Pride: The Story of Harvey Milk and the Rainbow Flag

Rob Sanders

Random House, 2018

Plot Summary

In this deeply moving and empowering true story, young readers will trace the life of the Gay Pride Flag, from its beginnings in 1978 with social activist Harvey Milk and designer Gilbert Baker to its spanning of the globe and its role in today's world. Award-winning author Rob Sanders's stirring text, and acclaimed illustrator Steven Salerno's evocative images, combine to tell this remarkable - and undertold - story. A story of love, hope, equality, and pride.


  • Kirkus Review (22 January 2018) “The flag's story begins with Harvey Milk, a young man with a "dream" for equality. In 1977, Milk becomes one of the first openly gay people to be elected to U.S. political office. As Milk marches toward his dream through protests and rallies, he works with artist Gilbert Baker to come up with a unifying symbol for the movement. In 1978, the rainbow flag makes its debut in San Francisco.”

  • Publisher’s Weekly (7 May 2018) “Salerno conveys Milk’s likeness in gently expressive cartoons; he fills his background spreads with decorative, paisley print designs, and the unfurled rainbow flag is a recurring motif. After the assassinations of Milk and San Francisco mayor George Moscone (communicated through a newspaper headline, reading: “Moscone, Milk Killed”), Milk’s message of acceptance and love is carried onward through the pride flag and those who wave it.”

  • School Library Journal (February 2018) Gr 1-3–“Written in direct, accessible language, this book opens with a quote from Harvey Milk about hope, the connecting theme of this uplifting introduction to the symbol of the Rainbow Flag.”


Amazon Best Nonfiction Children’s Books of 2018

Brightly’s 20 Must-Read Picture Books of 2018

The 2018 Nerdies: Nonfiction Picture Books

The 2019 Rainbow Book List

Response to challenges


SCHOOL (14 May 2019) “The National Coalition Against Censorship has written to the district in support of the teacher and the book, urging them to keep the book in classrooms and available to students who choose to read it.”

Children’s Book on Harvey Milk Challenged in 2nd-Grade Classroom (15 May 2019) “This book is not about sex or sexuality, nor does it have violent content. It is a book about identity history and human rights,”

Reference list

Children’s Book on Harvey Milk Challenged in 2nd-Grade Classroom. (2019, May 15). Mombian.

Retrieved July 12, 2022, from ade-classroom/

Pride: The Story of Harvey Milk and the Rainbow Flag. (2018, January 22). Kirkus Review.

Retrieved July 12, 2022, from

Pride: The Story of Harvey Milk and the Rainbow Flag. (2018, May 7). Publisher’s Weekly. Retrieved July 12, 2022, from

Pride: The Story of Harvey Milk and the Rainbow Flag. (2018, February). School Library Journal.

Retrieved July 12, 2022, from

PRIDE: The story of Harvey Milk and the rainbow flag challenged in Virginia school. (2019, May 14). National Coalition Against Censorship. Retrieved July 12, 2022, from n-virginia-school



Book Resume created by Virginia Library Association and PDSAL