R&P Schoolhouse Vol. 2: LGTBQ+ Engagement

Editor’s Note: As Pride Month unfolds we are reminded that we are constantly in the midst of battles for equality on multiple fronts. This is by design, a way to divide and conquer marginalized people and maintain status quo for those in power. We have made great strides in the past decade in the pursuit of equal rights for the LGBTQ community, most recently this week with the Supreme Courts decision in Bostock v. Clayton County (17-1618). We must remember, however, that this success can be fleeting and walked back by future legislators, judges, and executives. Perhaps the best way to pass the baton to future generations is through literary engagement on the very issues we deem vital to equality for all. In that spirit, Kristen Amato and Nicole Cote have selected some of their favorite reads to school-age children on the subject. Kristen has also curated a list of further reading to broaden our selections on our website on bookshop.org.

Rainbow Revolutionaries by Sarah Prager (local author!!!!)

Rainbow Revolutionaries is a celebration of people from all over the globe who have changed the course of history through their bravery and their voice.  This book is a compilation of over 50 LGBTQ+  people who have made a positive impact in our world.  “In every culture and in every century, LGBTQ+ people have not only existed and thrived, they have revolutionized!”

An example of one of the extraordinary revolutionaries discussed By Sarah Prager is Christina of Sweden.  Christina of Sweden was a queen from birth who ended the Thirty Years’s War in Europe and loved working as the queen.  However, it was customary for the queen to marry a man to maintain power and prestige. “I’d rather choose death than a man” were the words of Christina before they left the life of royalty and wealth to live the life that they wanted. Christina’s bravery inspires all people to lead the life YOU want to live regardless of the societal pressures and stereotypes. 

This informational work of art highlights the stories of LGBTQ+ from the 1600s to the present in all different countries.  The stories will bring inspiration, strength and hope  to all readers and leave you feeling empowered to be YOU! – Nicole Cote

Julián is a Mermaid by Jessica Love

This heartwarming story tells the tale of Julián, a young boy who LOVES mermaids. One day on the train with his Abuela, Julian sees three women dressed as mermaids and is instantly enamored. Once home, he creates a mermaid outfit for himself to wear, but worries what his Abuela will think when she walks in. She happily accepts Julián’s choice to dress as a mermaid and even enhances his outfit with her very own necklace.

Jessica Love’s debut book is spectacular. Her illustrations are stunning yet simple. While the book has few words, her message is conveyed loud and clear: this is a story of acceptance, individuality, and being proud of who you are. It is a story that reinforces the idea that there is no “right” way to be. – Kristen Amato

Pride: The Story of Harvey Milk and the Rainbow Flag by Rob Sanders

In this beautiful narrative on the history of the ubiquitous rainbow flag symbolizing LGTBQ+ rights, we are introduced to other important figures in the movement, most notably Harvey Milk. While documenting the historical narrative surrounding the flag, the author conveys ideals and goals of hope, perseverance and pride. The author attempts to connect the young reader with Milk to give all readers the same sense of pride and hopefulness that maintained Milk as he faced resistance and obstacles. 

This story teaches the motivations behind the Gay Freedom Day Parade and what people were protesting for. This story illuminates gay rights in a child friendly manner in order to allow for understanding and opens up the discussion of gay rights in the United States for children. (Note: The violence that ended Harvey Milk’s life is included in the book.) – Nicole Cote

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