A classic book for parents who are LGBTQ
When I pulled the book Celebrating Father’s Day: Father’s Day Is for Special People (Creative Teaching Press) off the spinning rack at the classroom supply store nearly a decade ago, I had no idea it would become a foundational teaching tool for my kids, who have two moms. While my toddlers wreaked havoc on the alphabet block display, I flipped through the 16-page story.
Written by Donna Marriott and illustrated by Keiko Motoyama, Celebrating Father’s Day presents a typical classroom situation that could cause discomfort for children from non-typical families: a teacher announces to her students, “Today we are going to make Father’s Day cards.” Three students with worried faces respond, “I don’t live with my dad,” “I have a stepfather,” and “I don’t have a dad.” The teacher cheerfully reassures them, “You can make a card for any man you love and respect.”
With brightly colored, engaging illustrations depicting a diverse array of ethnicities, the book showcases five students who tell their classmates whom they will make Father’s Day cards for and why those people are special to them. “I am making a card for my brother,” one says. “He helps me with my homework.” The text is illustrated with the cards themselves, featuring kids’ drawings and messages like “Thank you for being my big brother!”
Though my kids were not in school yet when we first read the book, I appreciated reading a story that identified an uncomfortable situation my kids were likely to face and showing them that they would not be alone. Additionally, the book offered creative solutions for children and teachers alike. Since the book was very inexpensive (a little over $3), I bought several more copies to share with for my children’s future teachers and classrooms.
Although Celebrating Father’s Day’s target audience is preschooler to early readers, my boys and I still revisit the book’s final message every year: “Father’s Day isn’t just for fathers. Father’s Day is for special people!” For our family, Celebrating Father’s Day helped turn a day that could feel awkward and isolating into an opportunity to reflect on and express our gratitude to the men who enrich our lives.
Photo credit: Celebrating Father’s Day: Father’s Day Is for Special People, Creative Teaching Press
Cheryl Dumesnil, ESME’s LGBTQ Resource Guide, is an author, educator, writing coach, all-around do-gooder, and one of two moms separately coparenting two amazing boys. You can follow her on Twitter at @cheryladumesnil.
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