I’m sure it would improve the discussion juuuuuust a bit.  I have already decided where our family’s next kid’s book purchase is going.


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Welcome to Banned Books Week!

Banned Books Week started on Saturday, and this year I’m celebrating it properly!  Every day this week I’m going to post something supporting the theme as it relates to books for and about our kids. “Our” here meaning LGBT families, immediate and extended, as well as our allies.

Today I’m reposting a list of LGBT-themed books that have been challenged or banned recently, compiled by the National Coalition Against Censorship’s Kids’ Right to Read Project.

Tomorrow, I’ll convey my home-spun taxonomy of  literature for young children which features or includes LGBT family diversity. By “literature for young children,” by the way, I mean titles intended for use in preschool and Kindergarten through third grade, for the most part, and to a lesser degree for older elementary grades.  Books for middle schoolers and high schoolers (the “young adult” or YA titles) cover similar themes way differently, and also cover whole additional themes of self-discovery. Most pointedly, they often take on bias and bigotry directly — something that younger kids may well not yet have experienced, or comprehended if they have. Many parents are careful about when and how they introduce these notions to their kids — us included.

For the rest of the week (Tuesday through Friday) I’ll highlight some of my favorite books written for and about kids with LGBT parents, including books highlighting gender diversity, something many of us consider important, whether or not any of us is T.

I sincerely hope you folks will chime in with your — or your kids’ — own favorite titles. I’ll also provide Powell’s links to all the titles I can, to speed your getting them in your home, if your public library doesn’t have the book, or you’ve checked it out and want to have it for keeps in your family library.

Herewith, LGBT Book Bans and Challenges, excerpted from the NCAC Kids’ Right to Read Project:

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Some kid’s lit questions for the hive mind

In which I ask you all for your collective insights, which I know to be legion, and which I ask after all too rarely.

This Thursday evening I’ll be talking to our former (and future!) preschool director’s Children’s Literature class.  It’s offered for early childhood educators who are in the process of getting their credentials, and I was honored (up the wazoo) to have been asked by her to talk to them last year, too.  All must have went well enough, since she asked me a second time.

The talk was about family diversity — specifically LGBT family diversity — in literature for children. I did some amateur sleuthing, some book list compiling (so many sources!), some talking to librarians and some checking out from both the public library and our family’s library. Handouts with lengthy book lists were procured (when I update the compilation for this week’s presentation, I’ll include a post here at LD, ideally incorporating the list into a more comprehensive LD link page). The outline of the talk went  like this:

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