The GLBTRT has been reviewing books and movies in its newsletter since the early 1990s. Trace the evolution of queer publishing through these historic reviews. This review was originallyÂ published inÂ Vol. 4, No. 2, Summer 1992.
Two entries from the Alyson Wonderland series for children which gloss over harsher realities, but create positive models of gay lifestyles for young readers.
How Would You Feel If Your Dad Was Gay? deals with the problems faced by children with gay/lesbian parents. When third-grader Jasmine makes a remark while making Father’s Day cards in class that she has three fathers (birth, step, and gay-step), news travels fast and her brother is soon being ridiculed in the school playground. This issue eventually leads to a school assembly where non traditional home settings are considered and contrasted. Heron and Maran sensitively illustrate that few homes are of the mom, dad, kids, and dog variety, and that alternatives are just as acceptable and just as loving. The book is an affirmation for any child, regardless of the number, gender, or sexual preference of his/her caregivers; and it’s a lesson in tolerance and acceptance for any reader. For ages 6 – 10.
Gloria is going to the Gay Pride Parade with her mothers, Grace and Rose, and talks enthusiastically of her life with two moms, and of the parade. When they get to the parade, they see their mail carrier, Gloria’s music teacher, and a co-worker of Grace. The events of the day are described in a low-key yet positive way. Russell Crocker’s pencil drawings provide pleasant impressions of Gloria’s day (even the anti-gay demonstrators are handled sensitively). A nicely constructed picture book – my only hesitation with it is that many children live far from communities with Gay Pride Parades, so the plot frame may have little context for readers. At the same time, its message that gay lives are joyful lives, although romanticized, is affirming to gays, lesbians, and their children, and a gentle education for others. For ages 5 – 8.
Reviewed by Jim McPeak
Lepper Public Library