Pride & Prose

Because of Covid-19, many Pride Parades and the associated celebrations have been cancelled. But that doesn’t mean you can’t celebrate Pride Month at home. Here are a few books to get you started.

The first is for the youngest members of your household. Pride Colors, by Robin Stevenson (Orca, 2019), is a delightful poem that teaches children their colours and to love themselves for who they are. The back of the book also has a breakdown of what each colour means on the rainbow flag. For ages 0 to 2.

In A Plan for Pops by Heather Smith and illustrated by Brooke Kerrigan (Orca, 2019), Lou spends every Saturday with Grandad and Pops. Each Saturday is the same as the last: they go to the library where Grandad learns how things work while Pops listens to rock and roll, they have lunch, and then Grandad and Lou tinker with contraptions while Pops naps. But one day, Pops falls and ends up in a wheelchair for the rest of his life. Everything changes and Pops no longer wants to come out of his room. So Lou and Grandad come up with a plan to help Pops cheer up and venture out of his room once more. The beautiful and delicate pictures in this story reflect the mood and emotions of the tale perfectly. For ages 3 to 7.

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Ho’onani Hula Warrior, by Heather Gale and illustrated by Mika Song (Tundra, 2019), is based on the real Ho’onani. Ho’onani finds herself somewhere between a boy and a girl. The tale follows her as she tries to find her place in the middle and as she tries to lead an all-boy hula troupe. While her parents and teacher are supportive of her choice, not everyone is accepting of her decision and she has to learn to deal with their criticisms. For ages 3 to 7.

Some of the reasons people march in the Pride Parade are to stand up for diversity and to express their love for everyone. One book that exemplifies that is Sharon, Lois, and Bram’s Skinnamarink which came together with help from Randi Hampson, and the illustrative talents of Qin Leng (Tundra, 2019). This book takes the beloved song, expands upon it and turns it into a beautifully illustrated tale about loving each other no matter where we are from, what we look like, or how we are feeling. Don’t be surprised if you start singing and teaching your children the actions instead of simply reading the story. For ages 3 to 7.

Finally, the last story comes from one of our very own writers: Dr. Jillian Roberts. On the Playground: Our First Talk About Prejudice, which is illustrated by Jane Heinrichs (Orca, 2019), is a question and answer book. Dr. Roberts looks at the emotions children might feel and the common questions they may ask when they see, for example, someone harassing one of their peers. She explores why people pick on others who are different from them, how the bullied person might feel, and what we can do to help. Her answers are in-depth but easy to understand. The photographs and illustrations highlight the differences that children might encounter from physical ability, to skin colour, religion, and sexual orientation. For ages 6 to 9.

This pandemic is showing us how much we need others, no matter what they look like or who they love. We are in this together, and so—like so many holidays that that happened these past few months—while we may celebrate in solitude, we can still celebrate diversity, freedom, equality, and love together.

Christina Van Starkenberg
Christina Van Starkenberg
Christina Van Starkenburg lives in Victoria with her husband, children, and cat. She is the author of One Tiny Turtle: A Story You Can Colour and many articles. To read more of her work and learn about her upcoming books, check out her website at