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A Pride Month Book Review – The ABCs of Queer History –

PRIDE MONTH BOOK REVIEW

THE ABCs OF QUEER HISTORY
Written by Dr. Seema Yasmin
Illustrated by Lucy Kirk
(Workman Kids; $18.99, Ages 5 and up)

 

The ABCs of Queer History cover queer people and allies holding pride banners flags.

 

Author and poet Dr. Seema Yasmin and illustrator Lucy Kirk’s ambitious The ABCs of Queer History is a nonfiction picture book that makes queer history accessible to young readers. With its vibrant illustrations and excellent examples, the book will open children’s eyes to the struggles and the rewards that constitute the queer experience in the United States.

 

The ABCs of Queer History int1 A is for Abundant.
Interior spread from The ABCs of Queer History written by Dr. Seema Yasmin and illustrated by Lucy Kirk, Workman Kids ©2024.

 

“This is a book of people, of ideas, of accomplishments and events.” The first vibrantly illustrated spread is a great introduction. Readers learn in the art above that “A is for abundant, because we are many: our histories show we are diverse and plenty.” The letter E aptly explores equality while G is for groundbreaking where trailblazers like Barbara Jordan, the first queer congresswoman, or inspiring athlete Michael Sam are cited. I particularly enjoyed the colorful and cheerful spread for Q. “Q is for queens, of our hearts, of the light – a glorious tradition. Oh, what a sight!” Drag artists, including RuPaul, are getting dressed for a performance, some having make-up applied, some blowing their hair, and others bushing wigs, or simply strutting their stuff.

 

The ABCs of Queer History int2 C celebrate.
Interior spread from The ABCs of Queer History written by Dr. Seema Yasmin and illustrated by Lucy Kirk, Workman Kids ©2024.

 

Marriage equality is covered under M and N is a nod to notable figures in queer history who spoke up for transgender rights. Naturally, Stonewall is addressed when we reach S. It’s a tribute to the powerful movement that ultimately led to the uprising from which there was no turning back. Children will learn about old and new aspects of queer history in this hopeful approach, “… tales of hope and activism, tales of legends and glory.”

 

The ABCs of Queer History int3 H is for hope.
Interior spread from The ABCs of Queer History written by Dr. Seema Yasmin and illustrated by Lucy Kirk, Workman Kids ©2024.

 

Familiar and unfamiliar names are featured throughout adding to the scope of engaging content this book covers. Whether it’s art, science, medicine, or fashion, queer people’s continued contribution to our society is one to celebrate. In some parts of the book, the rhymes were near rhymes or slant rhymes but overall they still worked to convey the importance of understanding queer history and its positive, and lasting impact on our country. Rhyme appeals to so many kids but I also like the ABC format because the book can easily be read letter by letter. A parent or caregiver can read two or three letters at a time followed by a meaningful discussion. In addition to the alphabet, eight pages of invaluable Queer History Terms and Figures included in the back matter are fascinating to read. From Josephine Baker to Tennessee Williams, from Gender and Sex to Z is for Zero Tolerance, all aspects of queerness are explained. I recommend this informative book and hope it lands in kids’ hands across the U.S.A.

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