Guest post written by Gemma Denham.
Let me begin by introducing myself. My name is Gemma, I am an author/illustrator, and I was married to my ex-husband for 4 years. Why, you might ask then, am I writing on a gay website? I am straight, but as it turned out, my husband was not. Just over 8 years ago, after sharing 9 wonderful years together, my husband broke down to me and came out. It was just a short few weeks before the birth of our son. We of course split, but remained close – it's important to both of us that our son has both of his parents in his life.
As our son began to get older we both looked for books aimed at children with same sex parents and found a real lack in the market. We didn't want anything explanatory, just a nice story book like those he normally read and would be read to him, something to normalize his family. And so the idea for 'Me, Daddy & Dad' was born. If we were struggling, surely other parents were too?
One of the nice things about children's books is that they build self-confidence by normalizing children's experiences. Just as children with heterosexual parents read books that mirror their families without making the parents' relationship the focus of the book, children of same-sex parents benefit from reading books that feature families like theirs.
'Me, Daddy & Dad' doesn't 'teach' the reader about alternative families. It simply includes them like any other story book about a mummy and daddy would. The story focuses on Emily, a normal everyday little girl, doing normal everyday things with her parents and their puppy Max.
Everyone should have a chance to see their family represented in the books they read, however many mums or dads they have. All families should be celebrated, and all children should be taught that families come in so many different combinations.
I have of course written a sister title to this book, 'Me, Mummy & Mum', which I hope to launch early next year. I am very excited and proud of these books, and I have to say the response I have had so far has been amazing! So much support, and so many comments – all of which have been positive which is fantastic!