Reading with children

a blog by Magic Tales

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How Storytime Can Build Bridges: Assisting Parents and Guardians of LGBTQ+ Families

Opening the pages to acceptance
Living in a world as vibrant and diverse as ours, it is integral that children grow up feeling loved, accepted, and heard. As the world evolves, it is inspiring to see an increasing number of LGBTQ+ families defining their narratives. However, even in today's progressive society, understanding and acceptance can be harder to come by, especially for kids who belong to these non-traditional families. Fortunately, there's a magical tool to building bridges and shattering walls: books. Let's delve into how parents and guardians can utilize the power of reading and children's books to foster understanding, empathy, and acceptance.
1. Reading diverse books:
The first and most obvious step towards creating an inclusive environment is to introduce children to a variety of books that feature families similar to their own. There are several amazing children's books available that depict LGBTQ+ parents, including 'And Tango Makes Three', 'Heather Has Two Mommies', and 'King & King'. Reading these stories creates a positive sense of identification for children in LGBTQ+ families.
2. Facilitating open conversations:
The beauty of reading together is that it becomes a shared experience, providing endless opportunities for meaningful conversations. Upon reading a book about LGBTQ+ families, encourage open-ended questions like 'how do you think this character is feeling?'. Discussing openly about the diverse families and their feelings can help children associate emotions, such as love and happiness, with these families.
3. Encouraging Empathy:
One of the most poignant features of a good book is its ability to immerse us in the lives of others. In the context of LGBTQ+ families, books can serve as powerful tools for teaching empathy. They help children put themselves into the shoes of characters whose families might look different, yet experience the same emotions, daily routines, and love just as they do.
4. Challenging Stereotypes:
Children’s literature often paints a unicentric picture of what a 'normal' family looks like. However, by consciously choosing diverse books, parents and guardians can challenge this narrative. Presenting diverse relationship models like same-sex parents or a transgender sibling can help children understand that families come in all shapes and sizes, and there's no one 'right' kind of family.
5. Building a Supportive Community:
Books that showcase LGBTQ+ families not only provide representation for children from these families, but they are also a fantastic educational tool. Inviting your child's friends for a storytelling session or donating these books to your child's school library can spark conversations and break stereotypes within the larger community.
Reading is more than a pastime; it's a gateway to empathy, understanding, and acceptance. By embracing diverse books that depict LGBTQ+ families and their experiences, parents and guardians can not only help their children see the beauty in differences but also foster a more inclusive future. Ultimately, when we open a book, we open our minds to a world where love transcends all boundaries.

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