By Beth S. Pollak
June is a month for LBGTQ+ Pride! It is a chance to show community support for LGBTQ+ civil rights, and to celebrate variety in people’s lifestyles, gender, and sexual preferences. Pride parades originated in 1970, one year after the 1969 Stonewall Uprising in New York. The marches began as a way of showing solidarity with the LGBTQ+ community against police violence, and other acts of hate and discrimination. Fifty years later, Pride has become an integral summer celebration, with events held throughout the month of June that honor LGBTQ+ history, and promote advocacy, action, and acceptance. This summer, most of the big marches and in-person celebrations are canceled due to COVID-19. However, there are still many online celebrations.
In addition, Caribu has launched its ‘Pride’ category to share kid-friendly books and activities to promote love, acceptance, and self-confidence. This selection provides an opportunity to have conversations with children about embracing diversity and difference. Take some time for discussions with your children and grandchildren on a Caribu Call that focus on celebrating differences, showing love for friends and neighbors, and building self-esteem. Here are some of our favorites picks from Caribu’s Pride category:
Pride Coloring Pages: Tap on the ‘Activities’ tab to try Caribu’s Pride coloring pages! Explore the different options in the ‘Pride’ category. Decorate the Pride rainbow with your favorite colors, or choose a message of love and acceptance. Color together in a Caribu Call, and share your support by posting your drawing on social media with the @Caribu tag.
Be Who You Were Meant To Be, by Lauren Grabois Fischer. The book offers important messages about self-acceptance, non-conformity, and taking pride in what makes each person special. These ideas resonate powerfully during International Pride month! You can also read the text in Spanish in the second half of the book. Some conversations to share with your reading:
- Think about a friend or relative who has special talents or their own style. What do you like about that person? What are some of your special talents?
- The word conformity means changing your behavior or ideas to fit in with the group. Why do you think the book says: “Be who you are, No need for conformity?”
- What might be a situation when conformity is necessary [like wearing a mask to prevent the spread of COVID-19]? What might be a situation when it’s better to make your own choices?
- Think about a famous person who has their own style and talents. What do you like about that person?
Free To Be Incredible Me, by Joelle Elizabeth Retener. In this book, a boy named Manny returns home from his first day of school feeling sad; he has learned that there are some things that “Boys just shouldn’t do.” Manny’s dad is upset to hear this, and as a result, he joins Manny in celebrating what makes him special. The story shows how parents can support their children through teasing from peers, and emphasizes the message that it’s okay “to just be YOU!” Here are some conversations to share with your reading:
- What makes Manny sad after his first day of school?
- What are some things that Manny likes that some people said: “boys shouldn’t do”?
- What are some activities that you like to do that seem like “girls shouldn’t do” or “boys shouldn’t do?”
- Why is it helpful to remember that “the most important thing is just to be YOU!”?
Dog Bird Makes a New Friend, by Abram Makowa. Meet Dog Bird, a friendly animal who loves to make new friends, and doesn’t like pickles and salami! Even though Dog Bird looks like a bird with a beak and wings, Dog Bird feels like a dog, and identifies as a dog. The book emphasizes the idea that it’s okay for individuals to feel differently on the inside and outside, “because today, you met your first me. And I met my first you.” It is a kid-friendly introduction to the idea that gender presentation and external appearance do not define someone’s identity. It also focuses on loving others for what’s on the inside as a way of building true relationships. Here are some conversations to share with reading:
- What do you like about Dog Bird’s personality?
- Describe a time when someone you met seemed different on the outside compared to their personality on the inside. What did you learn about them?
- Why do you think it’s important to ask questions and get to know people?
- How do you feel when people ask you questions and get to know you?
Love Grows Love by Lauren Grabois Fischer. This cheerful book emphasizes how positive support for friends results in loving relationships and care! You can also read the text in Spanish in the second half of the book. Here are some conversations to share with your reading:
- Share a memory of a time when you took action to show your love for someone. What grew out of this situation?
- Share about a time when it was difficult to show love for someone. What made this situation challenging? What could you do to help make the situation better?
- Why does showing acceptance of one person result in more acceptance for everyone?
- How can you help “Love Grow Love” in your family/community? What will you grow?
As the month of June comes to a close, Caribu’s books and activities offer powerful tools to launch discussions about Pride and acceptance. Take this opportunity to share them with your family members, and fill your homes with love and support for friends, neighbors, and community.
Beth S. Pollak is a writer and educator based in California. In addition to working with Caribu, she consults with educational organizations and EdTech companies. Beth has worked as a teacher and journalist in Chicago, New York and San Francisco. She holds degrees in journalism, bilingual education, and educational leadership. In her free time, she enjoys hiking, biking, picnics, and dance.