Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Literature for children

You know how most books your kid brings home from the library are kind... of.... well, stereotypical?And a little bit sexist/racist/classist? Oh, you didn't notice that? Hm.

Anywho, with how much reading of children's books we do around these parts, you start to notice, especially after you have taken a feminist political theory class. But there are some gems. And I've been loving these two books lately that we have found at our local Bookmobile.

First, Oscar's Half Birthday. Doesn't sound very exciting. But oh, everyone, this book is so unique! It's about a baby who is turning 6 months old, and with his mom and dad and sister Millie, he goes to celebrate in a park. Sound boring? It kind of is. The thing that makes this book SO, SO great is the family. It depicts diversity without being like "oh, and this couple is multiracial, see how progressive our kids' book is!" I also love how it's not a very white, very upper-middle-class suburban family with their clean-cut mom and dad and darling children. These people are (presumably) low-income, and live in an apartment with graffiti all over the elevator. They have to walk under bridges and through traffic in what appears to be a shady part of town to get to the park. The dad's underwear at one point is hanging out of his low-slung pants and the mom's shirt doesn't appear to actually be a shirt. They don't look like the typical children's book family, in fact, you'd probably see this people out on the street and think they are drug-addicted and bad parents... but they are totally in love with each other and their kids in such a simple way. I also love that the dad packs the sandwiches for their lunches.

Second, I Could Do That! Esther Morris Gets Women the Vote is completely different but makes me feel equally as happy. It's about a strong-willed woman who sets up a political meeting that in turn leads to women getting the right to vote in Wyoming territory, the first state to grant that right in the US. She's an oft-forgotten heroine of the suffrage movement, a mother of three sons, and ends up being the first female judge in the US to boot. I really want to meet her.

(I do think it's a little weird they depict her as a little girl on the cover, because she didn't get women the right to vote until she was well into her older age...)

Speaking of books and children, Atticus recently began listening and reading along with books on tape. I think life just got a little more perfect. Yes! It is one of the cutest things going on around these parts.

And if you have suggestions for rockin' awesome kids' books, please share. We are always look for good ones!


  1. Toni Morrison actually wrote two books for kids. They're out of print, but you can get them on Amazon. (I found them there, and they were inexpensive.) They're meant for slightly older kids, but they are wonderful.

  2. We just read The Hello, Goodbye Window. Atticus would like it. I also just read Ben "Bark, George" for the first time. When we got to the part, "And the doctor pulled a cat out..." Ben yelled, "What the?!" It was hilarious.

  3. Good list: