Rainbow: A First Book of Pride

Illustrated by: Anne Passchier 
Age Range: 3 – 5 years
Grade Level: Preschool – K
Pages: 24, Color
Size: 8″ x 8″
ISBN-10: TBD
ISBN-13: 978-1-4338-3087-7
Publisher: Magination Press (May 2019)
Language: English
 

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Synopsis

A must-have primer for young readers and a great gift for pride events and throughout the year, beautiful colors all together make a rainbow in Rainbow: A First Book of Pride.

This is a sweet ode to rainbow families, and an affirming display of a parent’s love for their child and a child’s love for their parents.

With bright colors and joyful families, this book celebrates LGBTQ+ pride and reveals the colorful meaning behind each rainbow stripe.

Readers will celebrate the life, healing, light, nature, harmony, and spirit that the rainbows in this book will bring.

Awards

Media

Rainbow Families and Colorful Mindfulness

Michael Genhart, Ph.D. for Magination Press, June 12, 2019

Rainbow: A First Book of Pride links rainbows (who doesn’t love seeing a rainbow?!) to the rainbow flag (which we see throughout the world) and to rainbow families. LGBTQ+ families with two moms, two dads, one mom or dad, transgender parents, and parents of color are everywhere!  The flag is a celebration of pride during LGBTQ+ Pride Month especially, but it’s also an invitation to feel proud of who you are and proud of your family all year long. Rainbow is a book for ALL families who stand up for inclusion, equality, and positivity. Children grow up in all kinds of families, and every child should feel free to shout out the pride they feel for her family, regardless of its composition.

Books and children go together. While access to books can vary, it is my hope that we are moving toward increasing accessibility of books for all children. And when children pick up books to read, it is important that they see themselves and their families reflected on the pages. Nothing is more delightful than hearing, “That’s me!” or “That’s my family!” from a child who recognizes herself in a story. Not only does this encourage further reading, but it also allows a child to relate to important messages contained in the storylines. Parents also light up at the sight of seeing their child engaged with a book. Their investment in books only grows when those books serve as mirrors of their own experience as a family.

I decided to write Rainbow because, as a gay dad, there were very few picture books showing LGBTQ+ families when my daughter was young. I wanted to create a book that showed rainbow families going about their lives just like every other family. And Gilbert Baker’s original rainbow flag was turning 40 (1978 – 2018), so it was timely to show kids just what the different colors of the flag mean. I also wanted to join in commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots (1969-2019), which started as a protest and evolved into a celebration of queer pride.

As a child and adult clinical psychologist, I also wrote Rainbow because after 30 years in practice, I continue to hear too many stories of LGBTQ+ individuals experiencing some form of teasing and/or discrimination. We simply need more children’s books depicting LGBTQ+ families in order to help reduce prejudice and increase total acceptance.

While Rainbow may look like a book only for LGBTQ+ families, my intention is for ALL kinds of families to enjoy it. In American schools today, LGBTQ+ families are part of the community. While the reception of these families may be generally warm, unfortunately, this is not always the case – and both children and parents can feel this exclusion. Rainbow is intended to be a helpful and kind way to introduce queer families to ALL parents and schools, particularly those who have not shared in the community together. Many of us live in a very diverse world, and celebrating this diversity is an essential part of our lives. But for those of us who may not live among families who are different from our own, this book is also an opportunity to celebrate LGBTQ+ families as another kind of normal.

Rainbow is my first book for very young children (3+) – though it is my hope that adults to 99+ will also enjoy it! It is written in simple text for little ones, but the bigger message is one of inclusivity – a topic I hope all parents, grandparents, caregivers, and teachers who share this book with the children in their lives will amplify in continuous conversations. Anne Passchier’s illustrations captured the joy of LGBTQ+ parents loving their children and those children loving their parents. I felt honored to work with Anne, and through our editor at Magination Press, Kristine Enderle, we worked together to fine-tune the artwork to highlight each rainbow flag color and showcase queer families in all of their beauty!

After sharing Rainbow with children, I hope that some will see rainbows differently – just like in this book, linking them to the rainbow flag and to rainbow families. In the spirit of bringing more mindfulness into daily practice with our children, maybe some children and parents will even pause and recall what the red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and violet colors of the rainbow flag mean. Red is life, orange is healing, yellow is sunlight, green is nature, blue is harmony, and violet is spirit. Wouldn’t that be a beautiful moment? And in the same vein, maybe the book will encourage the appreciation that the flag itself stands for such beautiful values as inclusion, acceptance, and diversity. I would be beyond tickled if, after reading Rainbow, some children smile a big ol’ smile the next time they meet a rainbow family… feeling at a deeper level that love is love across all families.

Reviews

Did you know the colors in the rainbow pride flag each stand for something? I have to confess to being a less-educated member of the LGBTQ+ community – and the newly-renamed Rainbow Round Table – in that, while I’d always assumed the colors represented something, I didn’t know the actual meanings behind them. So Michael Genhart’s latest picture book, Rainbow: A First Book of Pride, offered something of a surprise for me: Though it may be geared toward children 2-5 years old, this title can even teach clueless adults a thing or two.

Composed of minimalist text – think Todd Parr or Sandra Boynton – paired with simple yet vibrant illustrations, Rainbow offers preschool-age children a first introduction to Pride. Passchier’s illustrations showcase children and caregivers of varying ethnicities and orientations, though ages and gender expressions are fairly one-note as all adults appear young and only two characters present as possibly gender non-conforming. Color meanings – “Red means life. Orange is healing. Yellow is sunlight.” – match up nicely with Passchier’s illustrations – a newborn baby in a hospital, an injured child being bandaged, a beautiful sunrise – making the connection between text and images fairly obvious on each spread.

While this title is intended for a preschool audience, it would have still been a nice touch to include some additional information and historical context as back matter for readers interested in learning more. Instead, Genhart ends with a Todd Parr-esque “note from the author,” which is lovely but not informative. That being said, Rainbow offers a sweet introduction to the rainbow flag and is a welcome addition to Pride reading lists everywhere.

Kate Frick, New York Public Library

“A welcome addition to rainbow bookshelves.”

“In a festive introduction to Pride that doubles as a color primer, Genhart shows readers the meaning behind each hue in the rainbow flag: “Every color means something.” Scenes by Passchier show diverse, smiling figures taking part in everyday activities. Two parents and their child explore a forest brightly colored in shades of green (“Green is nature”), and families visit an outdoor market with blue booths (“Blue is harmony”). Rainbows, Genhart writes, are universally loved: they “make the world smile.” In a final spread, families are seen waving Pride flags and walking together in solidarity (“Be happy. Be love. Be proud”). A joyous tribute to LGBTQ families. Ages 3–5. (May)”

“Toddler-PreS–Clinical psychologist Genhart’s latest book introduces some of the youngest readers to the symbolism behind each stripe of the famous rainbow flag. Confetti endpapers lead to an opening scene with a cluster of flags held aloft. A page turn reveals an exuberant, racially diverse group of kids each holding up a rainbow flag of their own. Subsequent spreads go through the colors one after the other. Each spread also depicts same-sex couples (some interracial) lovingly interacting with their children. The result is a joyful celebration of rainbow families and the way the day-to-day brings out the six meanings of the flag: life, healing, sunlight, nature, harmony, and spirit. Passchier’s colorful cartoon style casts many characters in the same simplistic mold. Still, the scenes shine a noteworthy and positive light on LGBTQIA+ parenting. The illustrations also augment Genhart’s economical text to expand the story, striking a good balance between depicting families in isolated scenes and as part of a larger, not exclusively LGBTQIA+ community. A final page goes further to suggest global pride via several flag-waving individuals in front of cultural landmarks. Though excellent for anytime sharing, the text functions as a wonderful bridge between Stevenson’s Pride Colors, Sanders and Salerno’s Pride, and Pitman and Clifton-Brown’s Sewing the Rainbow —the latter two of which expand on the flag’s origins for older readers. VERDICT A win for LBGTQIA+ families and libraries seeking to diversify their shelves.–Alec Chunn, Eugene Public Library, OR”

Booklist review for Rainbow

“A primer that celebrates LGBTQ+ families by exploring the colorful meaning behind each rainbow stripe.  It describes parental love and also the love a child holds for their parents.  This is a much needed book.”

Rainbow: A First Book of Pride, by Michael Genhard and illustrated by Anne Passchier (Magination Press), which comes out in May, uses essentially the same concept, but in a more literal way. “Rainbows!” it begins, with a page showing waving rainbow flags. “Every color means something.” It continues, “Red means life,” and shows a red-heavy image of two dads happily holding their newborn. “Orange is healing,” says the next spread, showing two parents, one of whom might be genderqueer, helping a child who has fallen off a bike. It continues through all the colors of the rainbow and ends with a spread showing all the families from the book waving rainbow flags and walking together, perhaps in a Pride parade. It’s a less warmly personal book than Stevenson’s, but makes a bright introduction to the colors of Pride and images of LGBTQ families.”

“Imagine if we lived in a world where picture books were more like this one?”

“This reaffirming look at rainbow families emphasizes their love and identity.”

“A vibrant and inclusive book that celebrates the diverse rainbow of families and the love that brings people together.  Told with bold and and spirited illustrations, the rainbow comes to mean so much more than individual colors but represents the pride, power and unity that exist when they all are celebrated together.” 

“A must-have primer for young readers and a great gift for pride events and throughout the year, beautiful colors all together make a rainbow in Rainbow: A First Book of Pride.

This is a sweet ode to rainbow families, and an affirming display of a parent’s love for their child and a child’s love for their parents.

With bright colors and joyful families, this book celebrates LGBTQ+ pride and reveals the colorful meaning behind each rainbow stripe.

Readers will celebrate the life, healing, light, nature, harmony, and spirit that the rainbows in this book will bring.”

Rainbow: A First Book of Pride by Michael Genhart is a must-have for young readers. This is a simple book that displays the families’ love for one another. This is a sweet ode to rainbow families and an affirming display of parents’ love for their child and a child’s love for their parents. They celebrate one another, no matter how different or alike they are. This book celebrates LGBTQ+ pride and simply explains the meaning of each color of the rainbow and why everyone loves rainbows and why they are important. This book has a positive message for all families and their children. This book is a must-have for librarians and educators to help reinforce the acceptance of all family types in society and to show support for a variety of all family types. It is important for all children and their families to be acknowledged and supported. This book has delightfully bright and colorful illustrations and shows a variety of different family types. The family types include families of many different races and sizes. Readers will celebrate joyful families and their lives and the spirit of the rainbow.”

Author and clinical psychologist, Michael Genhart, Ph.D., is back with illustrator, Anne Passchier in Rainbow: A First Book of Pride (Magination Press). Genhart is known for tackling tough or more mature topics in relatable ways through his children’s books. In the past, he has covered topics including the bullying, friendship and learning differences. Rainbow: A First Book of Pride celebrates everything that makes the LGBTQ rainbow flag the important symbol that it is.

Genhart starts Rainbow: A First Book of Pride off by introducing the rainbow flag and noting that every color means something different. His words are accompanied by Passchier’s beautiful artwork. They illustrate a diverse group of children of different ages and cultural backgrounds waving the rainbow flag, visually promoting inclusivity.

Genhart then unpacks the meaning of the different colors on the flag. Starting at the top with the color red and continuing with orange, yellow, green, blue and purple, the author explains how each color is associated with an important aspect of being. These facets include life, healing, sunlight, nature, harmony and spirit. Each color is again accompanied by Passchier’s artwork. Passchier emphasizes the color at hand in their illustrations of different beautifully unique, non-traditional families.

Following the explanations of each of the colors, Genhart reminds us that everyone loves seeing rainbows and that rainbows can be seen around the world. He also emphasizes the importance of love, happiness and being proud. The book ends with a few short words from Genhart diving a little further into the meaning and importance of the rainbow flag.

This book is so important for many reasons and Genhart does an amazing job. Genhart also offers a unique perspective on this particular topic, as he is a respected clinical psychologist and has a “rainbow family” of his own. This book is a great way for children of “rainbow families” to see that love is love and that their unique family is to be celebrated. It is also an important book for children of any and all types of families, as a reminder that these differences exist and should be accepted as part of each individual’s identity. This is a book that all families, schools and bookstores should have on their shelves.

I believe this book is an important step in changing the way that people perceive “normal,” especially when it comes to family life. I did not come from a “rainbow family” myself, but my family was often seen as non-traditional. This break from the norm was something that I was always somewhat self-conscious of as a child. As an adult, I now know that there was nothing to be embarrassed about and that my family shaped me into the person I am today. This book reminds us that all families should be celebrated.   

“A sweet ode to rainbow families, and an affirming display of a parent’s love for their child and a child’s love for their parents. With bright colors and joyful families, this book celebrates LGBTQ+ pride and reveals the colorful meaning behind each rainbow stripe. Readers will celebrate the life, healing, light, nature, harmony, and spirit that the rainbows in this book will bring.”

Michael has written something simple and powerful, and Anne’s illustrations are inclusive of many kinds of LGBTQ families, made up of many colors and types of people. Especially love the two dads kissing as they push their child in a stroller in the final celebratory spread.

This is definitely a picture book I wish had been read to me when I was a little kid!