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These books are being read to our second graders and featured in the school libraries in Benicia:

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Black Lives Matter is featured prominently throughout the book (posters, stickers) and there is a disturbing illustration of police beating black people in the book. Malcom X appears as well.  Police are shown as villains and black people are shown as victims.

A Place Inside of Me,

by Zetta Elliott

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A black girl isn’t quite sure how to feel about the color of her skin.  According to the publisher:  “The Proudest Color is a timely, sensitive introduction to race, racism, and racial pride.”  Racial pride leads to hatred, discrimination, and genocide.

The Proudest Color,

by Sheila Modir

and Jeff Kashou

This book wants to reignite issues from 60 years ago: “If you are denied a job because of your skin color, or the enunciation of your name, if you are denied the right to safe passage to walk freely without harm into a record store or a pharmacy, remember those who endured brutalities from water hoses and dog bites.”  They ask you to “say the names:” such as Malcolm X, Colin Kapernick, Harvey Milk.  There is a section on gender, and the book says there are “many shades between a boy and girl, people who are neither, people who are both, people who live somewhere in between.”  They describe immigration as people simply wanting to bloom in different places.  The book describes intersectionality, “we all have multiple identities.”  The book promotes the idea that non-white people can’t walk through stores without being followed or suspected of misdeeds.  A quote from another section: “A white person can walk down the street and not worry about being discriminated against while a person of color cannot.”  Imagery includes black fists and Black Lives Matter.  Ironically, they feature a poem about not stereotyping people, but the whole book stereotypes people.


by Mahogany Browne

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Winner of the Caldecott Medal, the Newberry Honor Book, the Coretta Scott King Award.  This author states his support for Black Lives Matter.  The afterword describes Michael Brown as an 18-year-old African American boy who was killed by a white police officer.  His death sparked protests and created the expression “Hands up, don’t shoot.”  This is incredibly untrue and was proven wrong by the Obama administration DOJ.  Michael Brown was a thug who fought a police officer and grabbed his gun.  The incident actually had nothing to do with race, but no one stood up to say that, and the country burned down around us.

The Undefeated,

by Kwame Alexdander

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This children’s book is about gay lovers who traveled together in their camper van, and the memories of these adventures are shared by the child narrator.

Grandad's Camper,

by Harry Woodgate

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This book has illustrations of “He” characters, many which appear to be female; “She” characters who are partly male, such as what appears to be a woman with a moustache in a dress, as well as “They,” “Tree,” and “Ze” characters.

The book explains there “is never a right or wrong way,” only “your way,” teaching that children can create their own truth.  The book encourages children to have fluid pronouns and to create new pronouns: “People are creating new pronouns all the time!”  The stated intent is to normalize non-binary children. 

They, She, He, Me, Free To Be,

by Maya and Matthew Smith-Gonzalez

This book describes a girl who likes skateboards, baggy blue jeans, math, mohawk haircuts, and who believes inside she is a boy.  She acts rudely to get attention.  Her mother tells her “however you feel” is what matters.  The book celebrates everyone catering to the young girl’s declaration she is a boy.

Born Ready: The True Story of a Boy Named Penelope,

by Jodie Patterson

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This book features different characters, represented by each letter of the alphabet, who are non-binary or untraditionally gendered, such as a child dressed as a girl, named Paul, and a baby who uses “all the pronouns.”  Jorge, who wears a skirt, bows, and makeup, uses “he” or “they” as pronouns.  The book suggests using “they” as a default pronoun, and encourages freedom to switch back and forth between pronouns, including making up new words as children see fit.

They, She, He, Easy as ABC,

by Maya & Matthew Gonzalez

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This book, written for 4 to 8 year olds, is about a child born as a boy who lives as a transgender girl, who plays with dolls and desires long hair.  “People don’t care if cisgender girls have short hair, but it’s different for transgender girls.”  The story is about the rainbow wig the mother creates for the boy/transgender girl.

My Rainbow,

by Trinity and DeShanna Neal

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Written as a parody of a book that explains to children what the job of the Vice President entails, this book is about two boy bunnies who want to marry, and pokes fun at Mike Pence. 

A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo,

by Jill Twiss

This book features 53 people based on their non-heterosexual orientation.  One entry, featuring Leonardo da Vinci, states that he and three other men were accused of committing homosexual acts with a fourth man.  This book was displayed on a feature table set up for 11 year-olds.

Queer Heroes,

by Arabelle Sicardi

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Pay attention to the books they are reading in class and displaying in our school libraries.

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