A Pride Picture-Book Party Guide

Every day is an occasion to feel proud to be LGBTQIA or an ally. Pride Month is an ideal time to share your pride with the children in your life, and, also chat with them about why the city is decorated with rainbow banners. Reading an LGBTQIA-positive picture book (or three) together is one of the best ways we know to do just that.

To get your Pride Picture-book Party started in style, here are six of our all-time favourite LGBTQIA-positive picture books:

Based on the true story of Roy and Silo, two male Chinstrap penguins who raised a penguin chick together in Central Park Zoo, AND TANGO MAKES THREE is one of the most challenged books in the US. Bigots may see red. But readers see two male characters build a loving, stable home for their daughter, Tango. These three flightless birds teach kids a memorable lesson in human nature.

One of the first-ever picture books to address ‘trans’ issues, 10,000 DRESSES remains a staple of LGBTQIA-friendly KidLit lists.  Bailey adores dresses and dreams of making magical, magnificent gowns. His birth family tries to crush such dreams. Bailey’s friend Laurel inspires him to see him the joy of being true to who you are inside. This classic tale will resonate with any kid who refuses to dress like everyone else.

Morris Micklewhite loves to wear a tangerine dress around school. While the other kids shun him, he refuses to let them limit his imagination. Morris paints an amazing  space adventure, featuring himself wearing the dress, which prompts invitations to play from his classmates. MORRIS MICKLEWHITE AND THE TANGERINE DRESS is a testament to the importance of embracing our own dreams and each another’s differences.

From the  author of MOMMY, MAMA, AND ME and DADDY, PAPA, AND ME comes DONOVAN’S BIG DAY: the story of a boy’s turn as ring-bearer at his two moms’ wedding. Unlike many other LGBTIA-friendly picture books, it doesn’t present Donovan having two moms or even same-sex marriage as issues that the characters have to somehow resolve. Rather, the situation is treated as a given. This charming tale of how, as Donovan puts it,  “love makes a family” will appeal to every member of the wedding party.

Educator Cory Silverberg and cartoonist Fiona Smyth explain conception, gestation and birth to children without conflating sex and gender. WHAT MAKES A BABY  includes trans folks, and non-traditional means of creating a family. Caregivers are invited to draw upon their own experiences as they read aloud. This widely acclaimed book gives kids the tools to start thinking about a related question: what makes a “family” in today’s world?

A FAMILY IS A FAMILY IS A FAMILY is a captivating take on how “family” is defined today. When a teacher asks her students what makes their families special, their answers cover family make-ups ranging from queer parents to grandparents. Sara O’Leary‘s witty dialogue prevents the book from becoming a preachy litany of “types.” On the back cover, illustrator Qin Leng slyly expands the book’s scope by including a family of dogs.


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Mouse City Danforth with Sheila Boudreau

Urban planners aged 2-12 can build a model city out of FREE craft materials at Mouse City Danforth, on Saturday, June 9 in the Robertson Parkette (1549 Danforth Avenue) click here for a map).  Drop by anytime between 8:30am and 1:30pm.

Who better to guide the construction of a make-believe metropolis than a leading designer of real-life cities? Sheila Boudreau, Senior Landscape Architect at the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority, has kindly agreed to take part and serve as “Mayor” of Mouse City Danforth.

We’re honoured to present #MouseCityDanny in partnership with the Danforth BIA, and as part of the Danforth East Community Association’s Annual Community Yard Sale .

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An Audio Guide to Mouse City Valley

What does it sound like when urban planners aged 8-10 spend a month building a model city for storybook mice out of recycled materials, with guidance from acclaimed urbanists, architects and authors such as Jennifer Bonnell, Jane Farrow, Melanie Florence and Annabel Vaughan?

Click here for an audio guide to the giant 3D model of Mouse City Valley on display in the Children’s Garden at Evergreen Brick Works (550 Bayview Ave), between 10:30am-1:30pm on Sunday, May 6 and Saturday, May 12.

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Mouse City Valley on CBC’s Metro Morning

CBC Radio’s popular Metro Morning show ran a short profile of our Mouse City Valley project this week, featuring young urban planners Sofia Romain Gonzalez, Rachel Thomson and Christopher Whitby, and Susan Hughes, author of WALKING IN THE CITY WITH JANE.

To listen to the Metro Morning segment, click here.

Pictured above are Morgan Passi, Producer at Metro Morning, talking with (clockwise) Christopher, Sofia (back of her head), Rachel and Susan.

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Jane Jacobs Book Launch in Mouse City Valley

The model city that urban planners aged 8-10 made for our Mouse City Valley project will be publicly exhibited at Evergreen Brick Works on Sunday, May 6, noon. To help us celebrate, Susan Hughes will launch WALKING IN THE CITY WITH JANE, her brand new picture book about iconic urbanist Jane Jacobs.

After Susan gives a reading, she’ll be interviewed on stage by kids who took part in Mouse City Valley. Alex Furneaux will conduct be a mini Jane’s Walk from the BMO Atrium to the Children’s Garden at Evergreen, where children will conduct tours of their model city.

Don’t miss this opportunity to not only pick up this exquisite new biography of Jane Jacobs for young readers, but, to celebrate how her vision of ‘a healthy city’ continues to inspire young city-builders.

Architect Naama Blonder will also join us and run UrbanBlocks, her celebrated giant board game for city builders of all ages (pictured above).

Evergreen Garden Market will have books available for purchase at the event.

Sunday, May 6 | Evergreen Brick Works, 550 Bayview Avenue | FREE
Mouse City Valley Exhibition: 10:30am-1:30pm | Book Launch: 12:00-1:00pm

Click Here for How To Get To Evergreen Brick Works

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Create Your Own Superhero at The 519

BAM! POW! ZAP! Everyone knows Wonder Woman, Spiderman and the Flash, but superheroes can come in all shapes and sizes. What does it take to be a superhero in today’s Toronto?

Writers aged 6-9 can create superheroes with Evan Munday, author-illustrator of the much lauded middle-grade mystery book series The Dead Kid Detective Agency, at DIY Superhero Lab on Saturday, May 5, from 10am-noon at The 519 (519 Church St).

This FREE workshop will focus on the one thing that superheroes from The Avengers to The X-Men have in common: an incredible origin story. To register, click here.

DIY Superhero Lab is part of The 519’s Kids & Youth Action and Arts Space, a series of creative and social programs for LGBTQ and Trans families.

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From KidLit icons Dennis Lee and Barbara Reid jamming with veteran indie-rock musicians Communism and The Woodshed Orchestra to vibrant performances by Fay and Fluffy’s Drag Queen Storytime and acclaimed author Nadia L. Hohn  – the 10th annual TOTSAPALOOZA Festival on Saturday, February 3 at Revival was an extraordinary celebration of our decade milestone.  Small Printers Jenn Catanzaro and Shana Hillman captured the big day in photos (above).

Clockwise from the top left: Wanda’s Pie-in-the-Sky Bakery’s edible works of art based on this year’s books (and poster), authors Nadia L. Hohn, Dennis Lee and Barbara Reid, Ann-Marie Williams of Movement Lab dances with Fluffy Souffle and Fay Schlift, Small Printers Tim Walker and Marcia Garnes, Don Kerr of Communism sings rhymes from Barbara Reid’s Sing-A-Song of Mother Goose with Barbara and Fay and Fluffy, a set by Communism and The Woodshed Orchestra, (inset) Fay and Fluffy’s hugely popular Storytime in the Basement Bar, Dennis Lee performs “Alligator Pie Blues” with Communism and The Woodshed Orchestra, and The Woodshed Orchestra.

For more photos, click here to visit our Facebook page.

Small Print Toronto gratefully acknowledges the generous support of the Ontario Arts Council (OAC) for this year’s TOTSAPALOOZA Festival.

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