What to Buy

Sick of Switching Genders on Their Daughter's Kids Books, These Moms Created Their Own

Keren Moran, co-founder of Mememe Press, created a customizable line of books that is inclusive of ALL families

Guest post written by Keren Moran Co-founder at mememepress.com

We spent the first 4 years of our daughter's bedtime cheerfully snuggled up reading books, swapping genders and pronouns, populating her picture books with little vignettes of happy gay families like ours. This worked fine until the day she realized Sally and Conrad, the kids in 'The Cat in the Hat' have a mom and a dad (not two moms like us) and was NOT impressed with our deception.

From that point on she took it upon herself to tirelessly police our reading in to the hetero normative narratives that matched the text (what she couldn't read she expertly deduced from the pictures) and most of the representations in the book-world around her.


Thankfully the physical world around her is a better reflection of her family context - our neighborhood in Sydney is beautifully eclectic. In the park near our house you're just as likely to see a gay family doing the family thang as you are seeing someone walking a dog. There is more visible and celebrated diversity than most places I've lived – hooray for that!

But the books… the books that would help her anchor her understanding and sense-making of the world mostly included just that Mom + Dad + kid(s) – triad and with mostly a boy protagonist at that.

When we looked around we noticed it wasn't just our family that wasn't in the stories – all the shapes and sizes that make the modern family – the blended families, the single parent families, those kids that were being raised by grandparents and the rainbow families like us – were all trying to squeeze in to that ever so narrow common denominator. A chat with a publisher friend confirmed the painfully obvious – books are hard to sell and the less risk the better.

Being passionate readers and firm believers in the power of books to convey values and validate a child's sense of self-worth - we decided to stop fibbing. We would create books that could reflect ANY family for the children that lived in it.

And so Mememe Press was born.

Having run a creative agency together for 14 years - Noa (my partner in life and in crime) and I knew we could make Mememe Press fly. We'd dreamt up major creative campaigns and built robust, complex systems for clients – it was time to turn our attentions to a venture of our own.

The technical part of designing and printing one-off quality books for each child was par for the course – but we also knew there are more than a few personalized books out there that snap up the low bearing fruit of a shoehorned personalized name - that's not what we were after.

What we had in mind was personalized children's literature - books that were told with grace and sparkle that could truly take pride of place on any bookshelf – with the added bonus of being so very personal. We approached Kate and Jol Temple, award winning Australian authors whose books have already been read by more than half a million kids to craft a tale that we knew would connect. We then roped in Christopher Cooper – a young-gun illustrator with a lavish illustration style and the organized mind of a detective. Together we worked to create a story that could be broken down to parts and seamlessly put together again - differently for each and every book.

The result - our first title - Ready or not here comes… your name! (for 1-6-year old's) is a heart-warming tale about a kid who looks up from their toys one Sunday morning to discover their family… gone! The story then leads the reader on a romp around the house to find one and all hidden in various places (my favorite is the family member found 'crouched on the couch like an old corn chip'). Both the protagonist and family are depicted as cute monsters in various shades of fur to provide an inclusive visual representation that shifts focus from ethnicity to expression.

So far, the book has been received with much excitement from ALL types of families all over the world. @twopoofsandapudding – a two dad family with their little son 'pudding' shared this delightful reading moment:

We absolutely love this book! Reading it with our son who is 2 is such a joy. Every time we read it and say his name he gets so excited and shouts his name too. Also when he sees that his two daddies are in the book he looks at us both with the biggest smile on his face. Reading it with his cousins is funny as they are shocked pudding has his very own book. They know he is special the way he came into our life through adoption but this book makes them think he is super special.

and… Kim Kardashian loved her copy with her 4 little ones as well as Kanye, Aunty Khloe and grandma (Lovey) so much she posted about it to her 140 million followers – there is just something so magical about finding your very own family in a book – and not just for the kids!

To buy your personalized copy of the book – head over to www.mememepress.com

And in honor of Pride last month - use ReadWithPride at checkout for 20% off

Recently, Mememe Press published the book with a number of different family structures as paperbacks on Amazon. Check them out below and see if they work for your family.

Two dads + Boy protagonist (James): James's family includes 2 Dads, a twin brother and a baby sister.

Two dads + Girl protagonist (Olivia): Olivia's family includes 2 Dads, an Aunt a big brother and a baby sister.

Two Moms + Girl protagonist (Emma): Emma's family includes 2 Moms, a little brother and a dog.

Two Moms + Boy protagonist (Lucas): Lucas's family includes 2 Moms, a big sister, a little sister, Grandma and Grandpa.

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Change the World

This LGBTQ Children's Book Is About "Everyday Adventures"

"Little Panda's First Picnic," is a children's book that's about an adventure — where the parents just happen to be LGBTQ.

Guest post written by Denise Sensiba

When was the last time you read a book to your child that didn't make a big deal about the parents being LGBT and instead just followed the family on their everyday adventures? Or when was the last time you read a children's picture book that was explaining in detail what a heterosexual couple is? Probably never.

As a parent, prior nanny, early childhood music educator, and current psychotherapist, I have read my fair share of children's books and have always found it to be an enjoyable part of my life. Unfortunately, LGBT families have an incredibly small fraction of the children's books market. The few books that I encountered about same-sex parents did not follow the family as a normal family but focused on nothing more than the same-sex parents. They don't take you on adventures, or teach everyday educational lessons that our children need. Some of these books even deliver a weird message in between the lines saying, "see, same-sex couples can be loving parents." I wondered how that is teaching our kids that there is nothing unusual about LGBT families?

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What to Buy

A Gift Guide for LGBTQ Inclusive Children's Books

Need some ideas for good LGBTQ-inclusive children's books? Look no further than our gift guide!

Every year we see more books released that feature our families, and we're here for it! We're especially excited for the day when diverse and LGBTQ+ inclusive books are less of "the odd one out" and rather considered part of every kids' everyday literacy.

To help us reach that day, we need to keep supporting our community and allies who write these stories. So here's a list of some of the great books that need to be in your library, and gifts to the other kids in your lives.

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Gay Dad Life

Karamo Brown Co-Writes Children's Book with Son, Jason

The 'Queer Eye' star and his son named the story on a family mantra: You are Perfectly Designed

When his sons, Jason and Chris, were young, "Queer Eye" Star Karamo Brown repeated the same saying to them: "You are perfectly designed."

That mantra is now a Children's Book, cowritten by Karamo and his 22-year-old son, Jason, who used to come how and "say things like, 'I don't want to be me, I wish I was someone else, I wish I had a different life." As a parent, that "broke my heart," Karamo told Yahoo! Lifestyle. "I would say to him, 'You are blessed and you are perfect just the way you are,' as a reminder that you have been given so much and you should be appreciative and know that you're enough — I know that the world will try to tear you down, but if you can say to yourself, 'I am perfectly designed,' maybe it can quiet out some of those negative messages."

The illustrations, by Anoosha Syed, also make a point of displaying families of a variety of races and sexual orientations throughout the book.

Read more about Karamo's fascinating path to becoming a gay dad here, and then check out the video below that delves deeper into the inspiration behind "You Are Perfectly Designed," available on Amazon.



Diary of a Newly Out Gay Dad

A Gay Chiropractor Explains Why He Came Out to His Patients

After Cameron Call, a chiropractor, came out to his family this past year, he knew he had one more step to take — he had to come out to his patients

Fear is an interesting thing. It motivates when it shouldn't, shows at inconvenient times, and is the author of stories that do nothing but hold us back. I would argue though, too, that fear has some good qualities. I believe it helps us to feel. And I think it can be a great teacher as we learn to recognize and face it.

For years fear prevented me from embracing my truth and accepting a large part of who I am. I know I am not alone in that regard. But for so long my fear convinced me that I was. Fear is what kept me from ever telling my parents or anyone growing up that I am gay. Fear mingled with strong religious teachings, embraced at a young age, which led me to believe that I could cure myself of my attractions to the same gender. And fear is a part of what kept me in my marriage to a woman for over ten years.

Only so much growth and learning can occur when we limit ourselves to our fears. If people never did anything they were afraid to do, life would be incredibly boring and far too predictable. At some point we must face the things we fear and just go for it not knowing what will happen next.

After finally coming out to my ex-wife after ten years of marriage (see previous articles for that story), and eventually telling my family I knew there was one more step I needed to make.

I am a business owner. I am a structural chiropractor and am highly specialized in my field. Nearly four years ago I opened my own clinic, Horizon Chiropractic Center, in Phoenix, Arizona. I poured my whole heart, body, and soul into the creation of my practice and its growth. Opening a business fresh out of school is no simple task and I worked hard to build my practice with close relationships and word of mouth referrals. I established myself as an expert and built a strong reputation as a family man, and my ex-wife and kids were the face of my practice.

I loved and do love every person who has ever come into my office and treat them like family. We laugh together during visits, celebrate wins, cry together, often hug, and cheer each other on regarding various things in our life. That's also a large part of who I am: a people person. I enjoy spending quality time with those I am privileged to help. No one comes in my office and only sees me for 2-5 minutes.

Even though there was so much good that I had built into my brand and reputation fear eventually found its way into my business too. I was afraid of what would happen if people found out the truth. Would they be okay with having a gay chiropractor? Would they still trust me to be able to help them? Of course, the story in my head I was telling myself was much bigger and badder than it needed to be.

When we decided to get a divorce, I felt strongly that I needed to face these fears and begin telling a number of patients the truth of what was happening in my life. I know in reality it is no one's business but my own. However, I felt like I needed to let my patients who had become like family to me truly see me for who I am, and who I always was. And so slowly, case by case, I began to tell a select number of people.

I'll never forget the first patient I told. She had been coming in for years and was bringing her son in to see me who is on the autism spectrum. It was the day after my ex-wife and I decided to get a divorce and she could tell something heavy was on my mind. I eventually came out to her. The first words out of her mouth were "I am so proud of you!" We cried and hugged and it was the complete opposite of what I ever expected. And it was perfect. I felt loved. I felt accepted. I felt seen.

As time went on it got easier. And overall the responses were all completely positive and supportive. Out of all the patients I told and those who found out from other circles, only three stopped coming in to see me. Since coming out, my office has grown tremendously. My reputation hasn't changed. If anything, it's solidified. I can't help but think that part of that is due to finally embracing all of me and allowing others the same opportunity.

I read somewhere once that you never really stop coming out of the closet. And I've noticed that too. Sure, not everyone needs to know; it isn't everyone's business. And I hope that one day we live in a time period where fear doesn't prevent anyone from being seen. I want to contribute to the upward trajectory I think our society is headed of understanding, acceptance, support, and equality.

I would love to be able to say that after coming out publicly I no longer feel fear; but I do. And I think in some ways I always will no matter what. But that's part of life, right? Recognizing fear when we have it but then choosing to move forward out of love – love for others, but maybe more importantly love for ourselves.

Personal Essays by Gay Dads

A Gay Dad Gains Clarity After a Health Scare

A recent health scare helped give Erik Alexander clarity.

Sometimes fear can cripple the mind and hinder ones judgement. Having children of my own, I have come to grips with accepting the things I cannot change and learned to take action when there is no other choice. When it comes to my own personal health, the future and well being of my family gives me all the clarity I need to make the right decision about any kind of health scare.

This episode is dedicated to all the parents out there that are going through or have gone through similar situations.

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Gay Dad Family Stories

This European Couple Became Dads Through a U.K.-Based Surrogacy Program

Janno, from Estonia, and Matthias, from Belgium, were accepted into the "Childlessness Overcome Through Surrogacy" Program.

Janno Talu, an accountant, and Matthias Nijs, an art gallery director, were born in different parts of Europe. Janno, 39, is from Estonia, and Matthias, 28, is from Belgium. Their paths crossed when the two moved to London, each from their different corners of the European Union.

Janno relocated to London earlier than Matthias, when he was 24, and his main reason for the move was his sexuality. "Although Estonia is considered one of the more progressive countries in Eastern Europe, when it comes to gay rights, it is still decades behind Western society in terms of tolerance," said Janno. "And things are not moving in the right direction." In 2016, same-sex civil union became legal, but the junior party in the current coalition government is seeking to repeal the same-sex partnership bill. "In addition," Janno continued, "they wish to include the definition of marriage as a union between a man and a woman in the country's constitution. Even today, there are people in Estonia who liken homosexuality to pedophilia, which is why I decided to start a new life in the UK, where I could finally be myself."

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Surrogacy for Gay Men

Interested in Surrogacy? Check Out These Bay Area Events This Weekend

If you're in the Bay Area this weekend, two major events are happening that will be of interest for dads-to-be and surrogacy advocates: the Men Having Babies San Francisco Conference, and the SF Advocacy and Research Forum for Surrogacy and LGBT Parenting (ARF)

If you're in San Francisco or the surrounding area, clear your calendar this weekend. Two events are happening simultaneously that are significant for dads-to-be AND surrogacy advocates: the Men Having Babies San Francisco Conference, and the SF Advocacy and Research Forum for Surrogacy and LGBT Parenting (ARF). For an outlines of both events, check out below.

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Fatherhood, the gay way

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