June is LGBT Pride Month, and every child should feel the pride of seeing their family structure in a picture book. Some of the books below go into explaining how a family can have same-sex parents and some simply have them, both are important. Kids need to relate and connect with books, and it’s a powerful thing to see your family reflected in a book at bedtime or circle time at school. I hope that you find a new title to share with your family no matter how many mommies or daddies you have in it.
Molly’s Family by Nancy Garden had both my kids captivated when I read it to them at lunch yesterday. The story is about Molly who is in kindergarten and after she draws a picture at school of her two moms she is faced with a classmate telling her she can’t have two moms. There are many things I love about this book but most of all it is the adult reactions to this child saying it’s not possible that drew me in. Molly’s classmate that was sure two moms was simply impossible wasn’t told that he was wrong instead the teacher discussed how different every family was and how Molly’s was just as much a family has his or any other. I loved even more how Molly became shy about displaying her drawing because it gave me a chance to talk to my six-year-old about the power of words and not listening to others and how dismissing people can hurt. I also loved how the next day the little boy who was so sure that two moms weren’t possible was totally cool with it. He just didn’t know it was a possibility, and I think that is a good reminder for why books like this matter.
King and King by Linda de Haan is a fairytale and a funny one at that. The queen is old and cranky and wants her son to take over the kingdom, but he must be married to do so. He tells her he’s not really into princesses, but Mama doesn’t take the hint. After finding fault with every princess presented to him, he falls in love at first sight with a prince and they live happily ever after. I like the whimsical illustrations, and my kids thought the prince was funny. My son thought the book had a twist at the end with the princes falling in love, but just like the queen in the story, there was no debate over why. I like that this book uses the familiar fairytale structure to make an important statement about the existence of same-sex marriage and can be a great ice breaker to talk about it with your kids.
Everywhere Babies by Susan Meyers and Marla Frazee. This book celebrates all sorts of babies and all the every day things babies do. My daughter points out all the babies on each page as I read the rhyming text. So maybe you are thinking “What’s so great about babies and text that rhymes?” nothing, that isn’t what makes this book so awesome. I love this book because of its diversity, inclusion, and acceptance of all babies and families. The illustrations are full of depictions of all sorts of families showering their smallest most precious member with love. What I adore about the diversity of the illustrations is that readers are left to put whatever assumption we wish on the families in the book. What I assumed were two mommies my husband thought was a husband and wife, I thought a lady was a grandma, and my son said it was just an older mom. This is why I love this book, my daughter doesn’t see why this message is outstanding, what she does see is all sorts of happy babies in all sorts of families being the norm, and this is the world we want her to know.
Heather Has Two Mommies by LeslÃ©a Newman was widely banned when it was first released. It is probably the best-known picture book about a family with same-sex parents. When you read it, the first thing you will probably think is that it doesn’t live up to the banning. I always imagine banned books to be truly out there, and this book is about a family with a doctor, a carpenter, and their daughter. Heather is starting a new school, and she is nervous and exploring all the possibilities of what a family looks like just as her classmates are. She recognizes that her family is different but not less than. The illustrations are black and white, and a little dated but the story is on the right track.
Mommy, Mama, and Me by Lesléa Newman is a book about the everyday life of a family with two moms. What I love about this book is that it showcases parts of the day that young toddlers through preschoolers can relate to easily. They have bath time, they go to the park, they cook dinner, in other words, they are a family like any with a small child. My son loved this book and related easily to the baby in the book and to the experiences that they share.The book makes no political statement, no explanation of two mommies and it shouldn’t, it’s a book targeted to toddlers about one loving family and nothing more. There is also a version with two dads called Daddy, Papa, and Me.
A Tale of Two Mommies by Vanita Oelschlager got my kids out of their seats at the table and glued next to me because they wanted to be that close to the illustrations by Mike Blanc. They were so vibrant, and the perspective was so great that both my kids (6 and 3) were immediately smitten. The story is great too; it’s really a collection of questions from two friends asking a third about how his family with two mommies work. Sometimes adults go straight for the big deep issues when really kids just want to know which mom is the one to coach little league and which one bakes cakes. The overall feeling readers are left with is that this little boy’s life isn’t all that different at all. There is also A Tale of Two Daddies which is very similar with dads and a daughter.
The Family Book by Todd Parr is a book that doesn’t give readers a narrow definition of family; it doesn’t say that your family has to look a certain way or be the same as your neighbors. As a teacher, I really appreciated the matter-of-fact way it embraced diversity. It makes mention of some families having two moms or two dads in the same vein as all the other similarities and differences. Kids see that families are not all like theirs, and it’s important to validate the truth while recognizing that while families may not all look alike, all families are made with love. Great book, cute illustrations, and children love it.
And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson is a much-debated book. It’s the true story of two male penguins in Central Park Zoo who didn’t have any interest in the girl penguins but liked each other. When the zoo keepers noticed that they were in every way a matched pair, they also noticed that they prepared for a baby just like the other penguins. Time after time they were sad until they were given an egg to care for. Just like all families love and care is what matters when creating a family and baby Tango and his two daddies have thrived. My son loved this book and asked me to please see the penguins when I was in NYC. I didn’t have time to, but I wish I had. Their story simplifies a very debated topic, and I think it’s a great book not only to explain how all families are different but also how love and care are really what makes a family even for penguins.
Daddy’s Roommate by Micheal Willhoite is a little different from the other books in this list in that the child in the book has a mommy, daddy, and daddy also has a roommate. The book was written in 1990 and even though we don’t often hear “roommate” as a euphemism for partner or boyfriend anymore but in 1990 is was probably more common. That aside the book does a good job of explaining what this little boy’s life is like. Bug catching, reading, scary dreams… it’s pretty average stuff, but he has three adults to care for him. I also like that the boy’s parents are divorced which will be something many readers will connect with. The book’s explanation of what gay means is really simple and perfect for the book’s audience. I do think that the pictures are dated, but I don’t think kids will pick up on that as much as adults will.
Are we missing a book you think should be added to the list? Leave a comment and let us know so we can check it out!This post contains affiliate links.