The overall message of acceptance in 'BunnyBear' by Andrea J. Loney and Carmen Saldaña is so lovely to see in a children's book.
BunnyBear is a bear that doesn't feel like a bear on the inside. He feels like a bunny. When he decides to go hang out with the bunnies, they don't accept him because he looks like a bear. Feeling confused and alone, BunnyBear meets GrizzlyBun, a bunny who feels like a bear on the inside. Meeting GrizzlyBun and discovering it is okay to be himself makes BunnyBear incredibly happy. When all the animals in the forest get together, BunnyBear discovers he and GrizzlyBun aren't alone and finally feels like he belongs.
I remember having a transgender girl in my middle school and high school. Her name was Ryan and though I never spoke to her, I still remember her because she was the only transgender person in our very large school, or perhaps the only transgender person brave enough to come to school as herself. I remember her leaving class early to walk to her next class before everyone else and, mostly, I remember her always being alone. She was two grades ahead of me and I'm not even sure if she made it to senior year. Like I said, I never spoke to her and though I never bullied her either, I feel badly about that. Some people think sending positive messages that relate to the LGBTQ community to young children isn't necessary or is in some way harmful. My hope is that we teach our children better than what I knew in school and that if my son sees someone cast aside, lonely, or friendless for being him or herself, that he goes out of his way to show that person kindness. Also, if you believe that people are born who they are and are created perfectly, then you would understand that a LGBTQ child may never see him or herself represented in the books that they read or shows that they watch and that can feel even more alienating. Kids need to see themselves represented in books. I'm glad books like this are becoming so mainstream. Also props to the Mama Bear in this book for being so accepting.