Books for Kids

I try not to be too heavy-handed about politics with my kids but I do hope they will get some basics about how we are where we are. Here are two "messagy" books I've been reading to them lately:

Tango Makes Three.jpg

And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell and illustrated by Henry Cole is the sweetest little bit of gay propaganda you could possibly read to your children. It's the true story of two male penguins in the Central Park Zoo who entwined necks, vocalized together, had sex with each other (OK, that part's not in the kids book), and were finally given the opportunity to raise an adopted penguin chick. You have to be a truly homophobic grinch to remain untouched by what sweet dads the gay penguin pair made. And the story is not too preachy feeling - what kid doesn't want to hear about penguins?

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Freedom on the Menu by Carole Weatherford and illustrated by Jerome Lagarrigue tells the story of the 1960 Greensboro lunch counter sit-ins that led to the desegregation of Woolworths' and other restaurants throughout the South. I love how Freedom on the Menu emphasizes community action instead of just one or two key leaders. And even though it deals with the painful topic of segregation, it feels optimistic and hopeful about the power of collective action. The lunch counter sit-ins were started and led by college students and the book is told from a child's eye view which makes it easier for a five year old to connect with.

Bring on your suggestions for kids' books about activism and history folks!


Leah Lakshmi said...

Nice choices. For myself, I really like the two kids' books Gloria Anzaldua wrote before she died: Prietita and the Ghost Woman/ Prietita y la Llorona, and Friends from the Other Side. The illustrations are beautiful and the stories feature a smart dark-skinned tomboy girl befriending (and hiding from la migra) an arty boy who is undocumented, and (in the first one) and in the first book befriending La Llorona and discovering she's not the scary child-snatcher of legend but someone who helps people at the crossroads.

see here: http://www.amazon.com/Prietita-Ghost-Woman-Llorona/dp/0892391367/ref=si3_rdr_bb_product

anniez-k said...

My favorite book as a kid was "Little sisters of the grasslands." Pure Maoist propaganda, but I loved it. 2 sisters battle a blizzard to save the commune's herd of sheep. Apparently a classic now: for sale, not cheap

My favorite history book theme so far is about Justice for Janitors and it's bilingual. But, it has a lot of text (and I'm biased about this particular movement). Si, se peude! Yes we can!

Heather has 2 Mommies is a classic, but (she admits sheepishly) I haven't read it yet. Have you?

I can't get through books like _Too young for Yiddish_ and most of Allen Say's books without crying.

Bay Radical said...

I've never seen either of those Gloria Anzaldua books but they are now at the top of the library list.

I just saw that Justice for Janitors one for the first time last weekend. It was so sweet. That Maoist book sounds amazing!

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