Love is Love – Educator’s Guide

An Educator’s Guide for Love is Love

Written by Michael Genhart, PhD, Illustrated by Ken Min

A Common Core State Standards–Aligned Activity Guide for Grades Kindergarten, 1, 2 & 3

Note: The activities in this guide align with Common Core State Standards for English language arts for grades kindergarten, 1, 2, and 3 but standards for other grades may also apply. Prepared by We Love Children’s Books

Pre-Reading Questions and Activities

Love Is Love discusses gay families, straight families, and everything in between. Before reading the book, come together as a class and discuss the terms “gay” and “lesbian.” Do students know what these words mean? Do children know any gay or lesbian people in their lives? How do they think they would feel if someone made fun of them?

Discuss these questions with students: What makes a family? What is the most important part of being a family? How are students’ families alike? How are they different?

Discuss the words “include” and “exclude.” What does it mean to be included? What does it mean to be excluded? How does it feel to be included? How does it feel to be excluded? Would students rather be included or excluded? Instruct students to keep these feelings in mind as they read the book.

The rainbow flag is a symbol of LGBTQ pride. The “Note to Kids” section of Love Is Love has a very good explanation of its symbolism. Read this passage to students and discuss how the rainbow flag exemplifies the diverse views and contributions of the LGBTQ community and the people who love and support them. How do students feel about this? Why do students think the rainbow is a good symbol for this community?


As you read the book aloud, have students raise their hands if they hear a word they do not recognize or if a word is used in an unfamiliar way. Write these words on the board. Work with the students to figure out the meaning of the word from context.  Provide real-life connections to this new word by discussing other situations where it could be used.
RL K.4, 3.4
L K.4, K.5, 1.4, 1.5, 2.4, 2.5, 3.4, 3.5

Post-Reading Questions and Activities

Cover Story
Come together as a class to discuss the cover of the book. The illustration is a heart with a rainbow pattern that is made up  of many individual kites. Have students ever heard of a “mosaic”? Discuss how that art form, which takes a series of separate elements and combines them to make one picture, might apply to the ideas about family, community, and love discussed in this book.
RL K.7, 1.7, 2.7, 3.7
SL K.1, 1.1, 2.1, 3.1

Happy Families Are All Alike
The first half of this book tells the story of a child who is being bullied about having
gay/lesbian parents. However, each illustration is of a different child of different
parents who is encountering this problem. The second half of the book shows how families come together and express their support for one another. Identify the characters from the first part of the book that appear in the end of the book. Do they feel different about their lives and their families? What happens to help them feel that way? Are all the families alike in this book? How are they different?
RL K.1, K.3, K.7, 1.1, 1.3, 1.7, 2.1, 2.3, 2.7, 3.1, 3.3, 3.7
SL K.1, 1.1, 2.1, 3.1

Words and Pictures
Begin by discussing as a class the role of the author and the role of the illustrator in creating a book. Then break students into small groups, assigning each a two-page spread for closer examination. Work with students to explore the following questions (based on the “5Ws and 1H”): Where is their scene set? How do the illustrations work with the text to convey the underlying messages of the story? Are they both necessary to tell the story? Have each group present their illustrations and interpretations to the class. Is this book telling one story or many stories?
RL K.1, K.3, K.6, K.7, 1.1, 1.3, 1.7, 2.1, 2.7
SL K.1, K.4, K.5, 1.1, 1.4, 1.5, 2.1, 2.4, 2.5, 3.4, 3.5

Who Is Talking?
Reading the text alone, this book could be one story told by one child. If the reader pays attention to the illustrations as well as the text, however, each page of dialogue is spoken by a different child. Come together as a class and discuss these changes in narration and how that helps communicate the story and its message. How do the similarities and differences between the different narrators convey the main theme of the book, that “love is love”?
RL K.1, K.3, K.7, 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 1.6, 1.7, 2.1, 2.2, 2.6, 2.7, 3.1, 3.2, 3.3, 3.7
SL K.1, 1.1, 2.1, 3.1

Beginning, Middle, End
Read Love Is Love to the class, paying special attention to the structure of the story. Discuss with students how the beginning introduces the story and how the ending concludes the action and illustrates the main theme. Do students feel that any parts of this story can be moved around and have the story still make sense? Or, do the events need to stay in the same order? Has the class recently read a book that has a more linear plotline—one in which events cannot be moved around if the story is to make sense? How are these books the same? How are they different?
RL K.1, K.3, K.7, K.9, 1.1, 1.3, 1.7, 1.9, 2.1, 2.3, 2.5, 2.7, 3.1, 3.3, 3.7
SL K.1, 1.1, 2.1, 3.1

What Makes a Family a Family?
Come together as a class to discuss what makes a family a family. Ask: How are students’ families like other families? How are they different? Have they changed their idea of what a family is now that they have read this book? What have they learned about being a family that they didn’t know before they read and discussed this book?
RL K.1, 1.1, 1.2, 2.1, 2.2, 3.1, 3.2
SL K.1, 1.1, 2.1, 3.1

Hey! We Do That Too!
Break the class into small groups and have them examine the illustrations that show family activities. Have students describe who is in each family and what they are doing together in the illustration. Have students done these same things with their own families? Do students think you have to be a certain kind of family to do the activity, or can any family take part? Why or why not?
RL K.1, K.3, K.7, 1.1, 1.3, 1.7, 2.1, 2.7, 3.1, 3.3, 3.7
SL K.1, 1.1, 2.1, 3.1

Once Upon a Time
Love Is Love shows readers a small piece of the lives of the children in this book. However, even that glimpse shows they are from different places, they do different things for fun (or as chores!), and they have different kinds of families. Have each student select one of the characters shown in this book to be the subject of a creative writing project. Have students use the illustrations and text to answer the following questions: Where does their character and family live? What do they like to do? What did they do before the scene shown in the book? What did they do after? Based on these ideas, have students write or dictate a short story about the character and their family. After students share their story with a partner or an adult, they should make revisions based on that feedback. Have students illustrate the final version with original drawings. Ask for volunteers to share their stories with the class.
W K.3, K.5, 1.3, 1.5, 2.3, 2.5, 3.3, 3.5, 3.10
SL K.5, 1.5, 2.5, 3.5

Peer Support
The kids in this story are sad when they are teased and bullied because of their families. Ask students what they would say to these kids to support them and make them feel better about themselves and their families. As a class, brainstorm a list of suggestions that kids can use to help someone who is being teased and bullied. Sometimes it is very hard to stand up for someone who is being bullied. If you saw or heard someone being bullied, would you be brave enough to step in and help them? Why or why not? What impact would it have to say or do something? What impact would it have to say or do nothing?
SL K.1, 1.1, 2.1, 3.1

Put Yourself in Someone Else’s Shoes
Are students familiar with the phrase “Put yourself in someone else’s shoes”? What do they think it means? Discuss the concept of empathy with students. Why is it important to understand the way someone else is feeling? Go through the book as a class and have students use visual and textual clues to identify the emotions of the characters. How does the book tell the reader what a character is feeling? What events in the story make each character feel that way? Now, ask students to “put themselves in someone else’s shoes” by pretending they are the characters in the book. If they were in the same situation, would students feel the same emotions? Why or why not?
RL K.1, K.3, K.7, 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 1.4, 1.7, 2.1, 2.2, 2.3, 2.7, 3.1, 3.2, 3.3, 3.7
SL K.1, 1.1, 2.1, 3.1

The Kite
Kites are a repeating image in Love Is Love. As a class, discuss what they symbolize in the book and how they help tell the story. When the red kite gets stuck in a tree, the boy and his dads free it, and the reader sees that it has a rainbow heart on it with the words “Be Love.” This message is important to the boy and his dads, and to the reader. Have students share something about their families that makes them proud. Then, give each student a diamond-shaped piece of construction paper and have them create a kite that has a meaningful image and a few sentences describing what makes their family special. Use these kites to create a display for Pride Month that re-creates the last two pages of the book and reminds others: “Love is the same. Wherever you live. Whoever you are. And whomever you love. Love is love!”
RL K.1, K.7, 1.1, 2.1, 2.7, 3.1, 3.7
SL K.1, K.5, 1.1, 1.5, 2.1, 2.5, 3.1, 3.5

LGBTQ Pride Month
Pride Month is observed in many communities in June to celebrate the LGBTQ community and the contributions and influence it has had on the world. It is marked with memorials, and parades, as well as parties, celebrations, and demonstrations. Every community observes it differently. Working with an adult, have students research how Pride Month is celebrated in their area. Why is it called Pride Month? What is the importance of these events? Why is it important to celebrate this month? How do students feel about these celebrations? Have they ever taken part in Pride Month? What are ways students and their families can participate?
W K.7, K.8, 1.7, 1.8, 2.7, 2.8, 3.7
SL K.1, 1.1, 2.1, 3.1

Events for Pride Month: Show Your Support
Plan to celebrate Pride Month at your school. This could take many forms. Students could make T-shirts that copy an illustration from Love Is Love and all wear them on the same day. They could decorate the classroom with a rainbow pattern. They could invite their families to a special reading of Love Is Love. What other ideas can students come up with to show that they support everyone in their community, and not just the ones who are like themselves?
SL K.1, 1.1, 2.1, 3.1

Be sure to review the additional notes and resources included in the back of the book. Dr. Michael Genhart has included some great information. There is a “Note to Kids” section and a page of advice for parents and teachers, as well as questions to inspire discussion and a list of organizations to provide additional guidance and support.