Thursday, September 10, 2015

This Day in June by Gayle E. Pitman; illustrated by Kristyna Litten (2014)

Once upon a gay old time, there were only two picture books for kids about gays and lesbians (and no one else).  There may have been more, but all I was aware of was Heather Has Two Mommies and Daddy's Roommate.  They were groundbreaking, daring, controversial books.  Compared to other picture books, they also were kind of low rent. The production value of  the books and illustrations weren't the best.   They were created with loving intent, but lacked the slickness of the mainstream picture book world.

Fast forward 25 years to This Day in June.  No more low-rent picture books about the gays!  This Day in June is slick. The illustrations are colorful and fun.  And where Heather and Daddy, although controversial in their time, may have painted gay life in the most rose colored of terms, This Day in June let's it all hang out.  There are drag queens, leather daddies, sisters of perpetual indulgence, go-go boys - the whole gang is here.  And thank God for it!  There is a direct line between those two ground breaking books and this wildly colorful and fun picture book, and I'm glad I live in a time when this book can be so beautifully rendered. It's not for everyone - but every city of any size has some sort of gay pride event and parade, and this is a great picture book describing those days in June (or whenever).


This Day in JuneThis Day in June by Gayle E. Pitman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It's a long but successful road from Heather Has Two Mommies and Daddy's Roommate, which are both groundbreaking and daring books.  But also sort of pleasantly amenable picture books at their hearts; they try their best not to offend.  This Day in June is anything but offensive (except maybe to haters), but it's also in your face with leather daddies, drag queens, Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, and all the other cast of fabulous characters one may find in a 21st Century Gay Pride parade.  The road runs directly between those two first ground breaking books and this wildly colorful and fun picture book; It's probably not for everyone - but every city of any size has some sort of gay pride event and parade, and this is a great picture book describing those days in June.


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