‘I Like Wearing Rainbows’ children’s book presents a lesson meant for adults

Published January 9, 2022, 10:20 PM

by John Legaspi

Artist Lui Manaig and writer Agay Llanera’s heartwarming tale about parenting an LGBTQIA+ kid

Parenting, in its basic sense, is already one big challenge. Add an LGBTQIA+ kid in the mix, that task takes a turn for more understanding and acceptance with the world’s discriminating gaze. We see it in shows today like “Pose” and “And Just Like That,” where fictional parents from those series are faced with the task of learning and loving their kids who are discovering themselves. That doesn’t mean that life should be difficult for mothers and fathers, especially their queer kids. But how should one parent a queer kid?

‘I Like Wearing Rainbows’

Through the children’s book “I Like Wearing Rainbows,” artist Lui Manaig and writer Agay Llanera present a story that, much like its title, is very colorful. In its 48 pages, the book documents a story of a boy who loves to wear dresses. Readers are taken on a colorful arc of love, fear, wonder, gloom, delight, grief, and acceptance as the central character takes off and puts on one vivid piece from his grandma’s closet.

“I wanted something that wasn’t preachy but conveyed the message that children are allowed to experiment and break stereotypes. After all, dressing up, no matter what gender the kids have, is a form of play,” Agay says. “It’s us, adults, who like keeping the little ones in boxes based on our prejudices and other people’s opinions. I wish readers can gain a different perspective after reading this story. I hope that the next time they encounter a child who does or likes something outside the gender stereotype, they will not be quick to judge.”

 
 
 

 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 
 

 

 
 
 

 

 

 
 

 

A post shared by Looking For Juan (@lookingforjuan)

 

Agay’s words are mirrored by the vibrant visuals of Lui. The artist illustrates images that look straight from a child’s imagination. That even when the plot goes into a somber state, his works continue to spark joy. As a strong advocate of LGBTQIA+ rights, Lui aims for the book to open discussions about the dynamics between parents and their LGBTQIA+ children and how judgment, based on his own experience, can affect them in their younger years.

 
 
 

 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 
 

 

 
 
 

 

 

 
 

 

A post shared by Looking For Juan (@lookingforjuan)

 

“I would like this to be a step toward starting the conversation at an early stage because kids need their parents to accept them, the parents should be the first,” he says. “And I hope parents will also teach their kids kindness and inclusion, to be careful with their words and not judge those who are not like them.”

“I Like Wearing Rainbows” is available at www.lookingforjuan.com. Every sale is matched by a donation of books to two Filipino kids in disadvantaged communities through the store’s Buy-1-Donate-2 program.

 
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