by Simone Fornara
Picture books are a genre of children’s literature with enormous educational potential. Their use in classrooms is currently spreading and should be further encouraged. Picture books are particularly suitable for the treatment of sensitive issues, such as those related to gender. For this reason, many educational projects are focused on reading picture books and aim at promoting them, in and outside of the classroom. But in reality, these projects have to face opposite points of view, which are intended to remove certain books from schools. Drawing on the initiative of the Mayor of Venice Luigi Brugnaro, who in June 2015 proposed withdrawing from schools 49 picture books thought to spread “gender ideology”, this essay proposes a thematic mapping of the 49 picture books in question with the aim of highlighting the inherent contradictions of this kind of initiative and, thereby, drawing attention to the consequences for young readers. Finally, the essay identifies several pedagogical proposals for reading instruction free from prejudice.