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Readers Reference: All Kinds of Families

By January 1, 2020May 13th, 2021The Kerlan Blog

When Holly from the Red Balloon and I make our gift giving recommendations on Minnesota Public Radio, there is never enough time for all the books that we loved during the year. We are also limited to 2019 titles. And also knowing that we have about a minute or two for each book. And we try select sleepers because who needs to us to tell them what is on the New York Times Best sellers list.

And that is why we were both delighted and dismayed when a listener asked for books with same sex parents. No titles came tripping quickly off of our tongues. Fortunately a caller mentioned Boa Phi’s My Footprints illustrated by Basia Tran.

Book Trailer here

Of course! There were two moms!

two moms and their little girl

Holly had written last March,

“I found so much to love in this book. The story starts off with a little girl, Thuy, being bullied. But it doesn’t focus on the bullies or the bullying. Instead we see Thuy’s brilliant and rich imagination, her two moms surrounding her with understanding and love, and Thuy finding her own courage. This beautiful story reminds us that there are many ways to be strong.” – Holly Weinkauf

School Library Journal – Megan Kilgallen, Packer Collegiate Institute, Brooklyn

“STARRED REVIEW! Basia Tran’s illustrations are pitch perfect and make the story all the more poignant. A timeless and important book that deals with the fallout of bullying and the power of a child’s imagination to overcome with the strength and support of a loving family.” – School Library Journal

September 1, 2019

Booklist – Ilene Cooper

“As in his Caldecott Honor Book A Different Pond (2017), Phi deeply understands both differences and family bonds. Tran’s soft, rounded artwork adds an unexpected flavor to a story that goes deep into the power of imagination and empathy.” – BooklistAugust 1, 2019

Kirkus Reviews

“. . . .the book sends a powerful message about the strength children can draw from their own cultural heritage. With this story about two moms joining their daughter through child-centered play to face adversity as one, Phi explains in his author’s note, he hopes to nurture the marginalized and challenge “systems of harm.” . . .Both a meaningful effort toward inclusion and a solid conversation starter about bullying.” – Kirkus Reviews

July 1, 2019

Stump the librarian and booksellers

What titles would you recommend for children born into a family by surrogacy?

Patricia Sarles, MA, MLS, Library Operations and Instructional Coordinator,
Brooklyn and Staten Island,  New York City Department of Education, Department of Literacy, Library Services, and AIS just posted these recommendations to the ALSC list.
Listed are a series of books for children on assisted reproduction.
Sarles annotates each title allowing the selector to find the “just right” book for specific circumstances. Did the family have  with no donation or are they looking for a book that describes mom and dad families who have used sperm donation and surrogacy?
Sarles notes,

“I am a librarian and a consumer who dipped her toes very briefly into the world of ART. This list was very hard to compile as there are currently no uniform subject headings in the library world that a librarian can search under to find books written for children about assisted conception.

This list was compiled for two purposes. One, to be of assistance to parents looking for books to help them explain assisted conception to their children, and two, for librarians who would like to develop collections on this topic for their libraries.

The “approaches” to sharing information with donor offspring to which the annotations on this Web site refer, are based on the 2001 article by Ken Daniels and Petra Thorn in the journal Human Reproduction. And the “scripts” referred to in the annotations are based on the 2007 article by Kirstin Mac Dougall, et. al. in the journal Fertility & Sterility. Essentially, I am analyzing whether these books take a “child-conception” approach or a “family-building” approach, as well as analyzing what scripts are being used: “the helper,” “spare parts,” “families are made differently,” “labor of love,” and/or “nuts & bolts.” Hopefully the annotations here, distinguishing these scripts and approaches, will help parents decide how they want to share their story with their children.”

Patricia Sarles also links to an article in The Atlantic that describes the need for these kind of books in homes, schools, and libraries. Here

 Two Lives Press

Two Lives Press is  the ground breaking independent publisher of books that shine a light on all kinds of families.

Do not miss these titles:  :
ABC: A Family Alphabet Book

123: A Family Counting Book
The Different Dragon
El dragón diferente
The Case of the Stolen Scarab
The Case of the Vanishing Valuables
Felicia’s Favorite Story 

“Two Lives began publishing in 1999, creating books for children with LGBTQ parents. Since then, we have watched with pride as some of the mainstream publishers have become more inclusive of our families in the books they publish. We have also seen, and been affected by, the many changes that technology has brought to the publishing industry. Because of these industry changes, we are no longer actively publishing books, but we have converted the books we’ve published into a “print-on-demand” model so that they are still available for purchase.” Bobbie Combs, publisher.

Full disclosure

I have known the publisher, author, bookseller, educator Bobbie Combs for over thirty years. Trust me when I say no library should be without her complete list.


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