We’re finishing up queer picture books week today! I’ve mentioned a lot of books I like and talked about all the kinds of books that don’t really seem to exist yet, so I thought I’d finish up by talking about four exceptions that didn’t really fit into the other categories. Some of them are just kind of odd, but they’re also some of the best.
- King & King by Linda de Haan is one of the more famous queer picture books because it’s been banned a lot, like And Tango Makes Three. A lot of readers don’t like the art, and it’s vaguely problematic in that all the ladies have something wrong with them rather than the king just not being into them, but it’s not a big deal. It’s one of the only examples I know of where there’s an openly same-sex romance in a picture book — no animals, no downplaying, just two kings getting together.
- The Boy Who Cried Fabulous by Leslea Newman is a very gentle allegory, and you have to kind of know the word “fabulous” is associated with being gay to get it, but Newman’s written a big percentage of the queer picture books out there so I know she did it on purpose. It’s all about enthusiasm and not letting people hold you back. And about the joys of vocabulary, but maybe that’s just me.
- The Boy With Pink Hair by Perez Hilton is an anti-bullying story. I actually really liked it and loved the illustrations, and I thought the pink hair was a good choice because even though it’s still an implication it’s more visibly associated with queerness. However, judging from the Goodreads reviews, if you have strong opinions about Perez Hilton they will color your opinion of the book quite a bit.
- This Day in June by Gayle E. Pitman is a picture book about a pride parade! It’s one of my absolute favorites because it is so open, because it explains Pride to kids and has a guide for parents, because it’s got leathermen and ally parents and lesbian bikers and people with kids and couples without kids and it’s all just lovely and queer, without the timid homonormativity in so many other books!
Did I miss any good titles? Overlook any important themes this week? Let me know in the comments! Happy Pride and happy reading, everyone!