Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2018-06-20
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

MOMBIAN Two new picture books tell story of the rainbow flag
by Dana Rudolph
2018-06-06

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


Pride season is here, and so are two new picture books that tell the story of the rainbow flag and the individuals who inspired and created it.

Rob Sanders' Pride: The Story of Harvey Milk and the Rainbow Flag ( Random House ) begins with Milk dreaming of equality as a young man and carrying those dreams forward as he becomes an elected official. When he organizes a march "to protest inequality and unfair laws," he seeks something that people may carry to give them a sense of hope and community. He reaches out to artist Gilbert Baker, who envisions a rainbow flag and enlists volunteers to create it.

Sanders deals as gently as possible with Milk's death, noting that he and San Francisco mayor George Moscone were assassinated by a man who did not think, feel, or love like Harvey. He then explains that people continued to create the flags as a symbol of hope, pride, and equality. A brief afterward and timeline give further details for those who want them.

My one quibble is that Sanders merely says, "Harvey dreamed that everyone—even gay people—would have equality," without saying what being gay means. Parents and teachers who don't already have that language will need to find it elsewhere. ( And "including gay people" might have been better than "even." )

The only other picture book about Milk, Kari Krakow's 2001 The Harvey Milk Story, goes into more detail about Milk's life and work, making it best for the older end of the picture-book crowd. Sanders' simpler version—more a snapshot than a full biography—and the inclusion of the colorful flag tale will appeal to slightly younger readers. So will the bright illustrations by Steven Salerno, showing the flag waving over crowds and being held by people of various gender identities, races, and physical abilities. This inspiring, positive story is a great introduction to two LGBTQ heroes and to the spirit of the LGBTQ community.

Gayle Pitman's Sewing the Rainbow ( Magination Press ) looks at the same era through the life of Gilbert Baker. Pitman has already written several children's books on LGBTQ history and culture, including Stonewall Book Award-winning This Day In June, about a Pride parade; When You Look Out the Window, about LGBTQ-rights pioneers Phyllis Lyon and Del Martin; and A Church for All, about an LGBTQ-inclusive church. Her latest work shows us not only a key moment in queer history, but also the journey of a boy to becoming his true self. A few gaps in explanation, however, will require grown-ups to reference the Reader Note at the end.

Sewing the Rainbow starts in Gilbert's dull Kansas hometown, where he "was full of color and sparkle and glitter." He would watch his grandmother sew in her clothing store, while he drew pictures of gowns and costumes. Then one day, "his father took away his art supplies and tore up his drawings." Pitman provides no reason for this, though, which may puzzle young readers.

Although Gilbert hoped to go someplace "filled with color" when he turned 18, he instead received a letter that "knocked every last bit of sparkle out of him." Pitman doesn't tell us what the letter said, however. On the next page, we simply read about his life in the army; adults will need to explain what a draft letter was.

Still, readers will feel almost as happy as Gilbert when he finally makes his way to San Francisco, learns to sew, and creates costumes for famous singers, banners for ( unspecified ) marches and rallies, and "regalia for Mama José and her Imperial Court." Even the Reader Note, however, doesn't tell us what the Imperial Court ( an LGBTQ charitable organization known for its fancy balls ) is.

A more serious omission comes when Gilbert's friend Harvey asks him for a new logo to replace a symbol that "continued to blemish" their city and "in Gilbert's community, was a constant reminder of evil." The text doesn't say what the symbol was, however; some readers may think it was a logo of the city. ( The reader note explains that it was the pink triangle. )

Additionally, nowhere in the story does Pitman use the word "gay," "queer," or "LGBTQ," although she does in the Reader Note. There is still much value in the broad message of acceptance and inclusion—but part of me feels this is like writing about Martin Luther King, Jr. without specifying that he fought for Black people and racial equality.

Still, many young readers, especially LGBTQ children, will likely identify with Gilbert's struggle to be himself. When Gilbert's flags first fly over San Francisco, we can't help cheering with the diverse crowd that celebrates them. And Pitman's final message, that when one sees a rainbow flag, "you'll know that it's okay to be your colorful, sparkly, glittery self," will inspire many, especially queer children with a more feminine gender expression. Illustrations by Holly Clifton-Brown are bright and whimsical, and the glittery rainbow cover adds to the book's attraction.

Sanders' tale is of heroes writ large, making public change with bold strokes. Pitman's story intertwines both personal and public transformations. Both approaches will add to children's understanding of these iconic figures and the time in which they lived—and our ongoing debt to them.

Let us hope they are followed by picture books ( by these authors or others ) about Mama José ( José Sarria ) and other people of color and of different genders who have also been fundamental to the LGBTQ rights movement.

Dana Rudolph is the founder and publisher of Mombian ( Mombian.com ), a GLAAD Media Award-winning blog and resource directory for LGBTQ parents.


facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email





Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

White Sox to hold first ballpark-wide Pride Night Aug. 31 2018-06-22 - CHICAGO — The Chicago White Sox will hold their first ballpark-wide Pride Night in association with the club's "BasebALL: One Game for All" ...


Gay News

Milwaukee Pride welcomes 45,000 2018-06-22 - Milwaukee Pride's 31st Annual PrideFest Milwaukee welcomed a record-breaking crowd of 45,000 people, according to a press release. This number reflects a 21-percent ...


Gay News

For the first time, City Club invites Pride inside 2018-06-21 - The first time the City Club of Chicago held an LGBTQ event, it did so with what panel moderator and Equality Illinois CEO ...


Gay News

Peach presents the Water Pride Edition celebrating LGBTQ+ women, femmes 2018-06-21 - Peach!, an event series that celebrates all LGBTQ+ women & femme family, presents the 2018 4-event series…'The Elements' ( Air, Water, Earth, & ...


Gay News

CMSA's Pride Bowl XI on June 22-23 2018-06-20 - The Chicago Metropolitan Sports Association ( CMSA ) announced that the football event Pride Bowl XI will take place on June 22-23 on ...


Gay News

Boxer Orlando Cruz leading Chicago's Pride Parade 2018-06-20 - Professional boxing's only openly gay star is coming to Chicago. Orlando "El Fenonemo" , of Puerto Rico, was the grand marshal in ...


Gay News

Windy City Times 30 Under 30 Awards held in Bridgeport 2018-06-20 - The 19th annual Windy City Times 30 Under 30 Awards were held June 20 at Polo Cafe in Bridgeport. A diverse group of ...


Gay News

Money bond, pretrial incarceration hurting Chicago's LGBTQ Communities 2018-06-20 - On any given day, more than 90% of people in Cook County Jail ( "CCJ" ) are presumed innocent and yet are locked ...


Gay News

PRIDE Pushing buttons 2018-06-20 - A retrospective of the official buttons from Chicago's Pride Parade going back to 1980, from the collection of Windy City Times assistant publisher ...


Gay News

Bolingbrook holds Pride picnic 2018-06-20 - Adding to the Chicago suburbs holding festivals to mark Pride Month, Bolingbrook held its own picnic June 10. The picnic was held at ...


 



Copyright © 2018 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 

 

 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS

Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor


 



Sponsor

About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group produces Windy City Queercast, & publishes Windy City Times,
The Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community,
Nightspots, Out! Resource Guide, and Identity.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.