Each week while most students are out of school due to COVID-19, HRC Foundation's Welcoming Schools will offer a book and a related activity adapted from our teacher lesson plans to use with children at home.
Each week while most students are out of school due to COVID-19, HRC Foundation's Welcoming Schools will offer a book and a related activity adapted from our teacher lesson plans for parents to use with children at home. Our featured books will focus on Welcoming Schools themes: embracing all families, being an ally and respecting differences inclusive of LGBTQ identities. Don’t have the book? Don’t worry! We will provide a link to online readings to each book.
Week 13: Meet Some of the Most Famous, or at Least the Most Adorable, Dads
In honor of Father’s Day, check out And Tango Makes Three with your kids. Meet Roy and Silo, two penguins in love who lived at the Central Park Zoo. They liked to do everything together. They even built a nest together, but they could not lay an egg. With the help of a kindly zookeeper, Roy and Silo got the chance to welcome a baby penguin of their very own and Tango became the first penguin chick at the zoo to have two daddies.
Book: And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnel
Ideas for discussions with your kids after watching the video(s) together:
Activity: Fun Facts, Penguin Crafts and Cute Videos
For more great picture books and short chapter books with LGBTQ characters, check out Welcoming Schools listings of recommended books at Great Diverse LGBTQ Inclusive Picture and Middle Grade Books and Great Diverse Children's Books with Transgender, Non-Binary and Gender Expansive Children.
Week 12: Bayard Rustin: A Black, Gay Leader in the Civil Rights Movement
As Pride Month begins, take a look at Bayard Rustin, the main organizer of the March on Washington. Rustin’s Quaker background was influential in the strategies of Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Civil Rights Movement.
Black, gay activism in civil rights continues today. DeRay Mckesson has been a leader in the Black Lives Matter movement since Ferguson and he cofounded Campaign Zero. In a recent interview with PBS, Mckesson was asked, “What would you say to a young kid today that’s looking to get involved in activism?” His response, “So many things. Find an issue that you care about and learn it well. The second is know that you have more power than anybody will ever try to tell you.”
Ideas for discussions with your kids after watching the video(s) together:
Activity: What Can You Do?
For some great picture books and short chapter books, take a look at the Welcoming Schools Great Books on LGBTQ History for Kids.
Week 11: Why is June Pride Month?
Video: How the Stonewall Riots Sparked a Movement - Riots by History.com
In response to police brutality against Black people and pervasive racism in the United States, protests are happening across the country. As we begin Pride month, it is important to remember that protests also helped create the foundation of the LGBTQ rights movement. One important milestone happened 51 years ago, when LGBTQ patrons at the Stonewall Inn in New York City in June 1969 stood up and stood together to stop the police brutality that they had endured for far too long. Starting the following year through today, LGBTQ people have been holding marches to commemorate these uprisings and their role in the early modern LGBTQ rights movement.
Ideas for discussions with your kids after watching the video together:
Activity: Learn About Pride and LGBTQ History with Your Kids
Take a look at some other videos about LGBTQ history together with your kids.
For some great picture books and short chapter books, take a look at the Welcoming Schools Great Books on LGBTQ History for Kids. For more resources, check out these Welcoming Schools lesson plans, Transgender and Gender Non-Conforming Women of Color: The Stonewall Inn and the Modern LGBTQ Movement or A Look at LGBTQ History and Prominent LGBTQ People.
Week 10: Will Mo’s Zombie Parents Accept Him? Be Who You Are
Mo Romero, a zombie, loves nothing more than growing and eating vegetables. The problem? His parents insist that their niño eat only zombie cuisine, like arm-panadas and finger foods. Mo can't imagine a lifetime of just eating zombie food. He even begins to question his own zombie identity. One of the New York Public Library's Top 10 Books in Spanish for Kids
During or after the reading, you could ask your children these questions / prompts:
Activity: Make Zombie Food Together
For more books about accepting who you are check out the Welcoming Schools Be Who You Are Booklist.
Week 9: Pride and Hope: Harvey Milk and the Rainbow Flag
This week we are celebrating the life of Harvey Milk by featuring a book and video that bring his story to life for young audiences. Our featured book is “Pride: The Story of Harvey Milk and the Rainbow Flag,” a Junior Library Guild selection. In this true story, learn about the renowned social activist Harvey Milk and trace the life of the rainbow flag, also known as the LGBTQ Pride flag, from its beginning in 1978 when it was designed by Gilbert Baker, to its role around the world.
Video: BrainPOP Harvey Milk - A short educational video designed for kids about Harvey Milk
During or after the reading, you could ask your children these questions/prompts:
Activity: Design Your Own Flag
Click here for a Welcoming Schools booklist with both picture books and middle grade books about LGBTQ history. Click here for a lesson plan using "Pride: The Story of Harvey Milk and the Rainbow Flag."
Week 8: The Adventures of a Non-Binary Guinea Pig
New Book Release: Peanut Goes for the Gold by Jonathan Van Ness, illustrated by Gillian Reid
Video: Peanut Goes for the Gold read by Jonathan Van Ness
Peanut, a non-binary guinea pig does everything with their own personal flare. So when Peanut decides to be a rhythmic gymnast, they come up with a routine that they know is absolutely perfect, because it is absolutely, one hundred percent Peanut.
Either during the reading or after, you could ask your children these questions:
Activity: Make Up Your Own Routine
For more children’s books with gender expansive, non-binary or trans characters, check out Welcoming Schools listing with both picture and middle grade books. Click here for more definitions to help explain LGBTQ words to kids.
Week 7: Draw a Chinese Dragon in Honor of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month
Book: The Seven Chinese Sisters written by Kathy Tucker and illustrated by Grace Lin
Each of the seven Chinese sisters had a special talent. When baby Seventh Sister is snatched by a hungry dragon, her loving sisters race to save her.
Pause on different pages to ask your child:
Activity: Draw a Chinese Dragon (or Tiger or Rabbit)
Week 6: Be Brave, Be Quick, Have Fun, Be a Pirate!
March 2020 New Book Release: How to Be a Pirate written by Isaac Fitzgerald
Video: How to Be a Pirate read by actor, director and author LeVar Burton
CeCe dreams of being a pirate. When the neighborhood boys tell her that she can’t, she wonders where to begin. Luckily, she suspects her grandpa must know something about being a pirate--why else would he have all those tattoos? CeCe discovers that there are all kinds of ways to be a pirate, and yes, she too can be a pirate.
Pause on different pages to ask your child:
*The video continues with LeVar Burton reading a book he wrote called The Rhino Who Swallowed a Storm written to comfort kids who may have encountered and have fears of natural disasters.
Activity: Make Your Own Pirate Hat and Be a Pirate!
Week 5: Finding Friendship, Adventure, Responsibility and Love
Book: Promised Land by Adam Reynolds and Chaz Harris
Video: Promised Land Read Aloud
When a young prince and a farm boy meet in the forest, a growing friendship between them blossoms into love.
However, things get complicated when the queen’s sinister new husband seeks control over the enchanted forest that the farm boy’s family are responsible for protecting.
Find more adventure and love as the series continues with Maiden Voyage and Raven Wild.
Activity: Imagine and Create Your Own Fairy Tale
Collaborate with your child to create your own fairy tale. Write it, draw it or act it out with dolls or stuffed animals. Older kids can make a short video and share with siblings, family members or their teachers. Prompts for imagining a fairy tale:
Week 4: Yes, You Are Perfectly Designed
Book: I Am Perfectly Designed by Karamo Brown with Jason Rachel Brown
I Am Perfectly Designed is an exuberant celebration of loving who you are. In this empowering ode to modern families, a boy and his father take a joyful walk through the city, discovering all the ways that they are perfectly designed for each other. Pause on different pages to talk with your child about what they are seeing:
Activity: Self-Portrait of You and a Family Member
Find more children’s books that celebrate all kinds of families at Welcoming Schools.
Week 3: Shine Your Light on Everybody with Lupita Nyong’o
Book: Sulwe by Lupita Nyong’o
Book Reading Video
While adults and kids alike may know Lupita Nyong’o from her role in hit films such as “12 Years a Slave,” and The Black Panther,” she is also a talented author. Sulwe has skin the color of midnight. She is darker than everyone in her family. She is darker than anyone in her school. Sulwe just wants to be beautiful and bright, like her mother and sister. Then a magical journey in the night sky opens her eyes and changes everything.
In this The New York Times-bestselling picture book, Nyong’o creates a whimsical and heartwarming story to inspire children to see their own unique beauty. By the end of the book, Sulwe wants to shine her light on everybody. Pause on different pages to talk with your child about what they are seeing:
Activity: Dance or Sing Along with Sulwe
To find more children’s books that celebrate who you are and talk about bias and bullying like Sulwe experienced, check out this Welcoming Schools book list on Looking at Skin Color with Books and Activities.
Week 2: Join Us As We Celebrate National Poetry Month!
This week, HRC Foundation’s Welcoming Schools program is excited to celebrate National Poetry Month. Founded in 1996 by the Academy of American Poets, National Poetry Month is the largest literary celebration in the world with schools, poets and communities coming together to celebrate poetry’s essential place in our lives.
Poetry offers people the ability to express how they feel, who they are and what they aspire to be. As acclaimed LGBTQ poet and advocate Audre Lorde wrote, “My poetry comes from the intersection of me and my world."
We’re excited to feature some of our favorite poems and artwork created by third graders using the Welcoming Schools “Social Justice Acrostic Poem” lesson plan.
Malala by NC
Maker of schools
Awesome at speaking to millions of people
Lover of education
Amazing at school
Lots of education
And that is the end of the poem MALALA
Activity: Make Your Own Acrostic Poem and Artwork!
An acrostic poem is a poem where certain letters in each line spell out a word or phrase. In this activity, we’ll be using the first letter of each line.
And remember -- a poem is just words that you put together to show how you feel, or create something fun and new with your imagination. It doesn’t have to be any particular form or way.
Book: The Family Book by Todd Parr
The Family Book celebrates the many different ways to be a family. Whether you have two moms or two dads, a big family or a small family, a clean family or a messy one, Parr assures kids that no matter what kind of family you have, every family is special in its own unique way. For those who don’t have the book at home, not to worry -- you can use this video of Parr reading the book aloud. We encourage you to interact with your children as you read together. Pause on different pages to talk with your child about what they are seeing.
Activity: Draw Your Family Todd Parr Style
HRC Foundation's Welcoming Schools is the nation's premier professional development program providing training and resources such as book lists and lesson plans to elementary school educators to embrace all families, create LGBTQ and gender-inclusive schools, prevent bias-based bullying, and support transgender and non-binary students.