John Farrell’s Dear Child (2008)

Dear Child (2008), written by John Farrell and illustrated by Maurie J. Manning, is a sweet and simple story about the love parents feel for their children. The narrative lyrically unfolds as a letter from a parent to a child. Diverse and inclusive images of families demonstrate the universality of parental love.

On one page, a lesbian couple hold their daughter’s hands while they walk across the beach. In another, a single father cuddles his baby. In a third, a heterosexual family is on a camping trip. The families often appear together, sharing space, and emphasizing the shared experience of love for a child.

I enjoyed the diversity represented, families include black, white, and Asian members. I also appreciated the inclusion of several family forms, especially a single father, which is quite rare to see in children’s books.

The lyricism of the text and warmth of the illustrations make this the perfect bedtime story that can be enjoyed time and time again by all our families!

This review is part of my “Snapshots of LGBTQ Kid Lit” project. I’m working on a book, The New Queer Children’s Literature: Exploring the Principles and Politics of LGBTQ* Children’s Picture Books, which is under contract with the University Press of Mississippi. Part of my research is identifying and interpreting English-language children’s picture books with LGBTQ* content published in the US and Canada between 1979 and 2019. Follow my blog to follow my journey!

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