Guest post written by Dan Wellik
Pickles + Ocho is a real life story about two French bulldogs in a family with their two gay dads. It tells the story of how Pickles' life changes once his new "baby brother" Ocho joins his family. The themes in this story are important ones – families come in all shapes and sizes, all families look a little different than the next and diversity and inclusion should be celebrated. I have always felt strongly that children need more exposure to LGBT families and wanted to add my voice to this very important conversation.
I personally love the illustrations in Pickles + Ocho and, being stick figure challenged, I am so grateful to Tou Yia Xiong as his illustrations alone are a powerful message for our children.
Gabino and I have been together for over 7 years and make our home just outside of Minneapolis, Minnesota with the heroes of the story Pickles + Ocho--the loves of our life and protectors of our home. Whether you are gay, straight, trans, or bi, having and creating a family and a place to call home is so important. Pickles + Ocho are what make us a family and have brought Gabino and I closer together and in sync with nurturing our family.
My family also includes a gay sister who is married with 3 children and an older brother married with two girls. From an early age, my nieces and nephew have had exposure to LGBT families, they have never known a world without them. I feel that was crucial in how they see the world today; accepting and loving. These things, coupled with the desire for a career change, inspired me to write a children's book to serve as a resource and give more visibility to LGBT families.
My hope is Pickles + Ocho, and subsequent books in the series (stay tuned!) will help teach our children diversity and inclusion and become a resource for all families.