February marks LGBT History Month in the United Kingdom, and it is an incredibly important topic that needs to be addressed in all parts of society.
The LGBT community has come such a long way in the past few decades. The book industry has evolved because of the influence of authors that break the status quo and push readers to challenge what they’ve been taught.
It is an increasingly important topic to discuss with the next generations, in order to break down barriers surrounding the LGBTQ+ community. There are many children’s books that can help young minds understand what it’s like to be a part of the LGBT community, how to deal with setbacks, and why it’s always okay to be you – some of which are available to read on Thinkably.
Henry’s Secret – Phil Knight (available to read on Thinkably)
Henry’s Secret is a picture-book for children aged between 7 – 11. This story follows Henry’s journey as he discovers who he is, and explores the emotions, thoughts and feelings he experiences. Henry’s Secret looks at the relationship between family, and the need for empathy, understanding and acceptance when it comes to sexuality and identity.
Heather has Two Mummies – Lesléa Newman
Heather loves the number 2. She counts two arms, two legs, two pets and two mummies. Having two mums isn’t something Heather has really taken any notice of, until someone at school asks her about her father – and Heather realises she doesn’t know him. Heather thinks she is alone, and is the only person who doesn’t have a dad at home. But once her classmates all draw portraits of their families, they notice that all the drawings are different. This not only tells Heather, but the rest of her class, that everyone is different and families are made up of a variety of combinations; mums and mums, dads and mums, dads and dads. The most important thing in a family is that everyone loves each other – regardless of who makes up the family!
Finding the ‘I’ in Pride – Louise Clare Dalton (available to read on Thinkably)
In this Thinkably book, author Louise Clare Dalton talks about what it means to be part of the LGBT community. She explains various aspects of life and how it made her who she is today – from feeling attracted to both Jack and Rose from the film Titanic when she was at school; to the lack of representation in books and TV/Film; to what LGBTQ+ actually means; to determining what underrepresentation means; and the history of the community. It provides a great insight into the topic, written superbly well by Louise with creative and fun illustrations to match. Definitely one to read for children aged 11+!
Pink is for Boys – Robb Pearlman
This wonderful picture book breaks down the barriers that surround children, and the sometimes expectation of where they should fit into society. Robb Pearlman’s book rethinks and reframes the stereotypical blue/pink gender binary, and challenges children and their parents to be open to whatever their child associates themselves with. Featuring a diverse group of characters, this book encourages boys and girls to just do what they want to do, and be who they want to be. Whether it’s racing cars and playing baseball, or dressing up and playing with unicorns. Vibrant illustrations help children identify with the myriad of colours that surround them in everyday life – from the yellow of a banana to the green of a grassy field. The take-away message from Robb’s book is that life is not colour-coded.
Happy in Your Own Skin – Bev Moore (available to read on Thinkably)
A feel-good book that demonstrates we all deserve respect, no matter what we look like, who we love, or what we enjoy. It is important to tell the next generation that no one should be judged for what they look like or what they enjoy. Despite not being intrinsically linked to the LGBT community, it conveys an important message that carries extreme weight when discussing this topic. Another nice read on Thinkably that definitely helps build the next generation to be welcoming and open to all walks of life.
There are many different books and stories that help children to become more open, accepting and progressive in today’s society. From educating each other on LGBT issues and themes, to celebrating the diversity and inclusivity of the community, to challenge misconceptions and preconceptions around sexuality and gender. Books are a fantastic, fun and interactive way to open up important conversations, support LGBT progress, and challenge outdated and harmful viewpoints.
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