Guest post by M. Hawkins
I’m a woman, married to a wonderful man, and together we have two incredible boys. The love I have for my children is greater than anything I could have imagined; this intense love inspired my journey as an author. When my youngest was born, I wrote and published stories to teach him about colors, numbers, and opposites. These stories had illustrations modeled after my own family, always featuring a mom and a dad.
Around the same time as my second book became available, my gay friends, Jonathan and Matthew, welcomed the arrival of their first child. I was so excited for them, and also so excited to see my latest title published, that I almost sent them a copy of my second book.
However, it featured a little boy going through his bedtime routine and getting tucked in by his mom. My moment of hesitation was also my aha moment as I thought about how tough it must be for gay dads to encounter kid's book after kid's book and not have their family represented. Moreover, the message that this lack of representation was sending to the children of these loving parents broke my heart and I thought, "I can do better."
I started researching kids’ books featuring same-sex parents. When I confirmed that the options available were limited, I got to work.
I had key illustrations from my books revamped, combined all 3 stories under one cover, and then published Daddy & Dada edition!
When I reached out to Jonathan and Matthew to let them know what I was doing, and that I was dedicating one of the stories to their son, they were “beyond touched” and so excited! Several months later, their son had a copy of the completed book in hand and loved it. I’ll never forget when I got a text message from Matthew that his son “wanted to read his favorite book” that morning. All day long I smiled from ear to ear thinking about my first happy little customer!
The stories within Luca Learns do not focus on the family unit, but rather the important concepts of colors, numbers and opposites that all young kids need to learn.
Because each story now features two dads, even the youngest of readers can see their family represented, which is so important as one reader review pointed out...“it really makes a difference to kids to see their lives reflected in the stories they read.”
In addition, the book is colorful and fun, with real life examples that bring a smile and laughter to the faces of child and parent alike!
In trying to spread awareness about the book, I have started following and communicating with a many gay dads on social media. The positive feedback and encouragement I receive from this community is heart-warming and motivates me to make more parents aware of the book, like twin dad Adeel (@voyagermd on Instagram) who wrote “one of our favourite things is reading to the children, and getting books that show representation of 2 dad and 2 mom families is so important to us! We love this book called Luca Learns...”
I have read Luca Learns to my own children dozens of times and my 4-year old has only once asked me why Luca has two dads.
My explanation that each family is unique and beautiful, as long as it’s built with love, was accepted without hesitation by his unprejudiced heart. In reading stories posted by gay couples about their journey to parenthood, I am inspired by the love, hope, and perseverance that weaves the way; if only we were all lucky enough to have such loving and devoted parents!
For the benefit of my family, and same-sex parent families alike, I am proud to have created a kids’ book that supports gay dads and hope Luca Learns will be enjoyed by a growing number of families!
Children’s Book Author
Luca Learns Series
@lucalearns on Instagram
“My husband and I were thrilled to find a children’s book that reflects our family. The book is cheerful and smart. We would love to see more books for children of LGBTQ+ parents! Highly recommend.” JS – Reader Review, USA
“A great little 3 in 1 learning book for your little ones. It warms my heart to see inclusive books like this featuring 2 dads for our community. It’s also great for non-LGBT to see different kinds of families in children’s books. This book comes highly recommended to add to any child’s library – Jeffery N, Reader Review, Canada