Change the World

These 8 Books Will Make the Perfect Gift for the Gay Dad in Your Life

So many good LGBTQ parenting and children's books came out this year! We're thrilled with all the options, but here are our top 8 of the year. Pick one (or all 8) up for the gay dad in your life!

Here are a roundup of some of our favorite books from the past year. From one gay dad's memoir on overcoming homelessness, abuse and neglect to founding a not-for-profit for foster kids, to children's books written by gay dads, to a collection of stories from the perspective of kids of gay families - we've got your Christmas book list right here!


"Rebel Dad: Triumphing Over Bureaucracy to Adopt to Orphans Born Worlds Apart" by David McKinstry

David McKinstry set a legal precedent in 1997 as the first openly gay Canadian man approved to adopt internationally. A few years later, with his second husband, Michael, he did so again when they became the first gay Canadian couple to co-adopt children.

Read an excerpt from the first chapter of his new book here. It's 1998 and David finds himself in India. While in India, David visits several orphanages with his guide, Vinod, on his quest to adopt. With Indian adoption officials being extremely homophobic at the time, David could not reveal that he was a gay man.

Purchase your copy here.

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"Raised by Unicorns - Stories From People with LGBTQ+ Parents" by Frank Lowe

Frank Lowe, known on Instagram as @GayAtHomeDad, has carefully edited an anthology titled Raised by Unicorns: Stories from People with LGBTQ+ Parents. It reflects on the upbringing of children in many different forms of LBGTQ+ families - a subject that before now has rarely been discussed. Frank saw this current political climate as a time that is especially important to highlight stories from diverse families, rather than continually sweep them under the rug. From Baby Boomers to Generation Z, it features stories that are moving, visceral and raw. It's not always pretty, but love is always the common thread.

If you are currently an LGBTQ+ parent, about to be one, or considering being one - this book is a must-have. It sheds light on the flip side of parenting, and provides a moving snapshot of the world we're living in now.

Purchase your copy here.

Read more here...

"The 2 Boys Who Wanted to Become Daddies" by Gay Parents Books

Pascal and Sylvain are a French couple who have been together for 15 years, and became dads to twins via surrogacy in Canada. During the process they tried to find best ways to explain surrogacy to their family members, especially their young nephews. They looked for children books to easily depict surrogacy, but apart from stories with kangaroos and penguins, the choice was very limited. So they decided to create their own illustrated children's book to read it to their daughters and their families.

"The story is not necessarily ours, because our own journey had many obstacles: four failed transfers, and other disappointments which we did not want to put this in the book. Therefore, it is really a children's book for all families (gay or not) who wish to explain how two dads have babies by surrogacy."

Purchase your copy here.

Read more here...

"Promised Land" by Adam Reynolds and Chaz Harris

"Promised Land" is a children's book with a gay storyline created by Adam Reynolds and Chaz Harris.

As the Odyssey reviewer Cassandra Burge says: "This story has all of the elements of a great children's book; adventure, an evil villain, a brave hero and even a cute animal sidekick. It also happens to have two male characters that fall in love."

In "Promised Land," a young prince named Leo and a farm boy named Jack meet by chance in the Enchanted Forest; their newfound friendship soon blossoms into love. However, things get complicated when the Queen's sinister new husband seeks control of the forest the farm boy's family are responsible for protecting.

Purchase your copy here.

Read more here...

"What Does a Princess Really Look Like?" by Mark Loewen

In his debut children's picture book, gay dad Mark Loewen tells an important story that celebrates girl power and moves us to value the courage, determination, kindness, assertiveness, and "smarts" over beauty. Perfect for fans of The Paper Bag Princess and Do Princesses Wear Hiking Boots?, What Does a Princess Really Look Like? challenges gender stereotypes showing girls it's not how they look but what they do for others that matters.

Purchase your copy here.

Read more here...

"The First Man on the Moon" by Laurent Pehem

The First Man on the Moon is a riveting story that will keep you on the edge of your seat, a true page-turner, full of unexpected twists. There are upheavals, escapes and near-misses, losses and gains, but never does Laurent loses sight of his ultimate objective: a baby.

Laurent and Harry want a baby. Easier said than done for a gay couple. When their adoption application is rejected, the two men embark on an insane four-year, four-clinic, four-egg-donor, nine-surrogate adventure.

Their journey takes them to Bangkok, where they must navigate the shambles of Thailand's big fertility business. From Baby Gammy, a Thai surrogacy baby born with Down syndrome and allegedly abandoned by his Australian intended parents, to the visiting Japanese millionaire trying to father a thousand babies, the Thailand surrogacy microcosm has its share of scandals and oddities.

Things become even more complicated when a military junta abolishes democracy in the name of love and declares surrogacy out of bounds. Doctors refuse to examine surrogate mothers and would-be parents of surrogacy babies find themselves stranded in Bangkok, unsure if they'll be able to bring their children home.

Laurent and Harry's yearning for a family is enduring, but as they encounter unscrupulous surrogacy agents and try to play according to the rules, miscarriages and heartbreak, the likelihood of becoming parents is far from certain.

The First Man on the Moon is a true story.

Purchase your copy here.

A Forever Family: Fostering Change One Child at a Time

Rob Scheer never thought that he would be living the life he is now. He's happily married to his partner and love of his life, he's the father of four beautiful children, and he's the founder of an organization that makes life better for thousands of children in the foster care system.

But life wasn't always like this.

Growing up in an abusive household before his placement in foster care, Rob had all the odds stacked against him. Kicked out of his foster family's home within weeks after turning eighteen—with a year left of high school to go—he had to resort to sleeping in his car and in public bathrooms. He suffered from drug addiction and battled with depression, never knowing when his next meal would be or where he would sleep at night. But by true perseverance, he was able to find his own path and achieve his wildest dreams.

Poignant, gripping and inspiring, Rob's story provides a glimpse into what it's like to grow up in the foster care system, and sheds necessary light on the children who are often treated without dignity. Both a timely call to action and a courageous and candid account of life in the foster care system, A Forever Family ultimately leaves you with one message: one person can make a difference.

Purchase your copy here.

"O Cavaleiro E O Lobisomem" ("The Knight and the Werewolf") by Alexandre de Souza Amorim

"Every parent should remember that with their support their children can find the path of their happiness faster." - Alexandre de Souza Amorim

The book tells the story of young Kevin, who dreams of becoming a knight of his kingdom. When that dream comes true, Kevin is named the bravest knight in his kingdom. But being brave does not mean that you are not afraid of anything, but that you can face even your greatest fears. And it is facing his fear of Werewolves that Kevin meets Prince Noah. Friendship soon becomes love. It is a book about courage, love and with a great sensitivity to teach children that there are many possibilities to exist and to love.

Note: this book is in Portuguese

Purchase your copy here.

Read more...

Every book or product on Gays With Kids is independently selected by our staff, writers and experts. If you click on a link on our site and buy something, we may earn an affiliate commission.

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Guest post Tracey Wimperly

I've recently written a children's picture book (aimed at 2-4 year olds) called "Fridays with Fitz: Fitz Goes to the Pool." Every Friday - when his two dads go to work - Fitz and his grandparents (my husband, Steve and I) head off on an adventure. Through the eyes of a curious and energetic 3 year old, even ordinary adventures, like riding the bus or foraging for fungus in the forest can be fun and magical.

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Many of us thought long and hard about what avenues were best to pursue being a dad. For me, fostering to adoption was the selected road. There is no roadmap here, many things that came my way were learned by doing. Along the way, I started wishing I had a better support group or people who could understand what it's like to be gay and attempting to adopt. Often we (people who are LGBT) feel scrutinized and judged for choices that the majority makes but for us there is pushback. Once my adoption was complete, I felt it was necessary that I put pen to paper and write this story, from a gay male perspective.

My goal was to provide a voice in the space of foster care and adoption where there is a void. Additionally, I wanted to provide an authentic look at all facets of the process, from the kids, to the obstacles and challenges that happened within my personal life. I do hope you enjoy and more importantly can relate or prepare yourself for a similar journey.

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The new sperm bank, Sperm Positive, launched on World Aids Day this year by three non-profits as a way to fight stigma surrounding HIV and parenthood. For years, scientists have known that those living with an undetectable level of HIV in their blood thanks to antiretroviral treatments can't transmit the virus through sex or childbirth. Yet discrimination and stigma persists.

The sperm bank exists online only, but will connect donors and those seeking donations with fertility banks once a connection is made on their site. Sperm Positive was started by three New Zealand non-profits — Body Positive, the New Zealand Aids Foundation and Positive Women Inc. — who hope the project will help disseminate science-backed education and information about HIV and parenthood.

Already, three HIV positive men have signed up to serve as donors, including Damien Rule-Neal who spoke to the NZ Herald about his reasons for getting involved in the project. "I want people to know life doesn't stop after being diagnosed with HIV and that it is safe to have children if you're on treatment," he told the Herald. "I've experienced a lot of stigma living with HIV, both at work and in my personal life that has come from people being misinformed about the virus."

We applaud the effort all around! To read more about our own efforts to end the stigma surround HIV and parenthood, check out our recent round-up of family profiles, resources, and expert advice that celebrate the experience of gay dads living with HIV here.

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Top 10 Reasons You Should Date a Gay Dad

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We're gay dads. Many of us were married to women, and for various reasons we eventually found ourselves single and looking for companionship from another man. Life is a little more complicated for us because we have kids. But that shouldn't deter you from seeking a relationship with a gay dad. In fact, there are many reasons why we make better partners than men without children. We are generally more mature, responsible, and emotionally available. We are also better communicators.

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'Homosexuality is Wrong' Utah Teacher Tells Boy Who Gave Thanks for His Two Adoptive Dads

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To anyone with a heart, the moment should have done nothing more than bring a tear to the eye. Last week, just before the Thanksgiving break, a substitute teacher in a fifth grade class in Cedar Hills, Utah — just south of Salt Lake City — asked her students to name something they were thankful for this holiday season.

"I'm thankful for finally being adopted by my two dads," said Daniel, one of the boys, when it was his turn.

Rather than grab a tissue to dab her eyes, or ask the classroom to join her in a hearty round of applause to celebrate Daniel finding his forever family, the teacher took it upon herself to impart her personal religious beliefs onto the young boy. "Homosexuality is wrong," the teacher said in front of the class, adding that it was "sinful" for two men to live together.

The teacher, fortunately, was fired from Kelly Services, the substitute staffing company that employed her, quickly after the incident, but the moment is nonetheless receiving widespread attention in the press — no doubt in part because one of the boy's dads, Louis van Amstel of "Dancing With the Stars," posted a video clip to his 76,000 Twitter followers with the title: "Our child was bullied."

"It shouldn't matter if you're gay, straight, bisexual, black and white," he said to the New York Times in a follow up interview. "If you're adopting a child and if that child goes to a public school, that teacher should not share her opinion about what she thinks we do in our private life."

Louis also revealed that the moment may not have come to light were it not for three of his son's classmates, who told the principal about the teacher's bigoted comments. His son, Daniel, didn't want to report the incident for fear of getting the teacher into trouble.

Louis expressed thanks that the staffing company responded as quickly as it did following the incident — and also stressed that his neighbors and community have rallied behind he and his family in the days afterward, offering support. He wanted to dispel stereotypes that Utah, because of its social conservatism and religiosity, was somehow inherently prejudiced.

"It doesn't mean that all of Utah is now bad," he told the Times. "This is one person."

It's also true that this type of prejudice is in no way limited to so-called red states, and incidents like these happen daily. LGBTQ parents and our children are subjected to homophobic and transphobic comments in schools, hospitals, stores, airlines and elsewhere as we simply go about living our lives. These moments so often fly under the radar — many classmates don't have the courage, as they fortunately did in this case, to report wrongdoing. Some administrators are far less responsive than they were here — and most of us don't have 76,000 Twitter followers to help make these moments of homophobia a national story.

All that aside, let's also get back to what should have been nothing more than a heartwarming moment — Daniel, a fifth grade boy, giving thanks to finally being legally adopted into a loving family.

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December 1st is World AIDS Day — a day to unite in our collective fight to end the epidemic, remember those we've lost, and bring much needed attention and money to support those who continue to live with HIV and AIDS. For us at Gays With Kids, it's also a time to lift up and celebrate the experiences of fathers, so many of who never thought they'd see the day where they would be able to start families.

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Fatherhood, the gay way

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