‘“One mum and one dad isn’t what every family has. I have two dads who love each other”, replied Matilda’. From The Girl with Two Dads by Mel Elliott
June is Pride month and we are thrilled to share a fantastic range of joyful stories and heartfelt tales that celebrate and promote inclusivity, kindness and acceptance. These heart-warming stories with powerful messages explore identity and highlight diversity, but most of all, these stories celebrate family in all its glorious forms.
2+: Baby’s First Words by Christiane Engel is a wonderful board book for all families, in which the baby’s parents are a same-sex interracial couple. Justin Richardson, Peter Parnell and Henry Cole’s collaboration, And Tango Makes Three is a modern classic based on the true story of two male penguins creating a family. Young readers will also love Fabulous Frankie by Simon James Green and Garrry Parsons especially the flamboyant illustrations which are a riot of colour.
5–8: Julian Is a Mermaid is a magnificent celebration of how to express yourself and become comfortable in your own skin. The Bread Pet: A Sourdough Story by Kate DePalma, illustrated by Nelleke Verhoeff, is an amusing tale. Join Stella and her two dads as they discover a special way to celebrate Mother’s Day in Stella Brings the Family by Miriam B. Schiffer, with touching and playful illustrations by Holly Clifton-Brown. The Girl with Two Dads by Mel Elliott is about new friends and family.
For age 9+, Proud of Me by Sarah Hagger-Holt and To Night Owl from Dogfish by Holly Goldberg Sloan and Meg Wolitzer are both warm, funny and thought-provoking stories. The Lotterys Plus One written by Emma Donoghue and illustrated by Caroline Hadilaksono is a funny story about family dynamics. The incredible The Sleeper and the Spindle is an exceptional book based on fairy tales with a twist by the award-winning duo Neil Gaiman and Chris Riddell. Meg Grehan’s award-winning The Deepest Breath is an astounding verse novel, and Benjamin Dean’s Me, My Dad and the End of the Rainbow with illustrations by Sandhya Prabhat is a compelling story.
Check out the Children’s Books Ireland and An Post Rainbow Reads reading list over on www.childrensbooksireland.ie for more recommendations.
Síne Quinn, a Children’s Books Ireland book doctor, is the managing editor at Cubicle 7 and creative writing facilitator, whose début Holy Shocking Saints: The Extraordinary Lives of Twelve Irish Saints is illustrated by Margaret Anne Suggs and published by Veritas.
The Girl with Two Dads by Mel Elliott, Egmont Publishing, ISBN 9781405292436
Pearl is excited to meet Matilda, the new girl in her school. Pearl is thrilled that her new friend loves doing all the things she does, but Pearl realises something, ‘Pearl noticed that this dad was different … to yesterday’s dad’. Matilda explains that families can be different and that she has two dads who love each other. This is a warm, simple and charming story that touches on diversity, acceptance and understanding. The vibrant, expressive illustrations add a layer of fun and joy and the endpapers show a range of diverse families, which is perfect for opening up a discussion. 3–5
The Bread Pet: A Sourdough Story by Kate DePalma, illustrated by Nelleke Verhoeff, Barefoot Books, ISBN 9781646860654
When Cora’s uncle JB visits, he brings an unusual ‘pet’ for her to mind. With the help of her mum and momma, soon the ‘bread pet’ is multiplying at a rapid rate. Cora discovers that looking after this pet is a lot of work. But with the help of her two mothers, she comes up with a brilliant plan. Verhoeff’s engaging illustrations add to this uplifting story. Packed full of meaning and positive messages – from sharing, acceptance, and creativity to nurturing and good, old fashioned community spirit – this story will charm readers. It will also encourage you to bake! 5–8
Proud of Me by Sarah Haggar-Holt, Usborne Publishing, ISBN 9781474966245
With a focus on LGBTQ
I+ families, Proud of Me is a hopeful, humane story with a focus on Becky, Josh and their family dynamics. The story highlights that, even though the majority of people are accepting and kind, unfortunately there’s still some prejudice out there. Touching on many themes and complicated issues, including gender, family status, sexual orientation and religion, Sarah Haggar-Holt’s Proud of Me is a book to be celebrated. 9–11
Me, My Dad and the End of the Rainbow by Benjamin Dean, illustrated by Sandhya Prabhat, Simon & Schuster, ISBN 9781471199738
Unfortunately, Archie Albright can’t travel back in time to sort out his problems, even if it was only three months ago. Tired of the tension and tense atmosphere at home, Archie calls on his best friends, Bell and Seb, to help him mend his fractured family. But they’ll need to break some rules in the process. A journey to London to celebrate Pride becomes an unforgettable adventure and an investigation with an unexpected outcome. With lots of humour, this thoughtful début is a true celebration of family, friendship and love. 9–11