This blog has been put together by four Middlebury College students: Tenzin Gyalpo ‘20, Chelsea Colby ‘17.5, Emma Ronai-Durning ‘18 and Hope Kuchinski ‘17. In our class, Introduction to Queer Critique with Professor Carly Thomsen, we were asked to complete a “translation assignment” to answer the question: “What do we do with the information we’ve learned in this course?” This blog is part of our response to that question.
Our group has read and examined a variety of progressive children’s books, drawing from some of the material we learned in class. In particular, we drew from two course texts that emphasized the need for coalition building and the limits of activism that is siloed, or too narrowly focused: “Calling all Restroom Revolutionaries: Resisting Assimilation Through Coalition Politics” by Simone Chess et al. and “Punks, Bulldaggers, and Welfare Queens: The Radical Potential of Queer Politics” by Cathy Cohen. (These readings can be found on our resources page if you would like to learn more.) We have found that authors, libraries, and online compilations of children’s books often sort oppression and marginalization into distinct categories, ignoring the ways in which forms of oppression overlap and also are related. We wanted to draw from queer theory to highlight the benefits of thinking about various types of difference in conjunction with one another.
Each book review includes a summary of the book, a discussion of the positive qualities, a discussion of the limits, and suggestions for how to push beyond the limits described. In addition to the reflection, the blog posts include an “About the Author” section to provide context regarding their background and motivations.
Our goal in creating this blog was to provide tools for those parents, teachers, and caregivers who infuse their teaching and care with messages related to fairness, difference, inclusivity, kindness, and justice. We hope you will find this information useful and will share this resource broadly!
-Emma, Tenzin, Hope, and Chelsea