FICTION

Love Is Love

illus. by Ken Min. 32p. Sourcebooks. May 2018. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781939775139.
COPY ISBN
K-Gr 3—A picture book introduction to homophobic bullying that affirms the value of all loving families. The unnamed narrator tells a friend how other kids made fun of the rainbow heart shirt that was a gift from the narrator's dads, calling it "gay." While acknowledging that some people do not approve of being gay, the narrator decides that two-dad families are not so different from other families and feels proud of the love they share. Min's bright, cartoonish illustrations include plenty of white space and show big-headed figures with dot eyes and mostly smiling faces. Many spreads show a child with a rainbow T-shirt chatting with a friend as kites rise in the sky above. The final spreads show the children and parents (gay and straight) donning rainbow shirts and gathering to fly their kites into a rainbow heart shape in the sky. Some of the metaphors implemented may be above the heads of younger readers, who are not quite ready for abstract thinking. The pairs of children vary from page to page, and background landmarks like the Eiffel Tower and a giant Buddha statue place them around the world. It is unclear which child is the narrator or whether the narration is meant to switch among multiple children. The homophobic characters are never explicitly named in the text, though they may be indicated by the severe frowns on the face of an elderly Asian man and some young black boys. The white characters are not depicted with such expressions, which may lead readers to erroneously associate homophobia with people of color. In addition, the choice to depict yellow kites for the spread featuring Asian people reinforces harmful stereotypes. The back matter features a resource list, discussion questions, a note to kids, a note to caring adults, and a lengthy author's note.
VERDICT Well-intentioned but not successful, with many troubling implications.

Be the first reader to comment.

Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.


RELATED 

Get connected. Join our global community of more than 200,000 librarians and educators.