I’m obsessed with Prince & Knight by Daniel Haack and illustrated by Stevie Lewis. I read it when it came out in 2018 and loved it, but started thinking about it again recently when I was searching for non-traditional princess books. It checks so many boxes for me, from beautiful illustrations to a perfect read aloud rhyme scheme. But most of all, it shows gay characters as something other than someone’s parent.
Don’t get me wrong. I love books that show the diversity of families. But here, the heroes are gay. How many kids will be able to see themselves as potential heroes for the first time when they read this book? And how many other kids will see their gay family member or classmate or friend differently?
There are a lot of benefits to reading picture books to children – language development, nurturing a love of reading and books, quality time with adult caregivers, and more – but one of the most powerful is the way they shape how kids see themselves and those around them.
“We know that children’s books can act like both mirrors and windows on the world. Mirrors in that they can reflect on children’s own lives, and windows in that they can give children a chance to learn about someone else’s life. We also know that this type of self-reflection and opportunity to read or hear about different lives is essential for young people.” (Source)
I strive to include representative books when I suggest books here and in my personal life, but I am not the expert in literature and media diversity. Two of my favorite resources for more conscious book choices are:
The Conscious Kid: A research, education, and policy organization who focus on stopping racism in children. They have great book lists and resources. Their social media accounts are really insightful and helpful. I highly recommend subscribing to their Patreon to support their work and get book lists and more.
We Need Diverse Books: This non-profit is dedicated to getting diverse books in classrooms, libraries, and homes by advocating for diversity in publishing. They have really fantastic and eye-opening resources.
Follow this link to find more LGBTQ+ book suggestions from me.