Over the weekend, I sat down with my kids to read books before bed, just like we do every night. Knowing the routine, my 7-year-old son and my 3-year-old daughter both marched into their respective rooms to choose a story. As predicted, my son returned with a Berenstain Bears book about trying out for a baseball team, and my daughter toddled back with Heather has Two Mommies. The entire family can recite both of these books by memory, and our 3-year-old feels especially proud that she can “read” her book to the family. Even though we’ve read these books more times than I can count, we somehow find new things to notice in the pictures or new ideas to talk about after we finish reading.
On Saturday, my daughter noticed that in Heather has Two Mommies, the characters in the book like to read books just like our family does. And she’s right.
Our family loves to read. Of the over 300 books on our kids’ bookshelves, eleven of them represent families that are not heteronormative — not traditional, one dad, one mom families. Diving deeper, 5 of them are stories about families with two moms. Five. That is less than 2%.
Every day, our kids are surrounded by a culture that does not reflect back to them the make-up of their day-to-day life. When we find places where our family is represented, whether that be on TV, in books, in magazines, or out in the real world, we treasure them.
At the same time that my children were receiving validation that their family was worthy of representation in books, One Million Moms was launching a campaign asking Scholastic Books to stop publishing and promoting LGBTQ-inclusive children’s books. If you haven’t heard of One Million Moms, they are a project of the American Family Association which has been classified as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.
While it has taken Scholastic some time to get comfortable publicly supporting families like mine, they have made great strides in recent years and currently publish and publicize LGBTQ-representative books for most grade levels. This is huge. As an LGBTQ parent, I feel it is vital for my children to see families like theirs in the books they read, and for all children to read about the many types of families and people in our world today.
If you agree, and are ready to applaud and thank Scholastic for standing by LGBTQ families, join us by taking action. Write an email, Tweet, or Facebook post to Scholastic to thank them for representing LGBTQ families.