New Children’s Book Series Highlights Queer Families of Color

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“We take a chunk of time before bed to lay together and have a snuggle and read,” says S. Bear Bergman, describing his nightly routine with his 4-year-old son, Stanley. On one particular evening, they were pouring through a new stack of picture books that had arrived. Bergman’s husband and Stanley’s father, j wallace (who spells his name in lowercase letters), works for the Toronto school district. He is somewhat of an expert on children’s books—particularly those featuring LGBTQ2S (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and Two Spirit) kids and families. This most recent stack was of that variety. “We were powering through them, diligently,” Bergman recounted, “and a couple of pages into the fourth book [Stanley] just went: ‘I don’t want this anymore. I don’t want anymore bully stories.’ I just started thinking—what are we sending our children to bed with?”

If you’re white, straight, middle-class and able-bodied, you may never have to ask yourself these questions about the literature available to your young children, because your lives are portrayed in a multitude of ways—many of them happy, explorative, inquisitive, joyful. There are literally thousands of books featuring families that approximate yours. If you’re queer or a person of color, the options available to you in the children’s book aisle severely shrink, especially if you’re looking for a story that includes a representation of you or your family. If you’re both queer and a person of color, there literally may only be one or two books that even get close to telling the story of your family.

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