May 08, 2012

Gay penguin update

I recently wrote a post regarding a book titled And Tango makes three and it got me thinking about other children books that gently explain or support same sex relationships/parenting and some that confront stereotypes. I put on my bikini and dove into the cyberworld pool to see what else I could find.

Here is what I found:

"The Princess Boy": A four-year-old boy loves dressing up in princess clothing. "A nonfiction picture book about acceptance ... to give children and adults a tool to talk about unconditional friendship"
My review: I really wanted to read this book and tell you how cute it is. But I can't. It actually made me sad. It starts out by telling the reader all about a boy that enjoys playing dress up and wearing pretty dresses and jewelry and how his family and friends are accepting of this. Of course, that acceptance is wonderful but the sad factor for me is that this acceptance is not reality. As the book goes on the princess boy has encounters with people that are not accepting. This book hits close to home for me. When my oldest son was 3 and 4 years old he loved (I stress the word love) wearing a recycled nightgown from his sister's closet. The nightgown was purple, very satin-y and had four different Disney princesses on it. He absolutely adored wearing this nightgown. I let that boy shine in his newly obtained gown. I think he probably wore it more times than my daughter did. He brought it to sleepovers at his g-ma's house. I know there were snickers (not the candy bar kind) and comments behind his back. But no one teased him directly. Eventually he moved on from the gown. When he wore it in front of other people besides my husband and I, I often worried what kind of reaction he would receive. I was always on guard and ready to give disappointed looks and a little speech. Is it good to let our young children experience cruel comments and judgmental looks because they choose to sway for the norm of society? I don't know the answer. As parents we want to protect our children but we also want them to be themselves. Sometimes it doesn't seem possible to do both.
My daughter's review: I thought the princess boy was a very good book on stereotypes, but it was also very sad. In the book people are judging him and saying he shouldn't dress up. Because that's for girls, but i think if you like something you shouldn't let someones judgement get in the way especially when it's just about how you dress. I thought it was a sad story though because people teased him and laughed and even made mean faces. If he was my brother or a friend of mine who liked to dress up i would feel just horrible. A lot of times people have this certain way or look on life that others don't, because they were wired to look at life that way. The Princess Boy was a very touching story I will probably never forget.

"Mommy, Mama and Me": A baby enjoys a number of fun activities with her two mothers.
My review: This is a board book. I really enjoyed it.

"Daddy, Papa and Me": The story of a toddler's daily activities with two loving fathers.
My review: Same as the above. It's a board book. A fun, cute read.

"The Family Book": Represents a variety of families, some big and some small, some with only one parent and some with two moms or dads, some quiet and some noisy, but all alike in some ways and special no matter what.
My review: It's a good book. The pages have fun, colorful pictures. The words on each page are kept short, sweet and get right to the point. It shows how each family, as different as it may be, is special in it's own way.

"It's okay to be different": Illustrations and brief text describe all kinds of differences that are "okay," such as "It's Okay to be a different color," "It's Okay to need some help," "It's Okay to be adopted," and "It's Okay to have a Different nose."
My review: Another fun, colorful book. It covers many differences we face in each other today but it isn't clear (in my opinion) if they reference having two moms or two dads. The page I am talking about says "It's okay to have different moms. It's okay to have different dads." It's kind of vague so it can be taken however the reader chooses. My kids really enjoyed the book, especially the macaroni & cheese in the bathtub part.

"William's Doll": William's father gives him a basketball and a train but these do not make him want a doll less.
My review: This book was first published in 1972. It depicts a sweet, gentle boy. While he enjoys his father's gifts of a basketball hoop, ball and a train, his greatest desire to love and care for a baby doll. He is teased by his brother and a friend but it does not sway him. This book confronts the stereotype that boys should play with "boy" toys.
My daughter's review: This book takes a look at different toys for both genders. Trains, sports balls. Dollhouses and barbies. But the point of being a kid is to have fun not have people tease you by the different things you play with. Also everybody needs someone that will help them reach their dreams and goals. For William that someone was his grandma.

And last but not least....
"And Tango makes three": At New York City's Central Park Zoo, two male penguins fall in love and start a family by taking turns sitting on an abandoned egg until it hatches.
My review: This book is incredibly sweet and heartwarming. My kids listened intently as I read it (if you know how boys operate... you'll know this is a big deal). The book talks about the penguins being in love and becoming dads. I was sure I would enjoy this book and was not left disappointed. This book will be a great addition to our bookshelf.
My daughter's review: I heard about this book in school. This woman was trying to ban it from her daughter's school because she didn't like the concept of it. Two dads, one baby. That's not the typical family. But I don't see what the problem is. Two male penguins in love, raising a baby. I thought it was really sweet how they were always together. I also liked how the parents (Roy and Silo) helped Tango grow up. I thought this was a good book about different lifestyles and families.

My daughter had a very emotional reaction to The Princess Boy. The poor girl was in tears after she read it and while writing her review. When I posted Bullying. Who wins?, I mentioned that she thought the weekly assembly aimed at bullying/self-confidence was lame. I don't want anyone to get the wrong impression of her. So I want to tell you she is a wonderful, caring person. Her heart is huge. She'll go the distance for anyone. I don't understand why she finds this school program to be boring and inconvenient. My guess is because she's a teenager and can't really appreciate these words of advice yet.

I checked each and every one of these books out at our local library. I am happy to see these books are available to anyone.

It is our duty to raise our children with an open mind and to be accepting and respectful of everyone.


1 comment: