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The Eric Carle Museum
of Picture Book Art
  • 125 West Bay Road
  • Amherst, MA 01002

Hours

TEMPORARILY CLOSED

  • Tuesday- Friday10 am - 4 pm
  • Saturday 10am – 5pm
  • Sunday 12 pm - 5 pm

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Picture Books We Love

Stand Up With Pride

Happy Pride Month!

This is Allie from The Carle Bookshop sharing three of my favorite LGBTQIA+ picture books. Pride Month is celebrated in June to honor the Stonewall Riots, also called the Stonewall Uprising, which began on June 28th, 1969. After police raided the Stonewall Inn, a gay club in Greenwich Village in New York City, its LGBTQIA+ patrons began protesting the violent oppression they faced. The events at Stonewall were a catalyst for the Gay Liberation Movement in America, which we know today as the LGBTQIA+ rights movement. 

This June, as the world watches the nationwide protests seeking justice for George Floyd, Tony McDade, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and countless other unarmed Black people killed by police, we must acknowledge and honor the protests, riots, and work of queer and trans BIPOC who fought for LGBTQIA+ rights and make the LGBTQIA+ rights movement what it is today. Activists like Marsha P. Johnson, a Black trans woman, and Sylvia Rivera, a Latinx trans woman, were central figures of the Stonewall Riots and the Gay Liberation Movement.  
  

June 2020 marks 50 years since the first annual Pride March was held in New York City on June 28th, 1970, one year after the Stonewall Riots. By all estimates there were upwards of 3-5,000 marchers at this inaugural parade. Today, the Pride parade in NYC numbers in the millions as we continue to demonstrate for equal rights. Celebrate Pride this year by supporting Black queer and trans artists and activists, supporting an LGBTQIA+ book drive, and sharing picture books with diverse and accurate queer representation.  

The book Stonewall lays on a chalk drawing  of the Philadelphia Pride flag with stripes of brown and black at the top representing black and brown queer people.

Speaking of June 28th, 1969, Stonewall is the first picture book about the Stonewall Uprising. We were lucky enough to have author Rob Sanders and illustrator Jamey Christoph speak at The Carle in July, 2019 about their historical research and the significance of a picture book about the events at the Stonewall Inn. The story begins in the 1840s as two stable houses in Greenwich Village, New York grow to become Bonnie’s Stone Wall Restaurant in 1930, and a place for LGBTQIA+ people to gather in the 1960s. “Greenwich Village was a place where you could be yourself, and where being different was welcomed and accepted.”  

The illustration shows a white masculine person and two brown-skinned feminine people sitting in the back of a police van. Two white masculine police officers flank the van doors, ready to close them.

Police raids and arrests of LGBTQIA+ people change the landscape again, and we arrive at the evening of June 28, 1969 wondering how the LGBTQIA+ community and their allies will respond to the violence. I hope this book inspires more picture books about queer history and heroes of the LGBTQIA+ rights movement like Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Ray Rivera. It is a beautiful piece of art and a reminder that the LGBTQIA+ community has been and still is fighting for equality and their right to exist.

The illustration shows the sign for the Stonewall Inn hanging above its doors and strung with lights, against a dark sky and almost full moon.

 A Book About Gender Identity lies on the sidewalk in the middle of a bunch of chalk drawings.

Next is one of my favorite books in the entire Bookshop: It Feels Good to be Yourself: A Book About Gender Identity by Theresa Thorn and Noah Grigni. Thorn is the mother of a transgender child, and Grigni is a transgender artist who uses they/them pronouns. The book features a neighborhood of people with diverse gender expressions and lets us into the lives of a few local kids: Ruthie is a transgender girl, Xavier is a cisgender boy, Alex is both a boy and a girl, and JJ is neither.  

The illustration shows four kids, each with different shades of brown skin play together in their neighborhood.

The book also explores gender fluidity, coming out, transitioning, and that “there are a never-ending number of ways to be yourself in the world”. The illustrations show us a bold watercolor world overflowing with textures and detail, and loving families who support and encourage each other. 

 a gender-neutral toddler with their eyes closed being held a tall white-skinned masculine person in a pink shirt, and a shorter black-skinned feminine person in a teal jacket.

Turn to the back matter to find a glossary, notes about pronouns, and further resources for kids and adults. It’s a vibrant resource that gives young readers access to accurate and diverse LGBTQIA+ representation and just some of the spectrum of gender identities that exist in the world.

 The book Neither by Airlie Anderson lies on a gray cement sidewalk next to a chalk drawing of its main character.

Finally, Neither by Airlie Anderson is a story about how our differences can unite us, and it’s also an exuberant celebration of gender fluidity and non-binary identities. Non-binary is a spectrum of gender identities that exist outside the gender binary, and are not exclusively masculine or feminine. Opening the book, we’re told that once upon a time, there were two kinds: this and that. The “this” is a blue bunny, and “that” is a yellow bird. But one day, a funky green egg hatches into something that’s BOTH.  Illustration shows a crowd of blue bunnies and yellow birds circling around a green egg on yellow grass hatching in half to reveal a green creature that has traits of both a bunny and bird.

This newcomer says that they aren’t just either this or that, and the birds and rabbits say the newcomer can’t be both, and so they must be neither. Discouraged, the newcomer flies away to Somewhere Else, where they find a happy community where everyone is different and still fits in. Use this book to start conversations about gender identity, chosen families, pride, and allyship. Even if you identify as Neither, or Both, there are people out there like you, and places you fit in! 

Illustration shows a group of creatures of various sizes, shapes, and colors playing in a green field with multi-colored and textured mountains in the background and a big yellow sign covered in jewels that says, ?The Land of All?.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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