Love is Love - Read with Pride: Toddler Edition

I'm going to start off this post by saying that it is absolutely your choice on how and whether or not you talk to your kids and explain the term LGBTQI+.  Please don't leave me negative comments with your beliefs -- this is a positive space, so if you want to comment, please keep it nice and supportive.

If you do plan on talking to your kids about different LBTQI+ issues, gender expression, equality, and/or Pride Month you want to of course make it age appropriate which is why my sister and I worked together to compile a list of books we would recommend.

The reason that I am personally helping my kids understand is that I believe "children should be free to play with toys they enjoy -- toys should not be assigned by gender" (Klass, NYTimes).  The second reason is that my sister is part of the LGBTQI community.  She identifies as non-binary and has a loving partner who identifies as cis-female.  My sister goes by any pronoun (he, she, they), and when I asked her about her dating life, she says Hearts Not Parts!  Love is Love!  Love has no gender.  My kids obviously see my sister with her girlfriend and as they get older they will have questions.  I'm not going to go in depth and explain it to them since they are so young, but I do want them to know that you can love someone unconditionally regardless of gender.  I am also going to tell them they can choose their own likes and dislikes.  If they want to build robots, race cars, and pretend to be dinosaurs, I say go for it.  The same goes if they want to play dress up, play with barbies and dolls, and play house.

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Since my children are still young, many of the books available are a little over their heads.  The ones I personally purchased or own are good for 2-4 year olds.  Sparkle Boy is about a boy that wants to dress up in a sparkly skirt like his sister.  Annie's Plaid shirt talks about how Annie does not like dresses and does not feel comfortable wearing them.  Love makes a family talks about what "Love is."  Every page says "Love is..." and the picture can have a mom and dad, two moms, two dads, one mom, one dad..etc..  They don't go into detail, it is up to you as to how you want to explain the story or the pictures.

My collage above includes some books of which I have saved to purchase at a later date as they get older.  I'm actually interested in reading George by Alex Gino, which is for 8-12 year old children.  I didn't have room to include that one in the collage, but you should definitely check it out.

I actually already have a few books in our library including Worm Loves Worm, Not Quite Narwhal, and Last Week Tonight by John Oliver Presents A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo.  Not all of these books that I own or included in the collage are exclusively related to Pride, but rather, it's okay to be yourself and try new things.  I recently purchased Red: A Crayon's Story, Love Makes a Family, and Annie's Plaid Shirt.  These I thought were the best for the 2-4 year old age group along with the two I already have.

One thing that seems to draw younger kids to PRIDE is the rainbow.  The LGBTQI+ version of the rainbow flag has meaning behind each color.  I knew that it had meaning, but I never actually knew what each one meant.  If you are looking to go beyond reading books to help your kids understand, one fun way would be to tell them what each color of the PRIDE flag means and then have them make their own rainbow and have them come up with their own meanings for each color they select.

Red = Life

Orange = Healing

Yellow = Sun

Green = Nature

Royal Blue = Harmony

Violet = Spirit

Back in April, NBC News wrote an article about the book Pride: The Story of Harvey Milk and the Rainbow Flag and I definitely have to agree that from that book, I would want my kids to take away the four words that are repeated throughout: equality, pride, hope, and love.

Some excerpts from a few of the books I own:

I love that this family has two moms.

and this family has two dads.

"She wished her mom understood her.  Annie felt weird in dresses. 
She was happiest when she wore her plaid shirt.  Why couldn't her mom see that?"

I hope my post gave you some ideas if you are interested.  Thank you for reading.

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