Written by Tom Tracy for MagicBeans Bookstore When my husband and I adopted our first child, we knew how important it would be to ensure she saw her family represented in the world around her. What we didn’t know was just how difficult that was going to be, especially in children’s literature. Reading was (and still is) a constant activity with her.
Her bookshelves were quickly filled with the old standbys, like Dr. Seuss and The Berenstain Bears, mixed in with the likes of Sandra Boynton
(to this day, our family’s favorite author) and lesser-known authors. Those books were balanced by others that featured two dads or discussed adoption (thanks, Jamie Lee Curtis) or honored all families (you can’t go wrong with Todd Parr's books), but those books didn’t quite represent what our family looked like – two dads with an adopted daughter. Our daughter was devouring books that featured other types of families, but her family was nowhere to be found on the pages she held in her hands. Enter, the global pandemic. For so many of us, nearly two years of lock-down created the opportunity to pursue new hobbies and initiate activities that we otherwise, just never had the time for or chance to pursue. For me, I began to write; specifically, I began to tell my family’s stories. In doing so, I was also helping to fill the LGBTQ+ representation gap in the world of children’s literature. My two published books (three more are on the storyboard) honor family and celebrate childhood. Through story and illustration, the books also promote diversity, inclusion and acceptance. Scoochie’s Adoption Story, my second book, is a multi-award winning book and, I’m proud to say, has been featured on CBS-News Philadelphia.
My husband and I have since adopted a second daughter. Both our girls are also of a different race than us, making representation that much more important to us. As a parent, we want our girls to grow to be strong, resilient women. We want them to see themselves in the world around and know that people of color, people who identify as LGBTQ+, and non-white, non-binary individuals are valued and whose voice demands to be heard!
By elevating our voices and telling our stories we all play an important role in making this happen.
Check out the links below to learn more: Scoochie & Skiddles website: https://www.scoochieandskiddles.com/ Scoochie’s Adoption Story: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09RG5HZJ2 Fun at Gramma’s: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1612254713 CBS Philly news broadcast: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ECCdc6M54GM Reflection Press article: https://reflectionpress.com/childrens-books-radicalact/
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