One of my most important jobs as a parent is to allow my children to have the freedom to discover and be their true selves. I want them to find their passions, inner drive, believe in themselves, and have the resilience to keep moving forward despite the natural adversity life presents. I believe it is important to surround children with love and acceptance from the start and the rest of their lives will fall into place from there. What career they ultimately chose is far secondary to the importance of how they feel about their life and themselves. Part of how I do this is to make sure we incorporate books in the house that celebrate diversity and present many different role models of people being who they are and standing up for what they believe in. Here are my recommendations and reviews for 10 children’s picture books that we have read that celebrate gender diversity in children and encourage children’s play free from gender role stereotypes.
Well done, author Michael Hall. I am impressed. Red: A Crayon’s Story takes the complicated subject of living authentically and successfully sums it up in a story about a mislabeled crayon who discovers the secret to a happy life. In this picture book targeted to preschoolers, he somehow addresses complex narratives in life that many adult books struggle to get across. The story covers the underlying message of love and acceptance so smoothly the reader doesn’t feel lectured to but instead is enthralled by the story of Red’s attempts to live true. With a handful of words, Red teaches us about:
ALL CHILDREN, not only gender nonconforming children, are at risk when their sense of identity is discouraged or disallowed. Parent and family acceptance offers CRITICAL protective factors that lead to short-term and long-term healthier outcomes. The benefits of allowing people to be who they are (ie gender nonconformity in children) is supported by research…although it is also a no-brainer. Gender diversity is not pathology. It is not disorder, but identity.