ONCE UPON A TIME
Story Books & School Libraries
As the number of same-sex parents has increased, so has the number of books that feature characters or story lines their kids can relate to. Yet while most two dad or two mom families have these books in their home, very few schools or classrooms do.
Ask your child’s teacher if there are any books in the library or class that represent families like yours. If not, find out what the process is to have them included — and be prepared to suggest some titles. For a simpler, short-term solution, lend a book or two to your child’s classroom — and then offer to come read it. This puts a real face to a concept new to most kids, and you might even get to field a few questions from inquisitive, young listeners.
“In my classroom, we have And Tango Makes Three. I also use Oliver Button Is a Sissy to talk about bullying. I have the kids say hurtful things to an Oliver paper doll; and for each harmful word, I tear it a bit. Then they apologize in an attempt to make Oliver feel better.With each apology, I cover a tear with tape. When we’re done, I say, “See, Oliver is as good as new, right?” They notice the tears are still there, just covered. It’s a powerful lesson on how deeply bullying affects others.” —Eric, 1st & 2nd grade teacher, Maryland
“We have books with same-sex characters/parents, as well as books about trans issues. All students have the right to feel welcome and safe in our school. We have a moral obligation to insure such.” —Scott, elementary-school principal, Minnesota
These encouraging comments aside, more than half of the teachers I spoke with don’t have any LGBTQ-inclusive books in their classroom; however, all were open to the idea.