An ABC of Equality by Chana Ginelle Ewing and illustrated by Paulina Morgan takes important issues and sets out with the goal of introducing them to young children. And in many ways, I do believe that this book does succeed. In some other areas, it misses its mark. I am willing to be a little bit more forgiving of those factors, however, due to the fact that the exposure to specific ideas impressed upon in the book is the most important thing.
Far too often, young children do not have the opportunity to learn about things like gender, sexuality, and diversity. Instead, people, often the intolerant sort, have a tendency to suggest that such themes should not be introduced to those at a young age. The greatest thing that An ABC of Equality does is to break the barrier that some in society have tried to set in place and to teach kids to be accepting.
This isn’t the end-all piece of a child’s education nor does it accurately represent equality as it should, but I believe it is a great place to start. I don’t imagine that the children reading this book are going to understand everything in it and therefore will require supplemental conversations and information to go alongside it. Especially as, unfortunately, some things were left out or missed the mark.
When we get to H, Human Being, the text, unfortunately, leans toward a rather ableist viewpoint. My biggest problem with this comes down to the fact that it negates a little bit of the equality that the book advertises and leaves exposure to understanding disabilities sorely lacking. As we move through the alphabet to L, to my knowledge the information given regarding the letter Q in the acronym LGBTQIA is incorrect (though please correct me if I am wrong).
Despite having Gender and Transgender discussed briefly in the book, some of the text uses phrases like “men and women” which almost negates the message the book is trying to send. And there is a confusing message sent about being “who you want to be” that could have the potential to accidentally sent the message that gender identity is a choice rather than who someone is, a piece that could be fixed with a little bit of rephrasing to “be who you are.”
Overall, I appreciate the fact that this book exists and believe wholeheartedly in the message it is trying to send. For now, I do believe that parents will need to further support their children through learning about and understanding these topics. In general, this book is a bit advanced for the age group I would picture it going to, however, I can also see some older children reading it for the more difficult content. It’s kind of a lot to unpack, but I did appreciate the way the book presents the term and then provides a quick explanation or definition for it.
The artwork overall worked well. It was colorful, engaging, and cute.
I feel like this book is a good foot in the door to developing young minds into building an understanding of equality and diversity. It’s a great starting point, though not without its flaws. But the great thing about that is the fact that hopefully the next time a book of a similar nature is published, it will be even better and that developing mind will be able to further their understanding.
I was provided a free copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.