Schoochie & Skiddles Fun at Grammas

Children’s Book Series 'Scoochie & Skiddles' Promotes Love, Acceptance, and Family Diversity

Have you ever found yourself observing the most ridiculous playful antics of kids and thought; 'Someone should write a book about this?' Gay dad Tom Tracy found himself thinking that
repeatedly, whenever his daughter and her cousin were playing together. "Their energy, imagination, and exuberance for life are the makings of pure entertainment," he said.

So, Tom wrote "Scoochie & Skiddles," his first book in what will be a series of stories that capture childhood fascination and discovery while, at times, addressing topics that can be challenging to talk about.

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Tom recalls that his interest in writing stories for children began when he was in high school. "In fact, I still have some of those initial short stories that I wrote as I dreamed of being an author," he told Gays With Kids. However, Tom said, he always felt his stories fell flat because he did not have the proper inspiration. 

Then, five years ago, Tom and his husband Elliott adopted their first daughter. As her personality began to form, it was clear that she was going to be an inquisitive child who would have an insatiable appetite for experiencing all the world had to offer. When coupled with the unbridled zest of her cousin, Tom said the two produce a whirlwind of hysterical escapades in “blink and you’ll miss it” fashion. Suddenly, Tom found himself looking at the inspiration he had been seeking for over 30 years.

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“The concept for 'Scoochie & Skiddles' was very organic. 'Scoochie' had been a nickname that my husband Elliott gave to our daughter when she was a newborn," Tom explained. "The nickname 'Skiddles' for her cousin occurred purely by accident during one of the girls’ playful adventures, and that name just stuck."

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As Tom listened to their conversations and watched the kids engage with each other and the world around them, he realized that not only were they learning about life, but if you listened closely enough, they were also reminding adults of important and often forgotten lessons too; like sometimes the simplest answer is the one that makes the most sense; sometimes whatever “it” is, we don’t need to make it bigger than it needs to be; most importantly, always find time to play, to laugh, to move around and to tell the ones we care about how much we love them. Now, perhaps more than ever, Tom said it feels like those messages are important to be told.

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"The 'Scoochie & Skiddles' stories convey those important messages in a child-friendly way. The first story, 'Fun at Gramma’s,' is a celebration of the joy of family, and sets the tone for the girls’ uplifting perspectives," he said. "The second book in the series, which is in development, recounts Scoochie’s adoption experience by her two dads."

Tom and his husband Elliott have been married for nearly a decade. Their family consists of two daughters who were brought to them through adoption. Both girls are of different races to Tom and Elliott. As such, it is important to the dads to ensure that the girls can see themselves and families like theirs reflected back to them in the community, at school, in the media and in print. Through the creation of the 'Scoochie & Skiddles' series, Tom hopes to provide for his family, as well as other families, an opportunity to see themselves in print while honoring and celebrating diversity. "Ensuring that the books represent gay dads, adoptive families, and mixed-race families in an easy-to-read way is important for expanding diversity in literary content within the children’s illustrated book genre," he said.

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Tom is also a NJ Licensed Clinical Social Worker and has worked with at-risk youth and individuals living with mental illness for most of his career. Through his work, he said he has truly come to appreciate the value of sharing one's lived experience with others through personal narratives. "Everyone has a story to tell from which someone else can benefit," Tom said. "It is my sincere hope that sharing my family's story will provide meaning and value to others."

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To purchase Scoochie & Skiddles 'Fun at Gramma's', click here. For more information about Scoochie & Skiddles, including free coloring sheets, and to sign up for notification alerts, visit
www.scoochieandskiddles.com

Read Tom and Elliott's GWK family story here.

Posted by Brit Smith

Brit Smith is a Staff Writer & Associate Editor at GWK. A native of London, England, Brit started her American adventure nannying and waiting tables in Texas in 2006, and eventually graduated magna cum laude from the University of California, Berkeley in 2017. Brit has previously written and created podcasts for WBZ NewsRadio, iHeart Media, and Different Leaf.



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