Monday, December 23, 2013

To Russia, With Love

Last month at a gathering at the Peaks Island community center, I had the opportunity to meet Oleg Klyuenkov and Lyudmila Romodina, members of an LGBT delegation from Archangel, Russia, to Portland, Maine
Oleg and Lyudmilla described discriminatory laws recently enacted in Russia, and their work supporting gay individuals and families at a center in Archangel. As a followup to their visit, I'm mailing them a package of picture books representing the portrayal of gay families in American literature for young children:

In Monday is One Day, by Arthur Levine, a working parent addresses a child, counting the days until the weekend and special time with "you." The illustrations show different kinds of families, including two dads.
The Family Book by Todd Parr celebrates different shapes, sizes and colors of families in simple language and brilliant, primary-colored art.

One of a pair of board books by Leslea Newman (see also Daddy, Papa and Me), Mommy, Mama and Me is a sweet glimpse into everyday life with two moms.

A Tale of Two Daddies (companion to A Tale of Two Mommies), by Vanita Oelschlager, is a playground conversation between a girl and her friend who asks about the roles of her two fathers.

Beloved writer-illustrator Patricia Polacco used family members as models for In Our Mothers' House, about two moms raising three children by adoption.

 Now whenever I hear news about the treatment of the LGBT community in Russia, I think of Oleg, Lyudmilla, their families, their friends and their clients. I hope for changes that will make them feel safer and more accepted.

In the words of a button from the Marriage Equality in Maine in 2012: "It's only love."

For more recommended books featuring gay and lesbian families, see this list, with links to others.

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