Isla’s Family Tree (2020), written by Katrina McKelvey and illustrated by Prue Pittock, is a warm and inviting story that manages to be both minimalist and richly specific. The red-haired title character is not excited that her mother is about to give birth to twins. She tells her parents that their family is large enough as is. Her mother patiently and lovingly explains that families, like trees, grow. Continue reading
James LaCroce’s self-published children’s picture book, Chimpy Discovers His Family (2010), is the story of a misfit chimp who prefers banana facials to banana fights. He meets a gay couple, Juan and Benji, while they vacation on his “island.”
The couple takes him on several adventures and soon decide to adopt him, however, the adoption agency rejects their appeal, because they are gay. Continue reading
The White Swan Express: A Story About Adoption (2002), written by Jean Davies Okimoto and Elaine M. Aoki and illustrated by Meilo So, is a story about international adoption that focuses on four North American families bringing their adopted daughters’ home from China. Continue reading
What Are Parents? (2004), written by Kyme and Susan Fox-Lee and illustrated by Randy Jennings, is one example of a surge of books featuring lesbian and gay parents that arose in the early-2000s. It is deliberate and thorough in its depiction of diverse family forms as well as religious and ethnic diversity. Continue reading
Felicia’s Favorite Story (2002), written by Lesléa Newman and illustrated by Adriana Romo, nestles one family’s origin story in a snapshot of their bedtime routine. At the story’s opening, two moms clean their kitchen as their daughter, Felicia, plays with a puzzle. Soon it is the little girl’s bedtime.
Mama Linda tells Felicia she’ll read her a book if she gets ready for bed quickly, and Mama Nessa promises to join them soon. Continue reading
In Our Mother’s House (2009) by Patricia Polacco is the story of two women who love each other and the family they create together. It’s told in the first-person by one of the couple’s three adopted children who nostalgically recollects her childhood. Polacco’s illustrations are thick with detail, and thoughtfully depict the snapshots of family life narrated. There is no plot, and other than a grumpy homophobic neighbor, there is no conflict. Instead, the story reads like one side of a conversation intimately and slowly told. Reading it seems a bit like eavesdropping. Continue reading
Published by New Family Press, How My Family Came to Be – Daddy, Papa and Me (2003) is written by Andrew R. Aldrich and illustrated by Mike Motz.
Two white men adopt a black baby whose mother is described as too ill to care for him. The adoption process is touched on – the two men meet with a social worker and have their home inspected before they can adopt. The love they feel for their adopted child and the care they provide is emphasized. Continue reading