The Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC) is pushing multiple LGBT recommendations in its 2022 Notable Children’s Books and Summer Reading Lists. Some of these books include a simple picture of a gay union, while other suggestions are fully centered around transgenderism, but in each case, these recommendations are meant to normalize and promote LGBT values and lifestyles to children.
By the ALSC adding these books to the reading list, it communicates that these works are of “especially commendable quality, books that exhibit venturesome creativity, and books of fiction, information, poetry, and pictures for all age levels (birth through age 14) that reflect and encourage children’s interests in exemplary ways.”
For example, children from birth to preschool are encouraged to read “The Pronoun Book” by Chris Ayala-Kronos to complete the summer reading list. As kids just begin to learn how to talk and read, they can also get a head start on trans pronoun propaganda.
In this book, young readers are taught that they can’t know what people want to be called. A boy may want to be called a “she” instead of he. A girl may desire to use plural pronouns such as they/them or a “neopronoun” such as co, ey, per, or xe.
“Milo Imagines the World” by Matt de la Peña is another “notable” children’s book on the library association’s list, and while the book is not LGBT-centered, it slips in a picture of a same-sex wedding.
The story follows a young boy named Milo and his sister riding the train to see their mom. While on the crowded train, Milo looks at the faces around him. Notebook and pen in hand, he imagines and draws the lives of the people he sees.
He imagines a whiskered man wearing a green hat living in a tall apartment building with his cats and parakeets. He imagines one man as a groom in a tuxedo and a fancy wedding ceremony for a woman who wears a wedding dress, but then Milo muses that there might be more than meets the eye and reimagines their lives.
This time around, the whiskered man sits at a table with his family instead of just pets. He now imagines that the woman in the wedding dress is marrying a red-headed woman in another wedding dress.
The recommended “Over the Shop” picture book by JonArno Lawson is a wordless book, but the symbols and pictures highlighting LGBT values are clear.
“A dedication to trans activists and some characters who are nonbinary in dress and clothing make a simple message of love and acceptance resonate subtly,” a school library journal commented. Along with this, rainbows appear in random places such as a belt, hat, or on the flag outside the shop.
For third through fifth graders, ALSC recommends “How to Become a Planet” by Nicole Melleby. The book was labeled one of The Nerd Daily’s “Anticipated Queer Book Releases You Can’t Miss in 2021” and made Lambda Literary’s list of “May’s Most Anticipated LGBTQ Literature.”
“As always, Melleby naturally integrates her queer protagonist’s discovery of her sexuality into a larger story,” The Horn Book Magazine commented on Amazon.
The story follows a girl named Pluto struggling with depression. Throughout the story, Pluto “learns” she has a crush on a fellow girl who “learns” she identifies as a boy.
“The definition changed, but Pluto was exactly the same as it was, and still is, as when I learned about it back in middle school. All of its properties are still exactly the same,” Nicole Melleby said in an interview with Eliot Schrefer on LGBTQ Reads. “Getting a depression diagnosis for Pluto-the-person is just like Pluto-the-planet getting a new definition. It doesn’t change who she is; if anything, it gives her a clearer understanding of who she is.”