The Zero Dads Club (2015) written by Angel Adeyoha and illustrated by Aubrey Williams is a delightful Flamingo Press publication that celebrates multiple family forms. The story unfolds around Father’s Day. Two children with dark brown skin sit next to each other at a desk. One, Akilah, complains to the other, her friend Kai, about painting an image of a tie. She is upset because their families do not include fathers. The activist minded Akilah suggests they protest Father’s Day. Instead of a protest, they decide to start a club, which they name the Moms Only Club. They quickly change the name to the Zero Dads Club to account for the club’s growing membership. Some members do not have moms or dads.
The group of first graders meet to support one another and make cards for the grown-ups they love. A celebration of multiple family forms ensues. Cards are created for a transgender mom, lesbian moms, and a single mom as well as an abuela and tia.
The diversity of the children characters the story focuses on is as stellar as the diversity of family forms. Many different races are represented as well as a child who uses a wheelchair.
A great book to have and share in classrooms around Father’s Day! I love Akilah. Her self-advocacy and proactive problem solving are admirable. A fun, celebratory read.
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!