I was recently at Third Place Books buying a gift. I usually avoid bookstores and the children's section specifically because I could spend all my time, and all our disposable income there. If you've ever seen our house, you know how little Moira needs more books. (maybe people don't know that, since that is 90% of what people give her, which is fine, because she loves books and we do tend to read them all) But I was there, and I was spending money anyway, and I fell in love with a book, so I brought it home for her (me).
The Great Big Book of Families by Mary Hoffman. Inside there are pictures of all kinds of configurations of families, single parents, grandparents, gay couples. The illustrations show multi-cultural and multi-generational families all throughout the book. After covering the basic, it goes on to explore the different choices, and sometimes lack of choices, that families make with jobs, school, showing feelings, hobbies, getting along, etc. No judgements are cast on anyone's choices, be they homeschooling or going to school, eating home grown foods or fast food. People of both genders are shown taking care of all aspects of family life from work, to childcare, and no one is made to seem incompetent. There are boys and girls in dresses and playing rough and tumble games. The only thing it could have included to make it more diverse is transgendered people, but I can understand that that topic hasn't successfully filtered into children's literature (Amazon has a list of books for and about transgendered children. This one looks particularly cool
This book is helpful for us right now. Moira and I have been having a lot of conversations about boys and girls lately. She started trying to lock Walker downstairs, saying she didn't want boys in the house. She routinely tells me she hates one of our little male friends; she seems to remember every bad thing any boy she doesn't know well as done by him. She informed me while we were playing hospital that Doctors are boys and Nurses are girls. I pointed out that our doctor is a woman, and a friend we went to the beach with last year is a man and a nurse. She refused to let me pretend to be seen by a female doctor, so I refused to keep playing. We were at Costco buying her a bathrobe to wear to swim class and after a conversation about how all clothes were for all people and she could chose from either side of their sex segregated bathrobe display, the lady putting our purchases back in the cart looked at her blue fish covered bathrobe and exclaimed, "Isn't this one for boys!?" I told her that we loved fish and blue and it was for us, and we walked away. Fortunately, Moira had picked that bathrobe partly because my friend's teenage daughter loves blue and Moira idolizes her, so as we walked out we talked about how SILLY that lady was, and what M would have said, and how much M loves fish (a seriously huge amount), and Moira has not rejected the bathrobe.
She is clinging to a lot of the gender stereotypical stuff right now, and I want to support her desire for pink things, and to be a ballerina/bride/princess/queen, and to be fancy. But I want her to know that 1)she doesn't have to like those things, and 2)boys can like those things too. And that she can like pink and trains. Or fish, for heavens sake.