Picture Books to Help Celebrate LGBT History Month
In celebration of LGBT history month we look at a selection of picture books that best represent the LGBT community. Some are new, some are old, and all intend to engage and delight wee ones and their parents.
For parents and carers, picture books can often be used to introduce ideas and concepts to children without speaking about them directly. For children, what is especially important is for them to be able recognise themselves in a book – whether it is their family situation, the toys they play with or the way they look. This reassures them that their life and the things they experience are normal.
While LGBT books were at one time considered 'issues' books, they are now becoming more mainstream
While LGBT books were at one time considered 'issues' books, they are becoming more acceptable and generally more mainstream. Once, being part of a same-sex family may have been the central component to the book, but now there are a number of picture books where this is secondary to the main story. One of my favourite examples of this is Baking with Dad by Aurora Cacciapuoti (see main picture, above). While it goes against the stereotypical idea of baking with mum, it also shows the cake they make is for another man. Is this her Dad too? Is it a friend? It doesn't matter, the story is about spending time together doing something fun, and whether you have two dads or not this is a story that hopefully everyone can relate to.
Is it ok to play with dolls if you are a boy? Of course it is! This idea is perfectly illustrated by Jessica Spanyol's Clive series about a little boy who loves his baby dolls, dressing up and being creative. The books challenge gender stereotypes in a simple and gentle way, with bright illustrations that make these great books for reading together.
Family life is very important when you are little and families can come in all shapes and sizes. You are sure to find yours represented in The Great Big Book of Families by Mary Hoffman and Ros Asquith. It reads a bit like a handy reference guide that can be returned to again and again, and celebrates the diversity of families.
Whilst older picture books like And Tango makes Three and Mommy, Mama, and Me are still great for sharing ideas about same-sex relationships with children, there is now an amazing selection of children's books helping to challenge what we perceive as normal in more subtle ways.
Looking for stories that celebrate families? We've got plenty of great book recommendations here.