Dana from Mombian contacted me with a great list of LGBTQ books for children up to grade 5. These might be books you choose to donate to the Manchester Elementary School library. You can also donate the resource itself to the library or $50.00!
Fast forward to today and Dr. Naidoo, now an assistant professor of library and information studies at the University of Alabama, has written a book of his own, Rainbow Family Collections, to help guide librarians, parents, teachers, and others seeking LGBT-inclusive titles.
And there are more than you might think. Naidoo has compiled an annotated list of more than 175 LGBT-inclusive picture books, 30 chapter books, and 40 informational or biographical books for children up to grade five, published in the U.S. and in 12 other countries.
Naidoo, who has served on several national and international book-award committees including those for the prestigious Caldecott, Pura Belpré, and Américas awards, intends his book as a resource for librarians—but it should also be of great value to LGBT parents and parents of LGBT children. (At $48, it may be beyond individual family budgets, but you can ask your local and school libraries to get copies.)
By “rainbow families,” Naidoo means those with children, caregivers, or relatives who are LGBT, gender variant, queer/questioning, intersex, and two-spirit. “Children formulate their understanding of family structures from the world around them,” he explains, noting that most print and electronic images of families are of a nuclear family with a mom and a dad. This can lead many young children to believe that “any other composition, even if it reflects their own, is wrong.”
On the other hand, “when librarians and educators select and use high-quality children’s literature that accurately and authentically represents diverse cultural groups,” he says, “they are assisting children with their identity development.” Not only that, but LGBT-inclusive books “can also provide non-LGBTQ children and families with a window into the lives of rainbow families, thereby fostering cultural literacy” and reducing homophobia.
Such books can be hard to find, however, even for librarians, Naidoo explains. The international library cataloguing standard has few subject headings or keywords that indicate LGBT content.
I hope this is helpful.
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