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2.4.2: Gender and Sexual Identity [Family Structures]

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    Diversity in the area of gender begins with being aware of the gender pronouns used for leading characters and deliberately choosing books so that characters with a mix of male, female, and non-binary gender pronouns and identities are represented as main characters throughout your storytime sessions. Also consider how gender roles and gender stereotypes may be depicted in a book’s text or illustrations, seeking to be culturally conscious by choosing books that show characters who identify as male, female, and nonbinary enjoying a range of interests, activities, family responsibilities, and careers. These do not have to all be shared within the same storytime session; consider how you will integrate them throughout the year or course of your storytime schedule to promote inclusion.

    The majority of the main characters in storytime books are young children or young animals, so it is developmentally appropriate that they do not express romantic attraction or relationships. However, the sexual identities of older, secondary characters such as parents, siblings, or friends may be depicted in the text or illustrations. These depictions are a way to represent diverse family structures, a topic that children are already aware of through daily life that can be discussed in developmentally appropriate ways while reading stories. By age 3 children notice and talk about others’ physical attributes, including gender, while by age 5 they can understand differences in family structure and begin to talk about how others are different from themselves (Evans-Santiago & Lin, 2016). Books with diverse family structures, as well as discussions you lead around them, provide children with the knowledge and words they can use to discuss difference with openness and respect.

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    2.4.2: Gender and Sexual Identity [Family Structures] is shared under a not declared license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by LibreTexts.