It is a Tuesday in May 2023, at my bookstore. And that means that new releases are going to happen. And two of those were GLBTQ titles. One was Child’s Introduction to Pride by Sarah Prager, which looks awesome, but too long to read on a quick break, and the other was ABC Deconstructing Gender.
Honestly, I thought this book would be pushy, in your face and about how “non-conforming” people are so much better than “conforming” people. Thankfully Ashley Molesso made a book that challenges the stereotypes of what gender “should be” and is not making judgment calls. They follow the ideas of a girl can ride her bike and be the fastest rider in her class. And a boy can sit, thoughtfully or can play with flowers. And if someone needs help organizing their backpacks, you can assist them.
And all the while you are learning the alphabet. Such as, A is how Daryl is affectionate. And Sage and Kaylin are S strong. Therefore, they are not words about gender, but words that are just everyday good words to know and be. And even if you are beyond the learning the alphabet stage, it’s a nice learning book about how we can be regardless of our genders, and it can nicely be adapted to most ages. What might not be as nice is Chess Needham’s illustrations. Or at least for some people.
To say there are bold colors and designs is an understatement. This is full on 1960s and 1970s psychedelic LSD for kids! Now, that can be a great thing if you like Electric Company or the early years of Sesame Street and the Muppets. Honestly, it made me a tiny queasy (but then again, I hadn’t eaten yet, so that could have been part of it.) The cover does not do the insanity inside justice. It is even more wild. Now, I’m not saying I liked or dislike the illustrations, but I am saying they might have to grow on me.