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Corporate Support for Social Issues Is All the Rage, Except When the Topic Is Abortion Rights

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Corporate Support for Social Issues Is All the Rage, Except When the Topic Is Abortion Rights

The past several years have seen a dramatic increase in the amount of positive, inclusive marketing efforts centered on the female body and womanhood in general. The overarching idea is that the body is a source of pride to the autonomouswoman who possesses it. The national chain where I get waxed encourages its freshly depilated clientele to strut confidently into the world. The online boutique where I buy bras bills its extensive size range as part of a bold inclusivity crusade to outfit “every body.”The national chain where I get waxed encourages freshly depilated clientele to strut confidently into the world. The online boutique where I buy bras bills its extensive size range as part of a bold inclusivity crusade to outfit “every body.” “Power in motherhood” proclaims a popular spin studio, while the website of the industry’s biggest shapewear brand cheekily announces its corporate “HERstory” in bright red letters. International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month have become occasions for businesses, from beauty concerns to less-obviously-female-focused banking, to uncontroversially and unspecifically bill themselves as on the side of women’s empowerment, bodily and otherwise.

For all these vague statements of sisterhood, every single one of these, and most other, brands have remained deafeningly silent on the most fundamental issue facing women now: the rollback of reproductive rights crystallized by the leaked Supreme Court brief signaling the imminent reversal of landmark 1973 decision Roe v Wade.

In this supposed age of “woke capitalism” and milquetoast you-go-girl empowerment, why have so few companies spoken out on abortion rights that have been encoded into law for half a century? And, given corporations are, despite their rosy rebranding as “communities” or even “families,” amoral, profit-seeking entities, should we even expect that they take a principled stance on abortion rights, and be outraged at its absence?

First, it’s worth noting how halting the recognition of women as consumers, much less full citizens, has been. For much of American history, advertising that targeted women sold products considered almost exclusively feminine: think care of body, home, and family. Once more women worked outside the home, and then gained access to credit, they were marketed edgier items in a way that recognized, and even celebrated, this newfound independence: a lady could smoke cigarettes marketed with the slogan “you’ve come a long way, baby” after going for a jog in her “Liberator” sneakers. But these congratulatory advertisements rarely did much to disrupt the assumption that an ideal woman invested her money and energy in being slender, fashionable, and self-disciplined.  

But as ideas about women evolved, so have ideas about effective advertising. The social revolutions of the 1960s often explicitly critiqued capitalism, but American business deftly morphed to market a version of hipness and counterculturalism compatible with both this irreverent sensibility and market imperatives. This “conquest of cool,” as historian Thomas Frank styles it, explains why instead  of categorically avoiding controversy, major corporations increasingly calculate that taking stances on hot-button issues can be worth the reputational risk—and even insulate them from it. In a moment when “silence is violence” is a catchphrase, speaking out on racism, gun control, and LGBTQ rights has become more common: when Nike signed Colin Kaepernick despite (or because) his taking a knee during the national anthem, some conservatives burned their apparel, but others sported swooshes ever more proudly. After the murder of George Floyd, corporations from Peloton to McDonalds clamored to showcase their solidarity in the fight against systemic racism. Each school shooting garners similar statements, often explicitly indicting those who stay silent or, worse, offer only “thoughts and prayers.” We are two weeks out from Pride Month, and if recent years are any indication, financial institutions and grocery stores alike will be dutifully wrapping themselves in rainbow flags.

And yet the line seems drawn at abortion rights. I spoke with an executive at a major media company that often takes progressive public stances; she enthusiastically came aboard precisely for this outspokenness, and is proud of her employer’s record, and of her own role in it. But when months ago, she floated a proposal to craft messaging strategy around the likely overturn of Roe, her superiors told her to slow down. In stark contrast to the aftermath of George Floyd’s murder, or more recently, the Don’t Say Gay bill, when her team was immediately authorized to spring into action to partner with activists and nonprofits, she was told “further research was needed” in the case of reproductive rights. Conversations about an action plan have restarted since the Roe news, but she was frustrated at how “we absolutely do the right things on these other issues, but when what is considered a ‘traditional women’s issue’ is at stake, there’s just that much more pause.” 

 This silence on abortion can feel like a gut-punch, but those who have been paying attention are disappointed but unsurprised at the narrow definition of which “women’s issues” are perceived by brands as worth courting controversy. A decade of “girlboss” inspo—and the expansive critique that followed—has made crystal clear the hollowness of corporate feminism, in both outward messaging and internal practice. The examples touch almost every issue affecting women. Nike touted its commitment to women athletes of all sizes, but it turned out was enabling the eating disorder of one of its athletes. So too did it celebrate active motherhood—while cutting the pay of pregnant runners who took time off from competition. Rent the Runway touted its commitment to fair labor practices and female leadership—and was accused of exploiting its workforce comprised mostly of immigrant women. When a Levi’s executive who began tweeting about the impact of school closures on children and mothers, her employer pushed back so strenuously she ultimately resigned. (Levi’s has taken a stand on the Roe decision, but the resistance to one of its top women executives addressing an issue affecting millions of women and children speaks to the limitations of this advocacy.) And across the board, women remain underpaid relative to men and underrepresented in C-suite positions. To the exec I spoke with, changing that representation is at least part of the solution to the situation that enabled this silence on abortion rights. “I know, in part, that we acted so bravely on LGBTQ issues because for my boss [a gay man], it was personal.” What if we had more women in positions of power to make their  “personal” issues a priority?

I should say that some companies are taking stronger action to ensure abortion access for their own employees, and to a lesser extent, to fight for reproductive rights more broadly. But these moves aren’t nearly energetic enough, especially given the standard that now exists around companies speaking out on fraught political issues. During the Black Lives Matter protests in summer 2020, a common criticism was that brands were “only posting a black square” on social media but doing little else to combat structural racism. Peloton emerged as a positive exception, committing to company-wide policy changes including changing hiring practices, raising wages, and donating to the NAACP, in addition to featuring Black instructors more prominently on the platform. On reproductive rights, however, Peloton’s official account—and unofficially, many of the instructors—have been silent. It would feel like progress to be able to call out companies for not fully living up to their professed commitment to women’s reproductive rights, but we are not even there yet.

Indeed, one of the of the nation’s largest public relations firms advised its clients to “stay silent” on abortion rights, for it was a “no-win” issue. I’m no PR expert, just one frustrated feminist-scholar-consumer, but I can only surmise about this logic: is the idea that abortion rights appears to a coveted, cool, young consumer as an issue of their mother’s generation—and is thus unlikely to fire them up—yet is still sufficiently controversial to alienate others, so not worth taking on? Well, it should be said that the maintenance—not even expansion!—of abortion rights has the support of a majority of Americans, and even more so—67 percent—of voters under 45. Anecdotally, the crowds of high school and college students at #BansOffOurBodies protests in the last several days suggest that young people are impassioned by this issue and would support companies who articulate commitments to women’s reproductive rights as loudly as they do to other issues perceived as less inflammatory—or worth taking heat for. 

Policy that protects abortion rights is worth fighting for, and yes, we should absolutely pressure corporations to step up the solidarity. Brand messaging on race, sexuality, age, ability, and so forth is of course often cynical and self-serving, but even in an amoral capitalistic system, representation matters and can move the needle in meaningful ways. Companies have a choice not to parrot the most cautious, focus-group-tested version of their consumers’ mindset, and instead to move the culture forward—if they are brave enough to try. “It’s our job to educate,” the media executive told me with measured optimism, confiding she is glad to see “people are starting to shake in their boots” about how the Roe decision might set a precedent to roll back Brown v. Board of Education or Obergefell v. Hodges, since the specter of that slippery slope might be the only thing, for now, that spurs companies cowardly about questioning patriarchy to utter more than the usual statements of shallow sorority.

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Mike Lupica: The wait ‘til next year Knicks skip any chance of new beginnings on draft night

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Mike Lupica: The wait ‘til next year Knicks skip any chance of new beginnings on draft night

Here’s something that did not change at the NBA Draft, which is supposed to be a night of new possibilities and new beginnings, just never around here:

The Knicks did not change.

The Knicks didn’t change, nor did their possibilities such as they are, at least before they make their run at Jalen Brunson, who apparently is the second coming of Clyde Frazier. There was no new beginning in Brooklyn. There was just the Knicks once again acting like the lumps of their league. We occasionally hear that the only way to build something that truly lasts in the modern NBA is through the draft. Except now, basically, the Knicks don’t even draft.

So what really did not change was that in the history of New York sports and New York fans, there has never been anything worse than being a fan of the Knicks of the 21st century. At least the Knicks can win that.

The Jets at least went to two AFC championships in the last two decades, before anybody in green wants to raise a hand, or ask somebody to hold their beer. The Nets, when they were still in Jersey, went to two NBA Finals in this century. The Knicks have won one playoff series since 2000. One. They have had losing seasons in 17 out of the last 21.

Even when there seemed to be hope under Tom Thibodeau — before you wondered if Thibodeau will even last here past this season — and the Knicks got to 41-31 and the fourth seed in the Eastern Conference, they couldn’t get out of the first round. When they did get back to the playoffs, they got exactly one game off Trae Young and the Hawks.

Now they are clearing cap space again, for Brunson or maybe even Kyrie Irving, who seems to think that after his un-vaccinated triumph with the Nets that teams are suddenly lining up to have him come play for him. Kevin Durant must continue to be so darn proud he picked Dr. Irving as a wingman. If the Knicks go for him, we will see how desperate they really are.

You needed to be your own capologist after what the Knicks boss, and invisible man, Leon Rose, did during the draft, turning one pick into three down the road while clearing the aforementioned cap space. Rose did this while talented kids were finding new homes all over the NBA map. Of course, they couldn’t move up to take Jaden Ivey of Purdue before he went to the Pistons. Kids like Ivey always go somewhere else.

You know how this has gone for the Knicks in the draft, not counting the ones run by Phil (The Thrill) Jackson, whose management skills reminded everybody of a blindfolded kid swinging at a pinata on his birthday. Again: They never get the guy they want. Or need. Phil looked as if he might have found somebody in Kristaps Porzingis. You know how that worked out. The Knicks were, famously, one pick away from Steph Curry. Even when they had the No. 3 pick and took RJ Barrett, the No. 2 pick on that draft night was Ja Morant, one of the most exciting players to come into the league since, well, Curry.

So their new plan is stockpiling first-round picks down the road. And their new plan apparently involves Brunson, a nice player who was the second-best player on a Mavericks team that went to the Western Conference finals. That sounds very impressive, until you remember that the best player on that team is Luka Doncic, who is one of the best players on the planet.

The Knicks, and that means Rose, who is seen around here as often as Punxsutawney Phil on Groundhog Day — in the Groundhog Day production that actually is the New York Knicks — better not make Brunson out to be more than he is as a basketball player if they do get him, make him out to be some kind of savior, because the landscape of New York sports is littered with guys being sold to fans as being more than they are.

But Rose is a former agent. Selling is what they do. He sold himself to James L. Dolan. Rose will try to sell his program, and soon, to Brunson or Kyrie. He will try to see one of them to his long-suffering fan base, trapped in one of the worst relationships in all of professional sports.

The Knicks thought that they could hire a former agent to run the team the way Warriors once hired Bob Myers, who has become one of the great front-office men of all time. At least Myers played the game once.

You know who Leon Rose’s big acquisition has been so far for the Knicks? William (World Wide Wes) Wesley. Another guy whose relationships were going to put the Knicks over the top, the way Steve Mills’ relationships were going to do that once. How’s that working out for the Knicks so far? All this time later, no one is even sure what Wesley does except have his picture taken.

So the long season of pain for Knicks fans continues. Some of the hard-core Knick fans actually get angry with you if you criticize management, and its blueprint of the moment. They cling to the belief that Rose actually has a vision for the Knicks going forward, other than the familiar and predictable plan for all who came before them in Dolan’s front office, the ones whose real plan, and real end game, was remaining part of the permanent government at Madison Square Garden.

It has been 23 years since the Knicks last played in the NBA Finals, one of the four times that has happened in the three-quarters of a century that the Knicks have been in existence. The last time they won a division title was nine years ago. That was the year they did win a playoff series, against the Celtics. They couldn’t even get that right. They should have swept the Celtics, didn’t, had to play a Friday night Game 6 before clinching, came home and lost Game 1 to the Pacers and never recovered from that.

Then Jackson came to town to get paid and set the franchise back five years. Or maybe it was 500 years. Now the Knicks have their own former agent, the former agent who isn’t Bob Myers of the Warriors. Their two best players are Barrett and Julius Randle, who wouldn’t be the very best players on any contending team anywhere. And here the Knicks are in a division with the Bucks and Celtics and Heat and, Lord help and protect us, the Nets.

They are the Knicks. Another draft has come and gone. But the rallying cry remains the same: Wait ‘Till Which Year?

ALL-ABOARD FOR THE SUBWAY SERIES, YANKEES NEED TO THINK BIGGER & NHL REFS CAN’T COUNT …

Take the real Subway Series of 2000 out of play because that was something different, because it was the kind of World Series we used to get in New York in the ‘50s.

And take away the first in-season Subway Series, and the luster it had because of the novelty of it all.

And then know this:

The games this summer between these Yankees and the Mets will be the most anticipated we’ve ever had.

Buck Showalter is right.

Imagine what the air will be like when both teams are on the field together.

There haven’t been more important pitching stories in baseball this season than Clay Holmes.

Even though the Yankees have had some big innings this season — like, every 20 minutes or so — there wasn’t one that felt bigger than the bottom of the 9th on Thursday night against the Astros.

Still not quite sure what the point of the Yankees still negotiating with Aaron Judge over a couple of million dollars was at arbitration.

What point were they trying to make by getting him to come down even a little, in this season when he keeps hitting balls that don’t come down.

This may be one of the biggest regular seasons in the history of the Yankees.

The owner needs to start thinking a little bigger.

The Jan. 6 hearings are starting to make Watergate look like traffic court.

And while we’re on the subject of American politics:

America was shamed this week, on Roe v. Wade and on guns, by the worst and weakest and most dangerous Supreme Court in this country’s history.

One more thing that has come out of these Jan. 6 hearings?

The bindlestiffs trying to overthrow the government — and with all respect to Mr. Breslin — really were The Gang That Couldn’t Coup Straight.

While a few, brave honorable men at the Department of Justice stood strong against these enemies of the state and saved us all.

My friend Stanton says that Arch Manning will not just make Steve Sarkisian look smart again, but save his job at Texas, all because of what he learned from Nick Saban:

Get the best players and everything will take care of itself.

We often talk about once-a-generation players.

Ohtani is a once-a-century player.

If golf’s majors are going to do nothing to prevent the Blood Money Tour guys from playing them, then the PGA Tour is going to be defenseless about the sports-washing that tries to wash away the blood of Jamal Khashoggi.

The big lie here, and it is really a tremendous lie, is that grifters like Greg Norman and Phil Mickelson are doing this to grow the sport.

No.

They’re doing it to grow their bank accounts.

If the refs couldn’t spot too many men on the ice in what was the most important moment of the NHL season — the end of Game 4, Avalanche vs. Lightning — then ask yourself a question:

What are they doing there?

All this time later, Giuliani is still the Yankee mascot.

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Gunman kills 2 during Oslo Pride festival; terror suspected

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Gunman kills 2 during Oslo Pride festival; terror suspected

OSLO, Norway — A gunman opened fire in Oslo’s night-life district early Saturday, killing two people and leaving more than 20 wounded in what Norwegian security service called an “Islamist terror act” during the capital’s annual Pride festival.

Investigators said the suspect, identified as a 42-year-old Norwegian citizen originally from Iran, was arrested after opening fire at three locations in downtown Oslo.

The PST security service raised its terror alert level from “moderate” to “extraordinary” — the highest level — after the attack, which sent panicked revelers fleeing into the streets or trying to hide from the gunman.

PST acting chief Roger Berg called the attack an “extreme Islamist terror act” and said the suspect had a “long history of violence and threats” as well as mental health issues.

He said PST first became aware of the suspect in 2015 and later became concerned that he had become radicalized and was part of an unspecified Islamist network.

Upon the advice of police, organizers canceled a Pride parade that was set for Saturday as the highlight of a weeklong festival. Scores of people marched through the capital anyway, waving rainbow flags.

One of the shootings happened outside the London Pub, a bar popular with the city’s LGBTQ community, just hours before the parade was set to begin.

Police attorney Christian Hatlo said the suspect was being held on suspicion of murder, attempted murder and terrorism, based on the number of people targeted at multiple locations.

“Our overall assessment is that there are grounds to believe that he wanted to cause grave fear in the population,” Hatlo said.

Police said two of the shooting victims died and 10 people were being treated for serious injuries, but none of them was believed to be in life-threatening condition. Eleven other people had minor injuries.

Olav Roenneberg, a journalist from Norwegian public broadcaster NRK, said he witnessed the shooting.

“I saw a man arrive at the site with a bag. He picked up a weapon and started shooting,” Roenneberg told NRK. “First I thought it was an air gun. Then the glass of the bar next door was shattered and I understood I had to run for cover.”

Another witness, Marcus Nybakken, 46, said he saw a lot of people running and screaming and thought it was a fist fight.

“But then I heard that it was a shooting and that there was someone shooting with a submachine gun,” Nybakken told Norwegian broadcaster TV2.

Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Stoere said in a Facebook post that “the shooting outside London Pub in Oslo tonight was a cruel and deeply shocking attack on innocent people.”

He said that while the motive was unclear, the shooting had caused fear and grief in the LGBTQ community.

“We all stand by you,” Gahr Stoere wrote.

Christian Bredeli, who was at the bar, told Norwegian newspaper VG that he hid on the fourth floor with a group of about 10 people until he was told it was safe to come out.

“Many were fearing for their lives,” he said. “On our way out we saw several injured people, so we understood that something serious had happened.”

TV2 showed footage of people running down Oslo streets in panic as shots rang out in the background.

Investigators said the suspect was known to police, as well as to PST, but not for any major violent crimes. His criminal record included a narcotics offense and a weapons offense for carrying a knife, Hatlo said.

Hatlo said police seized two weapons after the attack: a handgun and an automatic weapon, both of which he described as “not modern” without giving details.

He said the suspect had not made any statement to the police and was in contact with a defense lawyer.

Hatlo said it was too early to say whether the gunman specifically targeted members of the LGBTQ community.

“We have to look closer at that, we don’t know yet,” he said.

Still, police advised organizers of the Pride festival to cancel the parade Saturday.

“Oslo Pride therefore urges everyone who planned to participate or watch the parade to not show up. All events in connection with Oslo Prides are canceled,” organizers said on the official Facebook page of the event.

Inge Alexander Gjestvang, leader of FRI, the Norwegian organisation for sexual and gender diversity, said the shooting has shaken the Nordic country’s LGBTQ community.

“We encourage everyone to stand together, take care of each other. We’ll be back later, proud, visible but right now it’s not the time for that,” he told TV2.

King Harald V offered condolences to the relatives of victims and said the royal family was “horrified” by the attack.

“We must stand together to defend our values: freedom, diversity and respect for each other. We must continue to stand up for all people to feel safe,” the monarch said.

Norway has a relatively low crime rate but has experienced violent attacks by right-wing extremists, including one of the worst mass shootings in Europe in 2011, when a gunman killed 69 people on the island of Utoya after setting off a bomb in Oslo that left eight dead.

In 2019, another right-wing extremist killed his stepsister and then opened fire in a mosque but was overpowered before anyone there was injured.

___

Ritter reported from Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany. Jari Tanner in Helsinki contributed to this report.

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Readers & Writers: Choices for young readers for Pride Month

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Readers & Writers: Choices for young readers for Pride Month

It’s the last Sunday of Pride Month, so we’re closing the observance with a young adult gay boys’ rom-com and picture books about children with same-sex parents or grandparents.

“A Little Bit Country” by Brian D. Kennedy (HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray, $17.99)

The words are stuck in my throat. I know how badly Emmett wants to hear them. But I can’t bring myself to say them. Because I’m not sure if they’re true. I like Emmett a lot. More than I ever thought possible. But I can count the number of people I’ve said ‘I love you’ to on one hand. and they’re all family, so I didn’t really have a choice in the matter … With Emmett, love feels too scary.”

This gentle debut by an author who grew up in St. Paul and Mendota Heights is an easy, enjoyable summer read that’s as much a mystery as a story about  Emmett and Luke, who can’t ignore their attraction to one another.

Emmett is from Oak Park, Ill., and can’t wait to get away from home to work for a summer at Wanda World, owned by his country music idol Wanda Jean. (The author admits on his website that one of his “slightly unhealthy obsessions is all things Dolly Parton.”) Emmett hopes his summer as a performer at the amusement park will be the first step in his goal to become country music’s first gay superstar.

Luke, who lives in the Wanda World’s town of Jackson Hollow, Tenn., is weighed down with family obligations and believes he cannot come out as gay because his mother would never forgive him. He hates country music because something happened between his grandmother and Wanda years earlier, and Luke believes that destroyed his family.

The two young men are not sure where their relationship is going since their goals are so different. Emmett urges Luke to come out, but Luke isn’t ready. Still, they meet secretly in Wanda World, amidst the sweet carnival smells and sounds of people having fun. (There is no overt sex in the narrative and it’s handled so delicately even would-be censors won’t find a reason to clutch their pearls.)

After the men discover a stash of songs hidden by Luke’s grandmother, their feelings about country music have to be revised because it seems Wanda Jean might be living a lie.

Kennedy, who lives in New York City with his husband and photogenic dog, will be in person at the Red Balloon Bookshop, 891 Grand Ave., at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, June 29, to sign books and talk about his novel with guest author Emily J. Taylor. There’ll be special launch party favors at this free program. Space is limited so a ticket is required. Register through June 29, 4:30 p.m., at redballoonbookshop.com. Face coverings are required.

PICTURE BOOKS

“Katy Has two Grampas” by Julie Schanke Lyford and Robert A. Schanke, art by Mariia Luzina (Wise Ink, $18.95)

Book jacket for "Katy Has Two Grampas"

Katy is excited about grandparents day at her school, because she has two grandpas. But she lisps, so she hardly ever talks. Grandpa Bob and Grandpa Jack are two of her favorite people. But when the teacher asks the children to talk about their grandparents, she can’t understand what Katy is saying because of her lisp, and she thinks the little girl is talking about a grandma and a grandpa. Katy’s big sister takes her to the teacher, who is so sorry she made a mistake. But Katy is still worried. The kids are supposed to introduce their grandparents in front of the class and she’s afraid everyone will laugh at her speech impediment. But when she sees all the different kinds of grandmas and grandpas, she’s proud to introduce her grandpas: “They’re married … TO EACH OTHER.” Her classmates clap and Katy laughs.

This happy book, with bright, energetic illustrations, is written by a father-daughter team. Julie Lyford lives in the Twin Cities with her husband and two daughters and is an LGBTQ+ activist. She and her book were highlighted in a Feb. 21 Publishers Weekly article crediting her with persuading Amazon to create its new LGBTQ+ Families children’s book category.

Robert Schanke is a retired college theater professor who lives in Des Moines, Iowa, with his husband of 34 years. His books have been finalists for the Lambda Literary Award.

“Love, Violet” words by Charlotte Sullivan Wild, pictures by Charlene Chua (Farrar Straus Giroux, $18.99)

Book jacket for "Love, Violet"

Violet, who always wears a hat that’s a cross between a fedora and a cowboy hat, is left speechless by Mira, the girl with the cheery laugh. Violet wants to adventure with Mira, but whenever Violet wants to tell the girl how she feels, she gets shy. When Valentine’s Day approaches, Violet makes a special valentine for Mira, but the wind sweeps it away. When Violet makes an angel in the snow, and falls down, the other kids laugh at her. But Mira doesn’t. Instead, she hands a locket to Violet with a tiny violet inside. And the girls go off adventuring — together.

Charlotte Wilds Sullivan, a Minneapolis native with an MFA from Hamline University,  wrote most of this book in the Twin Cities with the support of community organizations and Minnesota grants. She blogs that she was a kid like Violet, with crushes on other girls.

Molly B. Ellis, executive director of publicity for Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group, says this is one of the first picture books by a major publisher to portray a queer crush between girls.

“Mama and Mommy and Me in the Middle” by Nina LaCour, illustrated by Kaylani Juanita (Candlewick Press, $17.99)

Book jacket for "Mama and Mommy and Me in the Middle"

Mommy is African-American, Mama is white, and the unnamed little narrator is in the middle, especially during hugs and at mealtime. The story is set during a week when Mommy is away on business and Mama and the narrator miss her a lot. There are phone calls during which they express their love for one another, and when the narrator feels too sad Mama takes her on her lap and says they can be sad together. Then, there’s cleaning and putting up a Welcome Home sign, and Mommy is back with the narrator where she belongs — in the middle. The writer and illustrator live in California.

“Some Daddies” by Carol Gordon Ekster, illustrated by Javiera Maclean Alvarez (Beaming Books, $17.99)

Book jacket for "Some Daddies"

Dads of all persuasions, gay and straight, sing, read, play, work and love their kids in this book for the very youngest readers. The message: “Every daddy is different. And every child is too.” The publisher is based in Minneapolis. The author is a former elementary school teacher who lives in Massachusetts and the illustrator is Chilean.

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