Every night my partner and I sit down with our 9-month old daughter, Ava and read her three bedtime stories. The first two vary nightly, but we always end with the same one: “Mommy, Mama and Me.” It is short, cute, and ends with “Mommy and Mama kiss me goodnight” which of course we follow by both giving her goodnight kisses. We love this book because it not only has two moms, but it uses the diminutives that we go by (I am Mommy, my partner is Mama). We decided to read this nightly so she is constantly hearing these two names and when she gradually begins to understand the words to her stories, “Mommy” and “Mama” together in the same story will be just as familiar to her and representative of her life as hearing “Mommy” and “Daddy” is to other children.
As familiar as that story will be to Ava, the truth is that LGBT-parent themed books aren’t easy to come by. After digging deep and doing some research, I did come up with several others (on Amazon, of course, not in mainstream bookstores), but even within these, it is difficult for us gay parents to find ones that use the names that we use for ourselves as parents. (I question whether or not a book about two “mommies” may be confusing to Ava, as in her eyes, she has only one “mommy.” The other is “Mama,” duh!)
Below is a short list I’ve put together of books that either reference gay families or are about LGBT parents. I haven’t actually read them all; the descriptions are stolen straight from Amazon (where I encourage you to buy these books used from other gay parents whose children have outgrown them).
The Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, Bisexual Community Center has also developed a nice, comprehensive list of gay parent AND gay character themed books for kids, separated by age group which is super helpful if you have school age kids. And speaking of schools, you can also check out the Department of Education’s list of LGBT books that have been approved for New York City’s school libraries.
Books about having same-sex parents
Mommy, Mama and Me & Daddy, Papa and Me
(Two separate books; same description on Amazon)
Rhythmic text and illustrations with universal appeal show a toddler spending the day with its mommies. From hide-and-seek to dress-up, then bath time and a kiss goodnight, there’s no limit to what a loving family can do together. Shares the loving bond between same-sex parents and their children.
And Tango Makes Three
This tale based on a true story about a charming penguin family living in New York City’s Central Park Zoo will capture the hearts of penguin lovers everywhere. Roy and Silo, two male penguins, are “a little bit different.” They cuddle and share a nest like the other penguin couples, and when all the others start hatching eggs, they want to be parents, too. Determined and hopeful, they bring an egg-shaped rock back to their nest and proceed to start caring for it. They have little luck, until a watchful zookeeper decides they deserve a chance at having their own family and gives them an egg in need of nurturing. The dedicated and enthusiastic fathers do a great job of hatching their funny and adorable daughter, and the three can still be seen at the zoo today. Done in soft watercolors, the illustrations set the tone for this uplifting story, and readers will find it hard to resist the penguins’ comical expressions. The well-designed pages perfectly marry words and pictures, allowing readers to savor each illustration. An author’s note provides more information about Roy, Silo, Tango, and other chinstrap penguins. This joyful story about the meaning of family is a must for any library
A Tale of Two Mommies
A Tale of Two Mommies is a beach conversation among three children. One boy asks another boy about having two mommies. A young girl listening in asks some questions too.
True to a child’s curiosity, practical questions follow. “Which mom is there when you want to go fishing? Which mom helps out when Kitty goes missing?” To which he answers: “Mommy helps when I want to go fishing. Both Mommies help when Kitty goes missing.”
This book lets us look inside one non-traditional family, a same sex couple and their son. As the children talk, it’s clear this boy lives in a nurturing environment where the biggest issues are the everyday challenges of growing up.
A Tale of Two Daddies
In an affectionate story of adoption in a gay family, a small girl answers a friend’s questions about what it is like to have two fathers. The boy asks: “Which dad would build your home in a tree? And which dad helps when you skin your knee?” And the girl answers: “Poppa’s the one who builds in a tree. Daddy’s the one who fixes my knee.” The simple, immediate rhymes are illustrated with digitally touched linoleum prints in bright colors and thick black lines that show the friends at play, as well as cozy scenarios of the girl in her nurturing home.
Oh the Things Mommies Do. What could be Better than Having Two?
A playful celebration of Lesbian Mothers and their children! Oh The Things Mommies Do! is a bouncy, and playful look at the joys of a two Mom family. With its catchy rhymes and vibrant illustrations, it is a pleasure for children and parents alike!
The Different Dragon
This bedtime story about bedtime stories shows how the wonderful care and curiosity of a little boy, with some help from his willing moms, can lead to magical and unexpected places. Join Noah and his cat, Diva, on this nighttime adventure and you too will leave with an unforgettable new dragon friend!
In Our Mothers’ House
Marmee, Meema, and the kids are just like any other family on the block. In their beautiful house, they cook dinner together, they laugh together, and they dance together. But some of the other families don’t accept them. They say they are different. How can a family have two moms and no dad? But Marmee and Meema’s house is full of love. And they teach their children that different doesn’t mean wrong. And no matter how many moms or dads they have, they are everything a family is meant to be.
Heather Has Two Mommies
The first lesbian-themed children’s book ever published, Lesléa Newman’s groundbreaking children’s book has an enduring message about acceptance and tolerance that will appeal to readers of all ages and backgrounds: The most important thing about any family is that all the people in it love each other.
Emma and Meesha My Boy: A Two Mom Story
This is a delightful story of little girl with two moms as she learns how to be nice to her cat. Follow along as Emma gets in trouble trying to play with Meesha Kitty and cheer as she learns to treat him with care.
One Dad, Two Dads, Brown Dad, Blue Dads
Two children—one with blue dads, one from a more traditional family—compare notes in this light-hearted book about parents who are different. In the end, of course, they discover that blue dads aren’t really that different from other dads. Except for one thing.
The members of Ms. Marston’s kindergarten class are cleaning and decorating their room for the upcoming Open School Night. Molly and Tommy work on drawing pictures to put on the walls. Molly draws her family: Mommy, Mama Lu, and her puppy, Sam. But when Tommy looks at her picture, he tells her it’s not of a family. “You can’t have a mommy and a mama,” he says. Molly doesn’t know what to think; no one else in her class has two mothers. She isn’t sure she wants her picture to be on the wall for Open School Night.
Your Daddies Love You!: A Rhyming Picture Book for Children of Gay Parents
Using simple rhymes and colorful illustrations, babies and toddlers aren’t the only ones who will enjoy this Read Together book! With emphasis placed on the nouns, your child can make the valuable connection between the word and the animal.
The Family Book
The Family Book celebrates the love we feel for our families and all the different varieties they come in. Whether you have two moms or two dads, a big family or a small family, a clean family or a messy one, Todd Parr assures readers that no matter what kind of family you have, every family is special in its own unique way.