Friday, July 19, 2024

Victoria activist and award-winning author releases heartwarming LGBTQ+ kids book

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Exciting news for fellow Pride attendees as well as those looking to learn more!

Celebrating love in all forms, Victoria-based activist and award-winning author Robin Stevenson has released a board book version of her starred-reviewed book, Pride Puppy!

It’s a rhyming alphabet book that tells a lively and amusing story of a young child and their family as they search for their lost dog at a Pride parade. 

This affirming and inclusive book offers a joyful glimpse into the vibrancy of Pride and the community that celebrates it each year. 

“I had done a book called Pride Colors that followed the colours of the Pride flag, and I wanted to do something similar,” Stevenson said.

“It took quite a while to come up with the idea, because I wanted it to be both a fun rhyming alphabet book and to tell a story.”

She shared that Victoria’s Big Gay Dog Walk is actually a huge source of inspiration for Pride Puppy! And she was so excited to bring that to life with the help of a talented illustrator, Julie McLaughlin.

Stevenson praised McLaughlin for her spot-on depictions of her vision and breathing such life and joy into the story.

“The illustrations capture such a beautiful glimpse of the community out celebrating Pride and the diversity there.”

Which is one of Stevenson’s favourite aspects of Pride, who’s been going to celebrations for over 30 years with family and friends—all there to continue representing the need for equal rights and cheer on all forms of love together.

When asked why writing about human rights is important to Stevenson, she highlighted the importance of using writing as a way to make change and talk about things that are important to her and others.

“Lots of families have said how important it’s been for them to see families that look like their family in the book and to see parents that look like their parents,” she said.

“So, I know that that really matters…[Pride Puppy!] has played a role in helping people learn and helping kids see the world around them—both to see families like their family and to see people that are different from them.”

Stevenson mentioned that her work has been challenged several times over the years by book banning groups, but that doesn’t deter her from bringing attention to issues of human rights and developing stories to address them. 

“When I was a kid, I went to school during the 70s and 80s, and we didn’t have [LGBTQ+] representation at all.”

“We’re seeing more and more diversity in books and I think that’s such a wonderful thing. I hope it continues to grow.”

Although it’s frustrating, she wanted to underline the overwhelming amount of support for diverse books that are there to counter these challengers. 

Many people—primarily spearheaded by librarians and other literary leaders—join hands and fight to keep the books on the shelves and remain accessible for youth. 

Stevenson said that at the end of the day, progress is being made and that’s something to celebrate. 

(Queer History A to Z by Robin Stevenson / Instagram)

Stevenson is an award-winning author of more than thirty books of fiction and non-fiction for kids and teens—including the Silver Birch Award, the Sheila A. Egoff Children’s Literature Prize, a Stonewall Honor, the Lieutenant Governor’s Award for Literary Excellence and more.

She has penned books on queer history and community, abortion and reproductive rights, and on young activists, among others.

Now on the move, she is currently on a country-wide tour to give panel discussions on censorship and tour libraries. She’s hoping to get something together for Victoria, so stay tuned!

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