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.



Gay Dad Life

Gong Hei Fat Choy! Happy Chinese New Year!

As we usher in the year of rat, we asked some of our dads how they honor this special time.

Today we're celebrating, alongside our families, the Chinese New Year! As we usher in the year of rat, we asked some of our dads how they honor this special time, what they do to celebrate, and how they're instilling these traditions in their kids. Here are some of their responses.

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News

Indiana Court Says Couples Using Sperm Donors​ Can Both Be Listed on Birth Certificate — But Ruling Excludes Male Couples

The 7th US Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of the plaintiffs in the case, a major victory for LGBTQ parents — but the Attorney General may appeal to the Supreme Court.

On Friday, a US Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a ruling from a lower court that said that both parents in a same-sex relationship are entitled to be listed on the birth certificate — previously, the state of Indiana had required the non-biological parent within a same-sex relationship using assisted reproductive technologies to adopt their child after the birth in order to get her or his name listed on the birth certificate, a lengthy and expensive process not required of straight couples in the same situation.

It's a double standard LGBTQ parents have long been subjected to in many states across the country. So this represent a major win. As reported by CNN, this ruling "takes a lot of weight off" the shoulders of LGBTQ parents, said Karen Celestino-Horseman, a lawyer representing one of the couples in the case. "They've been living as families and wondering if this was going to tear them apart."

The 7th US Circuit Court of Appeals deliberated the case, according to CNN, for more than two and a half years, which is one of the longest in the court's history.

However, because all the plaintiffs in the case involved female same-sex couples using sperm donors, the ruling left open the similar question of parenting rights with respect to male couples. Indiana's Attorney General, moreover, may also appeal the case to the Supreme Court.

We'll be following the case closely and be sure to keep you up to date. For more on this recent decision, read CNN's article here.

Personal Essays by Gay Dads

As a Gay Dad, What's the Impact of Letting My Son Perform Drag?

Michael Duncan was excited when his 10-year-old son asked if he could perform in drag for charity — but he also felt fear and anxiety.

As LGBT parents, we have all lived through some sort of trauma in our lives. For many it is the rejection of our family, being bullied, or abuse. We learn to be vigilant of our surroundings and often are very cautious of who we trust. As adults, we start to become watchful of how much we share and we look for "red flags" around every corner.

So, what effect does this have on our children? Does it unintentionally cause us to be more jaded with our interactions involving others? For some the answer may be a resounding "no." But as we look deeper into the situation, we often find that through survival our interactions with others have changed and we may not even realize exactly how much we are projecting on those around us.

Keep reading...
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.

Keep reading...

Fatherhood, the gay way

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