Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Gloria Goes To Gay Pride by Leslea Newman and Illustrated by Russell Crocker

I feel like this is the most straight forward book that I have read so far. It didn't shy away from the word gay, which many of the books have. I like that it actually said it because I think it is important to use the words, lest students think that words like gay and lesbian are bad words. Also, if you are going to discuss something you should know what you are talking about, you should know the vocabulary. Another thing that I liked about this book in particular is that it dealt briefly with negative feelings towards gay people. During the parade, Gloria and her family are confronted with people holding signs that say "gays go away". I pull at Mama Grace's sleeve. "Why do they want us to go away?" I ask. "Some people think that Mama Rose and i shouldn't love each other," Mama Grace says. I don't understand. "But you always tell me that love is the most important thing of all." Mama Rose picks me up. "Love is the most important thing of all," she says. "Some women love women, some men love men, and some women and men love each other. That's why we march in the parade- so everyone can have a choice." Not only does this sentence have a message that is loud and clear, it can lead to a meaningful class discussion. I think that the thing that bothered me about this book are the illustrations. They are a bit stereotypical. For example, the pictures of Mama Rose and Mama Grace both show women with very short hair that makes them look rather man-ish. It is a preconceived notion that we have that all women with short hair must be gay.(Personal side note here. A year ago, I got a pixie cut (very very short hair) and I noticed that people looked at me differently, they stared at me in public.) In addition, the pictures in general leave something to be desired. They are very plain, and with no color whatsoever. They don't help the book at all, they are just simply there. It would have been better if there had at least been color.

Again, could be hairy, but is it worth it? You bet. Ages 3 to 7? Absolutely.

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