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Notes from a Children's Librarian: Books for Pride

Diversity and acceptance are the threads that bind these picture books for grades Kindergarten to Grade 6.

Our children's librarian columnist, Julie Booker, brings us a new view from the stacks every month.


Book Cover Why We Fly the Rainbow

Why We Fly the Rainbow, by Miss Minty Beets, uses colourful stick figure drawings to show the meaning of the pride flag, as well as what each of the letters “LGBTQ” stand for. “Gay” is explained as “someone who is attracted to people who are the same gender.” “Trans” is described as an umbrella term that includes transgender and transexual. The book addresses asexual, pansexual, “questioning” and “plus,” and the use of pronouns. It ends with a positive message of kindness to all, no matter “what their gender is or who they’re attracted to.” (Grade 3+)


Book Cover Morrios Micklewhite

In Morris Micklewhite and the Tangerine Dress, by Christine Badacchino, illustrated by Isabelle Malenfant, the main character gets teased for wearing a dress and painting his fingernails. “We don’t want you to turn us into girls,” say the boys at school. Morris has a tummy ache by the end of the week, and spends the weekend reading books in bed, hanging out with his mom, and painting a magnificent painting of himself in the tangerine dress. Back at school, Morris leads the kids on an imaginary journey into space, making them realize the most important thing about Morris is not what he wears, but his capacity for adventure. (Kindergarten to Grade 3)


Book Cover Where Oliver Fits

Where Oliver Fits, by Cale Atkinson, is about a puzzle piece who longs to be part of something amazing. When Oliver is told he’s not quite right, he changes his colour and shape but that doesn’t help. He still doesn’t belong, so he tries tape, scissors and glue—a complete transformation—but he still feels bad. “If I have to hide and pretend I’m somebody else, am I still me?” Upon deciding to be himself, he learns: “Your fit will find you.” (Kindergarten to Grade 3)


Book Cover I love My Purse

I Love My Purse, by Belle DeMont, illustrated by Sonja Wimmer, begins with Charlie coming downstairs to breakfast wearing his red purse. His dad tells him boys don’t wear purses. Charlie skips out with his purse anyway, meeting a host of friends and family, too afraid to show their real selves. His dad, for example, would prefer a Hawaiian shirt to the plain shirt-and-tie he wears to work each day. Charlie’s friend wants to paint her face like a lizard or a snow queen. Another friend longs to cook up delights instead of eating the humdrum cafeteria food, and the crossing guard dreams of donning sparkly shoes. Charlie’s act of bravery inspires them all. (Kindergarten to Grade 3)


Book Cover Pink is for Everybody

Pink Is for Everybody, by Ella Russell, illustrated by Udayana Lugo, is not explicitly about pride, but it reinforces the message of wearing what you want, no matter who you are. “There are those who find pink puzzling…Who is pink for?” Besides the stereotypical partygoers, the book tells us, pink is for astronauts, firefighters, cow herders, pilots and pirates. The pictures show both genders wearing pink, allowing for freedom to choose: “Pink is not for…anybody that doesn’t like pink!” (Kindergarten to Grade 2)


Book Cover A Family is a Family is a Family

The message of acceptance continues in A Family Is a Family Is a Family, by Sara O’Leary, illustrated by Qin Leng. When a teacher asks her students about families, she receives a variety of answers, all illustrated by Qin Leng: single parents, grandparents as caregivers, blended families, kids with two moms. The zinger comes when a foster mother is asked to point out her real children: “Oh, I don’t have any imaginary children. All my children are real.” (Kindergarten-Grade 3)


On her first day as teacher-librarian, Julie Booker was asked by a five-year-old if that was her real name. She's felt at home in libraries since her inaugural job as a Page in the Toronto Public Library. She is the author of Up Up Up, a book of short stories published by House of Anansi Press.