When You Look Out the Window: How Phyllis Lyon and Del Martin Built a Community

Written by: Gayle E. Pitman

Illustrated by: Christopher Lyles

For Ages: 4-8 years

Language: English

Topics Covered: Activism, LGBT Families, Community, Acceptance.

Summary: This book is told from the perspective of Phyllis Lyon and Del Martin.  It briefly talks about how they met and fell in love, eventually buying a house on a hill.  The rest of the book looks at community landmarks in San Francisco that they had a hand in creating for fellow LGBT San Franciscans.

The story is relatively vague, just introducing these landmarks to children.  In the back of the book is more detailed information about the specific buildings associated with their activism.  Detailed are: the San Francisco LGBT Community Center, City Hall, Castro District, and the Glide Urban Center among others.  Also included is a note to parents, caregivers, and educators that talks about the importance of making the LGBT community visible in books and educational communities.

Reflection Questions:

  • Have you ever been to San Francisco?
  • Have you ever seen any of these places in the book?
  • Do you think these women feel proud that they helped form a sense of community in the city they loved so much?
  • How do you think you can help form community with the people around you?

Continuing the Conversation:

  • Find out about landmarks in your town. Who made them, and why are they important to your community?
  • Is your school named after someone? What did they do for people to have a school named after them? If your school isn’t named after an important community figure, who is someone you think should have that honor? Write some letters and let the school board know your opinion!

About the Author & the Illustrator:

gayle e pitmanGayle E. Pitman, PHD teaches Psychology and Women/Gender Studies by day at Sacramento City College. By night, she writes children’s books and engages in other forms of subversive creativity. Her debut picture book, This Day in June, won the 2015 ALA Stonewall Award, was a Rainbow List Top Ten pick, and won the IRA’s 2014 Notable Books for a Global Society Award. How’s that for her first shot at writing children’s books! Her books, teaching, and general commentary have been featured in publications ranging from School Library Journal to The Advocate. She has also been interviewed on National Public Radio, the BBC News, “Good Day Sacramento,” and various podcast

christopher lylesChristopher Lyles is a professional illustrator who spends much of his time working in a variety of media and exploring new fields. Since graduating art school in 2001 and MFA in 2015, Chris has contributed to children’s publications, greeting cards, editorial illustrations, and gallery installations. His illustrations have been recognized by The Society of Illustrators LA and American Illustration. Chris also exhibits his work on the East coast and in LA. Recent clients include Little Bee Books, Lerner Publishing, and Magination Press. Chris lives in the small town of Simsbury, Connecticut with his beautiful wife, their two young sons, and dog, Riley. His interests include hiking, exercising, traveling, teaching art to children and looking for old stuff.

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