Pride Month is right around the corner. And thought I could easily write 250 words for each of the below picture book, I like have this longer collection as each one touches on a different aspect of pride and the GLBTQ+ community. Both for the picture book crowd (with some exceptions) and adults, these are books that should be put on your radar and TBR lists.
What Are Your Words?: A Book About Pronouns by Katherine Locke and Anne Passchier (illustrations): This is a book about pronouns but also about the other words that describe us. Mostly focusing on pronouns, (even non-gendered ones) it is about who we are as an individual and that fluidness of that. We might always be “an uncle” but sometimes you will be a funny uncle and sometimes a sad uncle. Some days the words that describe us can be loud and bold and she/her but sometimes it can be quiet and shy and she/her. Sometimes it is they/them, ze/zir, he/him, she/they, or he/them along with mechanic, friend, neighbor, uncle, teacher, sister. Words are sometimes obvious, sometimes it takes time to find them. Even a thing can describe you (spoiler: think fireworks). Yet, every day you are You. This theme is brought about when our main character, Ari, and their uncle go to the neighborhood gathering. This community represents words in special ways. Cute and rightly detailed images (with pleasant coloring) compliment straight forward and comfortable text. The tone is not forceful but gets the message across pointedly.
Prince & Knight: Tale of the Shadow King by Daniel Haack and Stevie Lewis (illustrations): I did not like this as much as the other books by Daniel Haack. The theme, while important (it is okay to be you and no matter who you love, you deserved to be love, and the depression that can follow when this basic need is not met), seemed at times a bit heavy handed and was being forced. Some of the “darker elements” also felt too mature for the picture book crowd. The pages are literally dark in several places and (spoiler) one character almost drowns. (Even though I knew they would be okay, I was, “whoa there! What is going on?”) And though I understand all ages can feel the emotions/feelings/thoughts presented and deal with bigotry and depression, I felt it could have been handled in a different manner. Not necessarily “lighthearted” but “lighter.” This would have been good for a novel format and at this level of “maturity” it would be good for the 10 and up crowd. However, I still enjoyed the illustrations with their hidden gems throughout. The book is colorful, even when it is physically dark on the page, and the details are fun.
Julián at the Wedding (Julián, #2) by Jessica Love: While I am not a fan of the first Julian book, I enjoy recommending them to the right audience. In this one, we see a lovely same-sex wedding (I am envious of the dress as it’s just fun) and Julian finding a new friend. We also see how Julian by just being Julian can save the day. And how that friend can be messy and have wings all at once. The artwork is lovely. They are fun and easy to read by themselves. However, the story/text itself had something missing for me. With that said, I like how Julian just “is” and no “fuse or muss” is made from that. While I would not say this book was comfortable to me, it was pleasant, and can be comfortable for another person. All ages can appreciate this book. And it is one that can grow with your child.