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. Â 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. Â 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 Â like this:
1. Intro of who I am (parent, educator, LGBT activist, but not a kid’s lit specialist by any means)
2. Some useful bits of info about “alternative” families in general (more of us than the “nuclear norm” since 2000 census; e.g. these kinds of stats) & LGBT families in particular (#s in state & county; other details about who we are, based on the 2007 study conducted by Our Family Coalition et al.)
3. Some reasons why it’s a good idea to introduce family diversity in early childhood curriculum (including the challenges people face when doing so, with local and national examples of school district battles and the “challenged” LGBT-friendly kids’ books at libraries)
4. Some suggestions about how to approach the topic
5. Some examples of some of the literature, which I sort thusly in this rough fashion and note are weighted toward the two-gal-headed families more than two-guy-headed, since that’s what I know (I hasten to add that the book lists are comprehensive & I check out and distribute titles like Daddy, Papa and Me, Daddy’s Wedding, and One Dad, Two Dads, Brown Dads Blue Dads):
Early generation LGBT books: kinda head-on or “frontal,” presuming a hostile or ignorant readership and functioning to directly explain what in the Sam Hill we are:
Books which place LGBT family diversity in context of other types of family diversity:
Books Â which takeÂ LGBT family diversityÂ as a given and ostensibly focus on something else entirely
Books which address gender identity among younger people (as vs. “alternative” family structure), a strong/related concern for many LGBT families
Books which address difference in other arenas than family structure and can be used in addtion &/or via analogy [ed note: oops! forgot to include this when I posted]
- It’s Okay to Be Different, by Todd Parr
- I Like Myself!, by Karen Beaumont
My questions to you, hive mind of LD readers, are the following:
- How would you suggest this outline be improved upon or added to?
- What books would you want to be sure to have highlighted, and why?
- Anything else you think would be important for early childhood educators to know or think about, regarding LGBT family diversity in kid’s lit?
Or just share your thoughts. If you’re not registered for the commenting and want to, let me know via the LD Contact page. Or just email me something directly that-a-way.