Title: Love is Love
Author: Michael Genhart
Illustrator: Ken Min
Publisher: Little Pickle Press, June 2018
Themes: pride, alternative family, two dads, bullying, lgbtqia+
I’ve got a problem.
Today some kids were laughing at my shirt.
They were teasing me for wearing it.
One of the kids said my shirt was gay.
A boy confides in a friend that he doesn’t know what to say when he’s teased for having two dads, and when kids say that they’re not a real family. In their conversation, his friend helps him see how her family (with a mom and a dad) isn’t all that different from his: they both have parents who love them, and they both love their parents. And it’s love that makes a family.
Why I like this book:
This talks about bullying kids of gay parents have endured and reaches the conclusion that “Love is the same. Wherever you live. Whoever you are. And whomever you love.” The illustrations are very inclusive, and I like the rainbow-kite development, staring with kites in the distance, first red, then orange, then yellow, etc. These kites end up forming a heart in rainbow colors in the sky when the various children and their families come together at the end of the book.
I would have liked more of a storyline, but the clear message is reinforced by extensive backmatter with conversation prompts and further affirmation of queer families and identity. “Gay” is used as a default or umbrella term, and I would love to see picture books include expressions of “trans,” “nonbinary,” “bisexual,” identities too. This is more an educational text than a story time text, but for that it is very valuable and a resource I would add to an elementary classroom library.
Excellent back matter to use in a classroom discussion. And a note to teachers/parents/caregivers about bullying and terminology. Plus an extensive list of further resources.
Each week a group of bloggers reviews picture books we feel would make great educational reads. To help teachers, caregivers and parents, we have included resources and/or activities with each of our reviews. A complete list of the thousands of books we have reviewed can be found sorted alphabetically and by topics, here on Susanna Leonard Hill’s website.