“Pride: The Story of Harvey Milk and the Rainbow Flag” by Rob Sanders and illustrated by Steven Salerno— Teaching Acceptance

Sanders, Rob.  “Pride: The Story of Harvey Milk and the Rainbow Flag”, illustrated by Steven Salerno. Random House, 2018.

Teaching Acceptance

Amos Lassen

“Pride” opens with a quote from Harvey Milk about hope— the connecting theme of this uplifting introduction to the symbol of the Rainbow Flag. The text starts with Milk’s decision to enter politics and Gilbert Baker’s design of the first flag and connects that to the flag’s modern appearances as a symbol of equality and pride and the use of it on June 26, 2015 across the White House. The illustrations are vibrant and lively and take their inspiration from 1970s fashions and styles while emphasizing the effectiveness of symbols. The narrative includes references to opposition to Milk’s dream of equality and the assassination of Milk and George Moscone but as I mentioned earlier, it is really about hope. We see an illustration of the candlelight vigil and the persistence of the rainbow flag as an icon. In the biographical notes we get more information about the flag, Milk, Baker, and the significance of the June 16, 2014 rainbow lights across the White House. The back matter also includes two time lines, a few suggested books and websites, and assorted photographs related to the story.

The publisher recommends the book for Kindergarten through Grade 3, but it can be a fine teaching tool for kids of all ages.

“Pride” focuses on how one person’s dream of improving the world can become reality. The book’s language is simple, succinct and direct, a welcome change from the recent trend of wordy picture books.

“Harvey dreamed that everyone—even gay people—would have equality.

He dreamed that he and his friends would be treated like everyone else.

He dreamed that one day, people would be able to live and love as they pleased.”

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