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.
"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.
"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."
"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.
"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.
"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.
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.
"O Cavaleiro E O Lobisomem" ("The Knight and the Werewolf") by 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
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