By Corinne Murdock |
The Maricopa County Public Library is stocking up on controversial LGBTQ+ and anti-racist children’s books.
Children’s books put on display at the libraries included those that teach that systemic racism is real, and that LGBTQ+ lifestyles and ideologies are healthy and cause for celebration.
Several of the LGBTQ+ and anti-racist books offered were board books: thick, durable picture books intended for infants through children up to four years old.
The controversial children’s books included the “Pronoun Book,” “My Two Dads,” “I’m Not a Girl,” “Antiracist Baby,” “Me & My Dysphoria Monster,” “My Maddy, “Call Me Max,” “Sparkle Boy,” “Jacob’s School Play: Starring He, She, and They” “10,000 Dresses,” “Jacob’s Room to Choose,” “Stella Brings the Family,” “Love Makes a Family,” “Lovely,” “Grandad’s Camper,” “What Riley Wore,” “My Rainbow,” “Prince & Knight,” “And Tango Makes Three,” “Mommy, Mama, and Me,” “Julian is a Mermaid,” “King & King,” “One Family,” “In Our Mothers’ House,” “Happy in Our Skin,” “Morris Micklewhite and the Tangerine Dress,” “Jacob’s New Dress,” “Uncle Bobby’s Wedding,” “Home at Last,” “This Day in June,” “Fred Gets Dressed,” “When Aidan Became a Brother,” “My Shape is Sam,” “Adventures With My Daddies,” “Papa, Daddy, 7 Riley,” “Except When They Don’t,” “Jack (Not Jackie),” “Mr. Watson’s Chickens,” “Old MacDonald Had a Baby,” “Rainbow: a First Book of Pride,” “One of a Kind, Like Me,” “Sam is My Sister,” “A Plan For Pops,” “From Archie to Zack,” “Bye Bye, Binary,” “My Shadow is Pink,” “It Feels Good to Be Yourself,” “The Truly Brave Princesses,” “The Bread Pet,” “Peanut Goes For the Gold,” and “Patrick’s Polka Dot Tights.”
In “Call Me Max,” a little girl dressed like a boy scares another little girl as she enters the bathroom; her peer believes the little girl is actually a boy.
“When I went to the girls’ bathroom, a girl ran out,” read the book. “She thought I was a boy. I didn’t mean to scare her. But I liked that she thought I was a boy.”
In “Me & My Dysphoria Monster,” the protagonist grapples with his gender identity.
“Sometimes people are told they are a boy when actually that person knows they are a girl,” stated the book. “Or sometimes people are told they are a girl when they know they are a boy.”
The book then advises the reader that a “gender dysphoria monster” may visit, and warns that it “doesn’t like to be ignored.” The book teaches the reader that children who ignore this gender dysphoria monster will only result in it growing bigger, and that the only remedy for it is to identify as the opposite gender. The moment of triumph between the little boy and the “gender dysphoria monster” was when he was allowed to join the girls’ soccer team.
In “Antiracist Baby,” children are taught that they must see other people’s races rather than be “color-blind,” that not every race is treated equally in society, and that they should always be watching out for instances of racism. It also included depictions of same-sex couples, teaching that no lifestyles are better or worse.
Some of these controversial books were declared “award-winning” works at one point by the American Library Association’s (ALA) Stonewall Book Awards. The award-granting organization has issued awards for LGBTQ+ works since 1971, but only began issuing awards to children’s and young adult books since 2010.
Awards were granted to: “10,000 Dresses” (2010), “Mommy, Mama, and Me” (2010), “Morris Micklewhite and the Tangerine Dress” (2014), “This Day in June” (2014), “Julian Is a Mermaid” (2019), “When Aidan Became a Brother” (2020), and “Grandad’s Camper” (2022).
Some of the younger children’s books were given special recognition with their inclusion on the 2023 Rainbow Book List, organized by the ALA’s Rainbow Round Table. The list includes nearly 200 books discussing LGBTQ+ ideology published between 2021 to present.
“The importance of this list (and others like it) cannot be understated, especially in a time when we are seeing a record number of efforts to ban both materials and support for LGBTQIA+ young people and their families,” stated the ALA. “The suppression of these books is a detriment to all youth, and we cannot ignore the damage these challenges are having on the young people in our society.”
In addition to the ALA’s Stonewall Book Awards and Rainbow Book List, there’s the Walter Dean Myers Award and the Lambda Literary Award.