With the current calls for recognizing LGTBQ diversity in Alberta schools, a timely new book aimed at educating children about LGTBQ history has just been released. Gay & Lesbian History for Kids: The Century-Long Struggle for LGTB Rights focuses on the last 100 years of the struggle for human rights. With a brief section on the history pre-1900, this book focuses on personal stories and firsthand accounts of events, which makes reading easy and relatable for all. Even better, the writer Jerome Pohlen, has actively used the stories of non-whites and transgender people in the text.
Gay & Lesbian History for Kids does not shy away from the truth, beautiful and terrible all in one. The book makes sure the reader understands this with the activities: they encompass many disciplines in arts and history that could be used in the classroom. One that is very poignant is to perform a monologue from the Laramie Project, a play on the murder of a young gay man, Matthew Sheppard, in 1998.
Because of its focus and content, this book is very much for older children and teenagers. The other caveat is that it focuses primarily on the American story, with some break out sections on English and Canadian issues. While important for Canadian readers to know these early origins, any educator will have to supplement the text with our own narratives.
At least, until someone writes a Canadian book for children on LGTBQ history. Any takers?
The book is available also at the Calgary Public Library.
Gay & Lesbian History for Kids: The Century-Long Struggle for LGBT Rights, with 21 Activities by Jerome Pohlen. From the For Kids series: Chicago Review Press (Oct 2015)