The Big Book of Pride Flags review

The Big Book of Pride Flags, by nobody??? and illustrated by Jem Milton
48 pages
publishes June 21st, 2022

Celebrate and learn about the LGBTQIA+ community with this colourful book of Pride flags!

Featuring all the colours of the rainbow, this book teaches children about LGBTQIA+ identities through 17 different Pride flags. With fun facts, simple explanations and a short history of each flag accompanying beautiful illustrations, children will uncover the history of Pride and be introduced to different genders and sexual orientations. There’s also a blank Pride flag design at the back of the book so that children can create their very own Pride flag!

With a Reading Guide that provides a detailed History of the Pride Flag and questions for further discussion, this inspiring book is a must-have for every child’s bookshelf, library or classroom.

This is a book all about pride flags, written for kids. The illustrations are friendly and quite lovely, and include a diverse range of people. The information in the book is easy to understand, but glosses over the unpleasant and divisive parts of LGBTQIA+ history; why did we need our own flags? What exactly was happening in the 80s that Harvey Milk asked Gilbert Baker to make a flag? I understand that this book is for children, but I’d like at least a nod to the unpleasant parts of our history. Also, this book went into production presumably about a year ago, but it doesn’t use the most recent version of the progress pride flag, which includes the intersex flag. The end of the book includes text about the history (but none of the unpleasant history) of the Pride Flag, including the Progress Pride Flag and reads “The most recent iteration of the Progress Pride Flag also includes the Intersex Pride Flag, further widening its inclusivity”. There is an illustration of this flag ONLY here, but it does not include the purple circle on the yellow part of the flag. However, I was very pleasantly surprised to see the intersex flag featured at all! There is an error(?) on the genderfluid flag page where the person on the page is wearing a genderqueer flag, not the genderfluid flag. There is another error on the Modern Pride Flag page where it describes adding the black and brown stripes to represent queer people of color, but the page only shows the first rainbow flag. A third error is where an intersex person wearing the intersex flag as a t-shirt holds a gray cat, and there is movement from their hand petting the cat, but the way the movement is drawn, it looks like it breaks up the circle on the intersex flag. Additionally, the book chooses not to credit some flags with their original creators, presumably due to the ‘problematic’ views of some creators, which I disagree with. The pansexual flag, for example, is not credited to anyone, but we know that it was originally created by Jasper V. The book also characterizes a nonbinary person as “someone who might experience their gender as neither exclusively female or male, or who is in between or beyond both genders”, which is correct, but leaves out agender people (people without gender), and misses the main point of being nonbinary; a person who experiences their gender as being outside the standard binary of male vs. female. Also, why does the Transgender flag description explicitly describe Monica Helms as a transgender woman, where it did not call out any of of the other identities of creators? I agree, we should definitely uplift trans women’s voices, but if we’re going to do that, we should explain why we are doing that. Another criticism I have is that this book shows all the ways that Pride flags are commercialized into various products, with no hint of irony. All in all, I found this book to be a very friendly and diverse introduction to rainbow capitalism that ignores most of our history and issues as people. Perhaps some of the problem is that apparently this book wasn’t written ‘by’ anyone, it’s just published by Jessica Kingsley Publishers and illustrated by Jem Milton, so I guess the book was just written by a team of Content Creators who will go uncredited. Two stars, although the illustrations alone are five stars.

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