When Niko came along, my parents gave Gus the book, I’m a Big Brother by Johanna Cole. It’s written to help older siblings get used to a new family member. The problem was that with a mom and dad on every page, it didn’t really reflect Gus’s family reality. So my mom scratched out all the references to “Mama” and wrote “Papa” instead.
Recently, I ran across that book. Seeing it made me wonder what kids’ books are available that do show LGBT families. Well, here are some suggestions for you to consider the next time you’re in the market for a children’s book.
A Tale of Two Daddies by Vanita Oelschlager. In this fun read, a girl with two dads answers “which parent does what” questions. We learn that in her family both dads help with math, but Papa’s the dad that helps with the bath. There’s also a two-mom version called A Tale of Two Mommies.
And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell. Our friend Giancarlo gave Gus this book when he was a toddler. It’s the real-life story of two gay penguins in the Central Park Zoo, who are given an abandoned egg to hatch. The result is their daughter, Tango. This is a well-written and illustrated classic, and has always been a big hit in our home.
Daddy, Papa, and Me by Leslea Newman. In this rhyme book geared toward younger kids, a toddler shares the fun he has playing with his two dads. It’s an okay read, but being older, my kids were bored. Newman also has a sister book for two-mom families called Mommy, Mama, and Me.
Donovan’s Big Day by Leslea Newman. With dogged determination, Donovan spends his day staying out of trouble and focusing on one important job: serving as the ring bearer at his two moms’ wedding. It’s a cute book, and the boys really enjoyed the illustrations.
King and King by Linda de Haan. I have to come clean: I haven’t read this book. But the boys and I saw it acted (and read) on YouTube. It’s the story of an abdicating queen, who insists her son be married before he ascends the throne. After a series of princesses are rejected, one finally shows up with her hot brother. And the two princes are married.
The Different Dragon by Jennifer Bryan. This is a story within a story. The fact that the main character has two moms is incidental. I liked that. The book relates a bedtime story that Noah and one of his moms create about a dragon who doesn’t want to be fierce. Literally judging this book by its cover, at first Niko was excited to read it. But he ended up being disappointed because the (not fierce) dragon wasn’t the main character.
This is My Family by Pat Thomas. Honestly, the boys didn’t particularly like this book. To me it felt too academic. Written for younger kids, it’s an age-appropriate look at LGBT families. But every few pages it offers questions to guide discussion. It almost seemed like something a progressive preschool would use in its curriculum on empathy.
Although I’ve listed an even number of moms and dads books, my research uncovered far more mom titles than dad ones. Maybe I need to change that.
Where to Buy These Titles
Both The King’s English and Golden Braid Books carry some titles, and will try to order those not in stock. Another great option is Wackadoodlebooks.com, which does have these books. Founder Amy Palmer and I have something in common: we’re both dedicated to promoting family literacy.