If you don't yet know the origin of the pride flag, there's a new board book that will teach you and your kid. Our Rainbow, illustrated by nine different artists in the LGBTQ+ community, lets young readers leaf through (OK turn through) the beauty of the pride flag and the meaning of the colors, while showing kids the ways that kindness can light up their world.
Our Rainbow is one of the latest titles from GLAAD, the LGBTQ media-advocacy group, and Little Bee Books, who continue their partnership to put more LGBTQ-inclusive books for children into the world.
In Except When They Don't, by Laura Gehl and illustrated by Joshua Heinsz, kids get to see that you can like what you like, regardless of gender.
These titles are the fourth and fifth books to come out of GLAAD's partnership with Little Bee. The first, Prince & Knight, made a big splash as an adorable gay romance for kids, with the added bonus of including dragons (everything is better with dragons).
On the success of Prince & Knight, Little Bee Books and GLAAD also followed it up with Maiden & Princess, which tells a story of a maiden going to a ball to find a prince, and falling in love with a princess instead.
The partnership also produced Jack (Not Jackie), which depicts an older sister learning that her younger sibling would now like to be called Jack. Trans kids and their siblings will surely feel the way about Jack (Not Jackie) as same-sex families feel about Prince & Knight, and Maiden & Princess.
The latest releases take what the first three books accomplished and run with it. Kids deserve books that reflect their own lives. And, moreover, books are the perfect way to introduce LGBTQ characters and start discussions on gender and love and all the brilliant ways people can be different from each other. Our Rainbow is noteworthy for bringing children into this conversation from birth. It's the perfect starting place if you're looking for pride month reads.
While Jack (Not Jackie) introduces readers to trans identities, Except When They Don't, delves further into gender and how the binary system doesn't fit all kids. It's wonderful to give kids permission to explore their interests and how they express themselves without limiting them to "boy things" or "girl things," creating an affirming space for non-binary identities. Not only will they feel free to explore, but, hopefully, one day, kids won't say to each other "you can't like that because it's a girl/boy thing." This makes Except When They Don't an important book for all kids, not just those who identify with it.
Kids learn so much through the media they consume, and now with the help of Little Bee Books, GLAAD is making sure even the youngest humans can grow up accepting all types of love and celebrating all expressions of gender. It's a lofty goal, and this partnership is tackling that goal one book at a time.
There will be live readings of the newest titles in select book stores, but if you can't check out an in-person, celebratory read, have no fear. You can have a pride celebration in your own home — all you need is somewhere comfy, and a tot who loves a good story.