Books for Pride Month


Disclosure: I was sent these books in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

June is Pride Month! As a straight ally and a former GSA advisor, June always holds a special place in my heart. The gender and sexuality issues have morphed as we we gain more understanding but the issues still exist to get equal rights and fair and safe treatment for all. Today I am going to share three books--two picture books and one middle grade book that deals with different parts of our own uniqueness and identity. The first picture book is not particular to Pride Month but more about being different and finding acceptance. It is recommended for ages 2 to 5. It is Oddbird by Derek Desierto. 

From the Publisher:

A picture book from Derek Desierto about a bird who doesn’t fit in…at first!

It’s SO hot outside. All the fancy birds are gathered around the water, wishing they could cool off. But they don’t want to get wet and ruin their fine feathers.

Oddbird isn’t worried about his feathers; he wants to go for a refreshing dip. But he doesn’t fit in. He’s not fancy, or colorful. He’s just…different. The other birds don't want him around. How can he join them?

Oddbird's story is one all readers will relate to, and ultimately celebrate.

From Me:

I love that this book focuses on differences. Oddbird has no color and the fancy and colorful birds make fun of him for it. Oddbird just wants to swim in the water to cool off. The other birds are just showing off their beautiful feathers near the water. Oddbird finds a solution to them not letting him in the water. And when his costume begins to come off he doesn't worry because all he cares about is cooling off. Oddbird is brave and creative and he figures out how to turn the other birds hate into friendship. What a great message!

I love that in the end the birds all jump in the water to cool off because Oddbird was brave enough to do it and have fun in there. The other birds got jealous and decided to try it. It shows that looks don't matter as much as what is on the inside!

Our next picture book is recommended for ages 3 to 6. It is one about gender and transgender. It is I'm Not a Girl by Maddox Lyons and Jessica Verdi and illustrated by Dana Simpson. 

From the Publisher: 

Based on a true transgender identity journey, the picture book I'm Not a Girl is an empowering story from writers Maddox Lyons and Jessica Verdi about a boy who is determined to be himself, illustrated by Dana Simpson.

Nobody seems to understand that Hannah is not a girl.

His parents ask why he won't wear the cute outfits they pick out. His friend thinks he must be a tomboy. His teacher insists he should be proud to be a girl.

But a birthday wish, a new word, and a stroke of courage might be just what Hannah needs to finally show the world who he really is.

A 2021 Rainbow Book List Recommended Reading Selection
From Me:
I love this story. It shares how one child is determined to get others to see him how he sees himself. He has been called a tomboy but that is not enough for him. He knows he is not a girl. His parents try to dress him as a girl no matter how much he complains. Then he meets kids that realize he is transgender and teach him the word. He gathers his courage to tell his parents the truth about himself using this new word so they will finally understand. I love the lessons learned and hope and pray that it will always be so easy for a transgender child to tell his/her parents the truth but know in reality there is much left out of the book due to who it is written for. This book however shares with young children that there are people who feel like they are not a boy or a girl like the world sees them. It will open conversations about gender in a way that most books do not.

I love that the book ends with A Mother's Note sharing about the true story of a child like the main character in this book. This story is based on a child's story and needs to be shared so others who feel like him will know they are not alone.

Our next book is a middle grades novel recommended for ages 8 to 12. I would even say it could be for slightly older. The book is Spin with Me by Ami Polonsky This book deals with nonbinary and pansexual but it is also a story about two young people falling for one another.

From the Publisher:
From the author of the critically acclaimed Gracefully Grayson comes a thoughtful and sensitive middle-grade novel about non-binary identity and first love, Ami Polonsky's Spin with Me.

In this elegant dual narrative, Essie is a thirteen-year-old girl feeling glum about starting a new school after her professor dad takes a temporary teaching position in a different town. She has 110 days here and can't wait for them to end. Then she meets Ollie, who is nonbinary. Ollie has beautiful blue eyes and a confident smile. Soon, Essie isn’t counting down the days until she can leave so much as she’s dreading when her time with Ollie will come to an end.

Meanwhile, Ollie is experiencing a crush of their own . . . on Essie. As Ollie struggles to balance their passion for queer advocacy with their other interests, they slowly find themselves falling for a girl whose stay is about to come to an end. Can the two unwind their merry-go-round of feelings before it's too late?

From Me:
This book begins Essie's point of view. She is counting down the days until she can go home but things change after she meets Ollie. She is attracted to Ollie right away but struggles with letting them know she is accepting of their nonbinary gender status. After following Essie's 110 days of life in North Carolina, the book goes into part 2, Ollie's point of view of the same time. I love that the reader gets both point of views. Taking the gender out of the book this book is an amazing first love story and shows kids how both are nervous and misinterpreting each other's actions. Add the gender in and now you have a book that is full of a first love story with gender issues added on. I love that there is so much support for Ollie and that there are stories from the past as well as present that have issues with their gender. It brings real life issues into the story. Plus the story is not just about the gender issues. Essie is dealing with friendship issues as well as family issues. Ollie is discovering that their life does not have to be all about educating people about nonbinary people and can focus on other interests and friends. I read this book in under 24 hours. I had trouble putting it down. It is an easy read but also thought provoking and interesting. It is a wonderful introduction to the world of fluidity gender.