5th-6th grade Finalist in 2019 Children's Choice Book Awards
2019 ALA GLBT Round Table Rainbow Book List
National Parenting Product Award Winner (NAPPA)
Gilbert loved visiting his grandmother's clothing store. He'd sit next to her while she sewed and draw beautiful gowns and costumes. Gilbert dreamed of someday bringing these drawings to life. But one day, his father took away his art supplies and tore up his drawings. Surrounded by building blocks and Erector sets, sports gear and slingshots, Gilbert's colorful, sparkly, glittery personality started to fade, and he, too, became gray and dull and ﬂat, just like the Kansas landscape. "When I grow up," he dreamed, "I'll go somewhere that's ﬁlled with color."
Gilbert Baker always knew he wanted a life full of color and sparkle. In his small, gray, flat Kansas hometown, he helped his grandma sew and created his own art whenever he could. It wasn't easy; life tried over and over again to make Gilbert conform. But his sparkle always shone through. He dreamed of someday going somewhere as vibrant and colorful as he was.
Set against the backdrop of San Francisco during the gay rights movement of the 1970s, Gilbert's story unfolds just like the flag he created: in a riot of color, joy, and pride. Today the flag is everywhere, even in the small town where Gilbert grew up!
Includes a Reader Note that provides more in-depth discussion of the beginnings of the gay rights movement and a more detailed look into Gilbert Baker's place in our shared history.
K-Gr 2--This picture book focuses on notable events in the life of Gilbert Baker, creator of the Rainbow Flag, simplified into a fablelike story about a boy who was "full of color and sparkle and glitter." The colorful illustrations complement the simplicity of the text, contrasting the plain white or gray skies of small town Kansas and military life with full-bleed illustrations of a colorful San Francisco. The text maintains the allegorical distance throughout, referencing a symbol that was "a constant reminder of evil" without naming that symbol (the pink triangle), and reducing the interactions between Harvey Milk and Gilbert Baker to a single statement from "his friend Harvey." The text never uses the word "gay" or explicitly references the LGBTQ community, although that language can be found on the back cover and in the Reader Note. "Colorful, sparkly, and glittery" are instead used euphemistically throughout to stand in for gay or queer. A two-page densely packed "Reader Note" provides additional biographical information and context for many of the scenes in the book, giving much more detail about the San Francisco gay community and Baker's role in it. Rob Sanders's Pride: The Story of Harvey Milk and the Rainbow Flag provides greater historical context. VERDICT An oversimplified but useful text offering background on Gilbert Baker not found in other titles about the history of the Rainbow Flag.--Amanda Foulk, Sacramento Public LibraryCopyright 2019 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.