by Marsha Rakestraw
In November 2017 California announced that it is adopting “LGBT-inclusive” history textbooks for grades K-8. It is the first state in the US to do so.
Some schools may try to ban or discourage talk about homosexuality or about families with gay parents, but the fact is that there are a growing number of children who have parents who are gay.
If there’s no discussion of the diversity of families and no encouragement to accept people who are different, children who are gay, or who have parents who are gay, can feel more confused and alone than ever.
And, as one young student said, “That’s not fair!”
Whether you’re a teacher who would like to explore this issue in your classroom, or a parent who wants to discuss it at home, there are several helpful resources available.
To help you get the conversation started, we’re highlighting these 12 picture books about families with same-sex parents:
- My Dad is a Clown/Mi Papá Es Un Payaso by José Carlos Andrés
2017. Grades K-2.
A young boy is proud of his two fathers: one is a clown, who heals the soul; the other is a doctor who heals the body.
- Mommy’s Family by Nancy Garden
2004. Grades K-3.
When a classmate tells her “No one has two mommies,” Molly is upset and confused. But as her mommies and teacher help her understand that all families are different, she becomes proud of her own family.
- Antonio’s Card/La Tarjeta de Antonio by Rigoberto Gonzalez
2005. Grades 2-5.
With Mother’s Day coming, Antonio has to decide what is important to him when his classmates make fun of the unusual appearance of his mother’s partner, Leslie.
- My Two Moms by Claudia Harrington
2015. Grades PreK-2.
When Lenny, the class reporter, goes to Elsie’s house to learn about her family, he learns about her life with her two moms.
- Daddy, Papa and Me by Leslea Newman
2009. Grades PreK-1.
This board book with rhyming text shows a toddler spending the day with his/her daddies.
- Donovan’s Big Day by Leslea Newman
2011. Grades PreK-2.
It’s a BIG day for Donovan. He has a lot to do, including feeding his dog and getting dressed in his special suit and remembering to keep safe the little white satin box. Readers watch Donovan prepare for his big day as a ring bearer, and discover that this special, BIG day is the day his two moms are getting married.
- Heather Has Two Mommies by Leslea Newman
2016. Grades PreK-2.
A new edition of the classic book, first published in 1989. Heather’s favorite number is two, as she has two of lots of things, including two arms, two legs, two pets, and two mommies. At Heather’s first day of school, she meets the other students and worries that she might be the only one who doesn’t have a daddy. When all the students draw pictures of their families, Heather and the other students discover that families come in all types and sizes.
- Mommy, Mama and Me by Leslea Newman
2009. Grades PreK-1.
This board book with rhyming text shows a toddler spending the day with her/his mommies.
- In Our Mothers’ House by Patricia Polacco
2009. Grades 1-6.
The oldest of three adopted children recalls their childhood with their mothers, Marmee and Meema.
- And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell
2005. Grades K–2.
Two male penguins at the Central Park Zoo become mates and work to hatch and raise their own baby penguin. (Based on a true story.)
- Stella Brings the Family by Miriam B. Schiffer
2015. Grades PreK-2.
When Stella’s class starts planning a Mother’s Day celebration, Stella worries, because she has two dads and no mom. Her friend has the great idea for Stella to invite all the family members who kiss her “when you are hurt,” and Stella brings not only her two dads, but Nonna, Aunt Gloria, Uncle Bruno, and Cousin Lucy, who all have a fabulous time.
- Home at Last by Vera B. Williams and Chris Raschka
2016. Grades 1-3.
At last! After a long wait, Lester has been adopted by Daddy Albert and Daddy Rich! There are so many things to like about his new home: his own room, a new bike, hot cocoa. And Wincka the dog. But night after night, Lester can’t fall asleep. He’s worried and scared. What can his new family do to help Lester feel safe and at home? Wincka has the answer.
Be sure to forward this to at least ONE person who would benefit from one of these resources.