Same-Sex Parents in Children’s Books: A Testing Ground

Jonathan Kemmerer-Scovner has a spot-on essay at Critical Masses Media about same-sex parents in children’s books. “Children’s literature,” he observes, “acts as a testing ground for the social mores of a society. You may think we’re all progressing along at a fine rate, but if you really want to see where we’re at, stick it in a children’s book and see what that gets you.”

Kemmerer-Scovner wisely notes that older books such as Heather Has Two Mommies, “you would purchase for a child who has same-sex parents, but probably not for anyone else. In the same way that a children’s book which deals with the death of a pet would make a great gift for a child whose dog was recently put down, but would not exactly make for a great Saturday morning storytime at the library.”

In more recent works, however, “the same-sex aspect of the story is not the central theme,” and this opens the books up to a wider audience. They include And Tango Makes Three, Uncle Bobby’s Wedding, and The Different Dragon—some of my favorites.

The article is also worth reading because Kemmerer-Scovner is not gay. His son’s reaction to the idea of two moms or two dads is funny, touching, and another indication that children’s understanding of what makes a good family is far broader than that of many adults.

Thanks to Sarah Brannen, author of Uncle Bobby’s Wedding, for bringing the piece to my attention.

I am a member of the Amazon Associates program, and get a small referral fee from all purchases made at Amazon.com via links on this site. You are under no obligation to purchase through them.