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“Representation is important and includes on your child’s bookshelf.”
“There are more children’s books that tell stories of love between two people of the same sex, whether you’re a parent in a same-sex relationship or just looking to broaden your child’s library.”
Just like with pregnancy (and the facts of life in general), there aren’t hard-and-fast rules on when you should talk to kids about same-sex relationships and alternative pathways to parenthood.
Having the talk about where babies come from can be tricky for any parent. But, for same-sex parents who may have gone the route of adoption, sperm donation, and/or surrogacy, some folks might feel an added layer of complexity.
“There is no exact perfect moment when to discuss sex and sexuality with children — instead it should be an organic evolution of conversations that happen between parents or caregivers and their children,” says Roseann Capanna-Hodge, EdD, a licensed professional counselor and certified school psychologist in Ridgefield, Connecticut.
You should start out with appropriate language and look for opportunities to discuss human health and development.
“Adding colorful and engaging children’s books to your child’s library can help them understand families who are different from yours and can also help represent your family.”
Same-sex couples can initiate discussions that can be more educational and formal, or they can happen when your child inquires about another child having two mommies or two daddies.
She says that you want to be present when your children ask about same-sex relationships or discuss important issues. Being open and non-judgy is important to help your child feel comfortable with sexuality.
There are a number of resources that can help you navigate those discussions in ways that are easy for young children to understand. Here are some books to help you do that.
We chose the below books primarily based on reviews, while focusing on finding a diverse range of storylines on same-sex couples wanting to grow their families. We were also mindful of choosing with cultural diversity in mind.
Amazon v. Bookshop.org
You’ll notice that we offer two different methods for purchasing a book for the picks below. One is Amazon. The other is Bookshop.org, a platform that supports independent bookstores by giving them 30% of the profit from an online sale and handling customer service requests.
Bookshop.com also has a map online where you can find an independent bookstore near you.
- Hardcover: $15 (available on Amazon)
- Board book: $7.99 (bookshop.org; Amazon)
Lesléa Newman wrote a book for young children that shows a loving relationship between a family with lesbian parents. Readers can see how similar all families are in the book “Mommy, Mama, and Me.”
The author wrote a version for two male parents, with the same concept. One Amazon reviewer who is not in a same-sex relationship said that this book was a good way to teach her children about acceptance.
- Paperback: $21.95 (bookshop.org); $19.95 (Amazon)
The book written by Carla Lewis-Long is a great resource for same-sex couples who conceived their child via surrogate and want to explain their path to parenthood in a positive, kid-friendly way.
The book has a lot of elements that are positive, one of which is the lasting relationship the parents have with their surrogate after their child is born.
- Hardcover: $12.79 (Amazon); $16.73 (bookshop.org)
- Board book: $8.76 (bookshop.org)
- Paperback: $12.26 (Amazon)
“Modern family storylines aren’t usually themed around prince and princess. The book is written by Daniel Haack and tells the story of a queer-friendly fairy tale.”
And while there aren’t any children in the tale, “Prince & Knight” is still a great bit of representation for gay couples in a traditionally heterosexual genre. Amazon reviewers also praise the book for the prominent theme of acceptance among the characters’ family members.
- Paperback: $15 (Amazon; bookshop.org)
Zak is the child of a lesbian couple and the story is written by Christy Tyner. Zak wrote a book about how his mom met, fell in love, and decided to have a baby.
This book is a good resource for parents of kids who are starting to express curiosity about the science of human reproduction as it not only touches on the process in general (in a very simple, kid-friendly way), but also with regard to using donor eggs or sperm.
- Paperback: $12.99 (Amazon)
The book by Anthony Hale is meant to educate children about cultural diversity within a family structure. It shows different variations on a modern family, including children conceived via surrogate and children brought home through adoption.
- Board book: $7.99 (Amazon); $8.36 (bookshop.org)
- Paperback: $9.29 (bookshop.org)
- Hardcover: $17.66 (bookshop.org)
The story of Roy and Silo is told by authors Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson. They adopt a baby penguin and raise it with the help of the zookeeper. One reviewer says that it is a good classroom book to teach preschoolers about equality and love.
- Hardcover: $12.97 (Amazon); $15.79 (bookshop.org)
In this book, the story of how two dads take care of a girl and support her every day is told by her.
She is nervous about it at first, but she believes bringing her dads to the party will help explain love, acceptance and the different variations on the definition of family.
- Hardcover: $12.15 (Amazon); $16.73 (bookshop.org)
The book by Rob Sanders tells the story of how the rainbow flag came to be, as well as the fight for gay rights waged by Harvey Milk. It is filled with pictures, but it may be a better option for older kids who are interested in learning about social justice, inequality, and the battles the LGBTQ community have faced, conquered and continue to fight.
More and more books are published that represent same-sex couples, especially for kids, as time goes by.