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Sewing the Rainbow: The Story of Gilbert Baker and the Rainbow Flag
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Sewing the Rainbow: The Story of Gilbert Baker and the Rainbow Flag

3.99  ·  Rating details ·  195 ratings  ·  64 reviews
Gilbert Baker always knew he wanted a life full of color and sparkle. In his small, gray, flat Kansas hometown, he helped his grandma sew and created his own art whenever he could. It wasn't easy; life tried over and over again to make Gilbert conform. But his sparkle always shone through. He dreamed of someday going somewhere as vibrant and colorful as he was.

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Hardcover, 32 pages
Published June 4th 2018 by Magination Press
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Average rating 3.99  · 
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 ·  195 ratings  ·  64 reviews

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Jun 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I had been meaning to read some books featuring LGBTQIA+ matters, before now, but as we all know - so many books and too little time! With June being Pride month, I feel this is an opportune time to read stories such as this one. Sadly, as I wrote this I learned that for the second year in a row President Trump has failed to recognise June as Pride Month.

"Sewing the Rainbow" is the story of Gilbert Baker and the creation of the rainbow flag, famously used by the gay community for decades now. Th
Jan 13, 2019 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: LGBTIQ activists and supporters
“In a small town in Kansas, where everything was gray and dull and flat, there was a little boy who was full of color and sparkle and glitter.
His name was Gilbert.”

This is a fairly straight (no pun intended) history of Gilbert Baker, born in Kansas in 1951, a place that did not cater for sparkly little boys. He loved drawing gowns and helping his grandmother in her shop; Dad disapproved and surrounded him with boy toys; the army called him up and when he refused to shoot the gun, they sent
I enjoyed this story and it was very reductive. I guess the subject was about the flag. It talks about Gilbert creating the flag, but not where he got the inspiration for it besides needing color. I don't believe it even mentions homosexuality in the book. It is all implied by words like sparkly and MAGIC and being oneself. Gilbert was drafted to the Army where he would not hold a gun. He refused. That was interesting.

The last 2 pages of words talking about the events are good as that goes into
Feb 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
Hooray, another picture book that shows that even though you feel as though you don't fit in, it is not you, it is the world around you that isn't letting you fit in. This sweet little picture book takes the story of Gilbert Baker from his beginnings in Kansas, where he was forced to give up his love of sewing and drawing, so that he would be a real man, to his time in San Francisco, in the Castro, where he could be who he wanted to be all along.

Oh, gosh, I love this book, but there is a big but
Jun 20, 2018 rated it did not like it
I wanted to love this book, but I can't. The book explains that Gilbert belonged to a community that wanted a new symbol, because the symbol they have is a constant reminder of evil, so Gilbert comes up with a flag for people who are different, people who like glitter and sparkles. "Wherever you see a rainbow flag, you'll know that it's okay to be your colorful, sparkly, glittery self."

There is no mention of what this mysterious community is that needs a symbol, and no mention of what the flag r
Jun 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Information on Gilbert Baker – an American gay rights activist and designer of the rainbow flag. Baker's flag became widely associated with LGBT rights causes, a symbol of gay pride that has become ubiquitous in the decades since its debut. California state senator Scott Wiener said Baker "helped define the modern LGBT movement".

This book is a children's nonfiction about Gilbert Baker from a young age up til when he helped create the gay pride flag.

This is written for children. Simple, colorful
Jun 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
Beautiful illustrations that capture Pride flag creator Gilbert Baker's desire to make the world a more loving and colorful place. From his Midwestern childhood, rendered in bleak earthy tones to self-discovery in his adopted home, San Francisco, shown in dazzling ROYGB. A wonderful addition to LGBTQ history, written for children, but enjoyable for all ages.
Jul 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: glbt, j, history, biography
This is an important story, well told. Just one quibble: "... and he, too, became gray and dull and flat, just like the Kansas landscape." Really? I think the author didn't need to fall back on such a trite, unimaginative simile.
Feb 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: netgalley, 2018, kids, lgbtqia
I love how this story teaches us about Gilbert Baker and his legacy, but is also unapologetically direct about the importance of letting kids be themselves even if their personalities don’t fit into some kind of society approved gender-specific boxes. Personalities are meant to shine, not be squashed and molded into a form that we think is appropriate. Written by Gayle E. Pitman, and illustrated by Holly Clifton-Brown, Sewing the Rainbow tells us the story of Gilbert Baker: of growing up in the ...more
Mar 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
Gilbert was a little boy with great aspirations. His unique, sparkly, beautiful personality was something most people could not understand in the 1950s. But Gilbert knows what he wants, and he is not afraid to be different. So, he leaves the dull life that others wanted him to live, creating the life he really wants for himself.

This is the story of Gilbert Baker and the rainbow flag, told simply and in a very sweet way. It's a real story, and in the same time one that can teach children self acc
Kaci Pelias
Apr 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
this is it!!! this book was written by a female professor in lgbtq studies so i automatically trust her more!! less explicitly gay in the sense that i don’t think the word gay was used until the historical context at the end, but gave a rlly nice look into a history/biography that isn’t talked abt as much (gilbert)... also appreciated that there was more racial and gender diversity in this one and did talk abt the movement as being able to express ur glittery rainbow selves which i thought was v ...more
McKinlay Dennis
I received a digital copy from edelweiss and the publisher.

This is a short and sweet picture book about how the Pride flag came to be. I loved it.
Jul 23, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: children-s-books
I liked the overall message (everyone should be able to be their colorful and glittery selves), but I'm not sure it was well executed. Poor Kansas is described as "gray and dull and flat" at least 3 separate times - we get it. The artwork on one of the pages was really confusing. He has to join the army and is forced to do push ups, but it looks like another soldier is shooting him in the head. And there are many holes in the history of the symbol - others have written about this in their review ...more
Jul 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is LGBTQ story.
But if a child is not familiar with any of the references, than I think he/she will have a hard time to understand it and may have a lot of questions.

The story is about Gilbert Baker and his legacy.
He is the inventor of rainbow flag. In the story we learn about Gilbert's childhood and adulthood.
The story also teaches, "that it's ok to be your colorful, sparkly, glittery self".

Jul 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I don't usually include picture books because I read so many, but this one made me cry.
Jun 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I adore Gayle E. Pitman's A Church for All. Although my job requires me to be conscious of everyone's right to an opinion and I understand not everyone feels the way I do, I do like to slip in a book or two here and there that might reach a child who needs to hear it.  Gayle E. Pitman writes those books and this is one of those books.

This is based on the creator of the Rainbow Flag, Gilbert Baker who was a sparkly, glittery boy whose dad could not accept that he wanted to be creative and colorfu
Ben Truong
Jun 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
Sewing the Rainbow: The Story of Gilbert Baker and the Rainbow Flag is a children's picture book written by Gayle E. Pitman and illustrated by Holly Clifton-Brown. It recounts the story of Gilbert Baker and his story in making the iconic Rainbow flag.

June, at least in my part of the world is LGBT Pride Month, which I plan to read one children's book, particularly a biography, which pertains to the subject everyday this month. Therefore, I thought that this book would be apropos for today.

Ruth Anne
Jun 26, 2018 rated it did not like it
Shelves: 2018
"Wherever you see a rainbow flag, you'll know that it's ok to be your colorful, sparkly glittery self." Only in the reader's note does the text explain that this is about the LGBTQ community. I don't think young children immediately associate the rainbow with this community, unless they have been taught that. Additionally, I was really confused on the pages where it mentions a symbol "in Gilbert's community, was a constant reminder of evil." Again only in the reader's note does it explain - 'at ...more
Jason Stanley
Mar 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
Sewing the Rainbow is the true story of Gilbert Baker who struggled to find his true self through childhood and young adulthood. Life in his small Kansas town was dull and grey. After being drafted to fight in a war, Gilbert was sent to San Franciso. There, things were more colorful.

He found a way to use his passion and his gifts to support his community. He became one of the banner and flag makers for many of the protests and marches in the city. Gilbert continued to add color by designing and
Jun 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
* Thank you to NetGalley for a digital ARC of this book. All opinions are my own.

Sewing the Rainbow: The Story of Gilbert Baker and the Rainbow Flag is a wonderful book! Children not only get to see the creativity behind the rainbow flag, but also what life was like for young Gilbert Baker. Gilbert always had a love of design and fashion, but his father wanted him to have nothing to do with it and act like a more traditional boy of the time. He was drafted into the army and that was what finally
Alicia Herrington
Jun 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
Librarian: One of my favourite current trends in kids books is the abundance of picture book biographies. I’ve found them to be a great way to get kids curious about historical figures that they wouldn’t otherwise encounter. This book does that well. Though many children will recognise the rainbow flag, few will know the name of the man that created it. Hopefully this book will change that.
I will absolutely be recommending this book for purchase.
Reader: Obviously, I’m not the target audience fo
Apr 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
I had no idea! I had never heard the story of the rainbow flag, I just knew it was used by the gay community. This was actually a pretty interesting book, even if it was for very young kids. The end of the book features further info for older kids and adults. Illustrations were nice, too.
I received a Kindle ARC in exchange for a fair review fro Netgalley.
Holly Senecal
May 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A really beautifully well done book (for any age) that tells an important piece of history in a way kids can totally understand. Sewing The Rainbow is exactly the kind of book that needs to be part of regular reading in classrooms: by being itself this book tells a true story and promotes tolerance of differences. Thank you for letting me be a part of reading and reviewing Sewing The Rainbow.
Moriah Conant
May 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book makes my heart so happy. The color and rainbow imagery is very powerful, especially for children whose passions feel stifled. I would recommend this book as a resource for understanding the rainbow flag and the LGBTQIA+ community for kids.

I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Feb 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I enjoyed this uplifting story and illustrations. It is very important that children see themselves in literature as well as diversity in books. I would not be able to use this book for classroom read aloud yet but I could recommend it to parents of students who have identified as LGBTQ.
Mar 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Cute book. I thought about giving it 4 stars because the picture book itself does not delve into why a flag was needed nor its monumental significance, but overall it is a good introduction to Baker and his legacy.
May 31, 2018 rated it liked it
Beautiful illustrations and lovely story. However, because the book itself wasn't very heavy on details and history, the back matter is long and dense.
I'd give this one a 3.5, and I am so glad that this story has been told. Having read picture books recently that told the story of Harvey Milk and the gays rights movement, I was delighted to find this one, which tells the story of Gilbert Baker and the rainbow flag he designed. Growing up as a youngster in Kansas, Gilbert gravitated more toward fashion and design than to the toys and activities his father considered to be more appropriate for a boy. After a brief stint in the military, he moved ...more
Children's Literature Centre at FSU
Gilbert, (the main character) begins the story as a little boy, describes himself as colorful, sparkly, and glittery. The book continues to show the hardships he went through: people didn’t like how he acted because it was different than other boys. Th author says because of this, it knocked the sparkle out of him. Gilbert and his friends worked together to create beautiful rainbow flags to display at the city hall and everyone ended up loving his flag! At the end of the story, he used the same ...more
R. C.
Jun 17, 2019 rated it did not like it
The author gives "Gilbert's" negative experience in the army a two page spread with details about being afraid of shooting people. That is kind of awful in a book for 4-7 yr olds, but I might have forgiven it if the story had at any point actually explained how Gilbert decided on the rainbow, the meaning of the symbolism of the rainbow, or the use of the rainbow flag in the LGBTQ+ community. Why is this hidden behind vague metaphors like "being yourself"? What does it even matter if we have a ra ...more
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Gayle E. Pitman, Ph.D. is a professor of psychology at Sacramento City College. Her writing, research, and teaching focuses on issues of gender and sexual orientation. She lives in Northern California.

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