Guest post by Ricardo Gattas-Moras & Rob Jackson
The Rainbow Bee is a children’s book about diversity, love, and acceptance. It’s the story of a bee that’s born looking differently than anything the hive has seen before. The main character, Rainbow, has rainbow stripes, is shaped differently, and likes different things than the hive. The book explores the journey of Rainbow, with the help of the Queen bee, seeking acceptance from the hive, and the hive learning how to love, embrace, and celebrate Rainbow for being different and unique.
Becoming fathers through adoption and watching our son, Cy, grow and learn new things each day has filled us with so much love, laughter, and joy. He truly is the light of our lives and we feel honored and very lucky to have been chosen to be his parents. From the beginning, Cy has been an avid book lover, mesmerized by each turn of the page.
As he got older, we began to notice how quickly he was able to absorb information from the books we read to him. It dawned on us that we needed to start choosing books for him with the right messages and lessons we want him to learn from a young age so that ultimately he’ll grow into an adult who treats others with love, kindness, and respect. It was surprisingly harder than we had imagined it would be to find books we could relate to as a LGBTQIA+ family, so one day we threw out the idea of writing our own children’s book, and the rest is history.
Our lives growing up as gay men, feeling and being treated differently because we weren’t like what society deemed to be normal, was what we originally drew from in developing the story and characters.
But as we progressed through the writing process, we started to think about all the different ways in which children probably feel different than the norm. We thought about our concerns we’ve always had since the start of our adoption journey, wondering if Cy might be treated unfairly down the line because he’s adopted and has two dads. We thought about how some children are picked on and made to feel less than for having cultural backgrounds and physical characteristics they have no control over, such as having an accent, religious beliefs, cultural traditions, height, body shape, being born with disabilities, skin color.
Taking all of those things into consideration, we felt it was important to make Rainbow into a character that everyone could relate to, because at the end of the day, we all have things about us that make us different and unique.
Our hope for The Rainbow Bee is that children of all ages find it to be a beautiful and captivating story, and more importantly, we hope that we’ve created a resource for parents and educators that makes it easier for them to introduce the topics of diversity and inclusion to children at a young age. We strongly believe that it’s such an important conversation to have with children early on so that they feel encouraged to love and be proud of the things that make them different and unique, as well as know how to treat those that are different from them with love, kindness, and respect. We couldn’t be happier with our final product. The Rainbow Bee is our baby and we hope everyone loves it as much as we do! And as much as Cy does!