REVIEW: ‘The GayBCs’ From Quirk Books

Reading Time: 3 minutes
Photo of The GayBCs from author and illustrator M. L. Webb’s twitter

The GayBCs is a children’s picture book published by Quirk Books with words and pictures by M. L. Webb. The book, which is made for readers ages 4-8, is a take on the traditional alphabet but instead of A is for Apple we get “A is for Ally” and “B is for Bi.” The book’s primary focus is education and helping children understand and learn about the LGBTQ+ community and how to be an ally to them. As a picture book, it does not have a plot but it does follow a group of four friends on a playdate. As the four play together, the poems at the bottom offer education and uplifting ways to define LGBTQ+ terms.

In addition to helping children understand the LGBTQ+ community, the book also encourages them to understand themselves by teaching the value of inclusivity and by showing adults who take joy in their own identities. Coming out doesn’t have a deadline and, while some people wait until they are older, more and more children are acknowledging the fact they are part of the LGBTQ+ community. This book not only normalizes what they are feeling but also helps them understand they are not alone. It shows children that millions of people across the planet are the same as them, whether they be trans, non-binary, bi, or anything else under the rainbow.  Webb’s drawings are lovely and capture the joy the book hopes to instill in the hearts of its audience.

One thing I adore about The GayBCs is it also highlight words like “F is for Family” and “R is for Respect.” The “F is for Family” mentions related or found family which is incredibly important. A recent study from the  American Academy of Pediatrics showed suicide rates among transgender teens are staggeringly high. “More than half of transgender male teens who participated in the survey reported attempting suicide in their lifetime, while 29.9 percent of transgender female teens said they attempted suicide.” Additionally, 41.8 percent of non-binary youth stated that they had attempted suicide at some point in their lives. Needless to say, books like The GayBCs are important and the foundations of all education should start young. Currently, only California requires LGBTQ+ history to be taught in school. 

Webb’s own history and experience contributed to the creation of The GayBCs. He said, “I believe in the power of demystifying LGBTQ+ terms for kids and adults.” He acknowledges that the community is ever-evolving and these definitions are more varied than what he could capture. However, his goal and hope were to make The GayBCs “a valuable starting point.”

Webb more than accomplished that. While this book might be for children, it helped me, a straight cis woman, understand these concepts a bit more. The GayBCs should be required reading for all children. LGBTQ+ education in schools continues to be a fight, however, books like this normalize the terms for both children and adults which makes the uphill battle a little bit easier of a climb.

The GayBCs is available now in bookstores everywhere.

The GayBCs
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TL;DR

Webb more than accomplished that. While this book might be for children, it helped me, a straight cis woman, understand these concepts a bit more. The GayBCs should be required reading for all children. LGBTQ+ education in schools continues to be a fight, however, books like this normalize the terms for both children and adults which makes the uphill battle a little bit easier of a climb.