One summer in college I interned at the Human Rights Campaign (a national nonprofit that advocates on LGBTQ issues). My supervisor quickly noticed my keen eye for spelling and grammar errors and put me to work on long hours of copy editing bibliographies. I can’t think of a more boring thing to copy edit, since it’s not even sentences and paragraphs, but the upshot was that some of the sections were lists of children’s books with LGBTQ themes. At the time, I hadn’t read any books like And Tango Makes Three by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson.
How cool! I thought immediately. Most of the books seemed to have a message that having gay parents or being a gender non-conforming kid is A-OK, like the two more recent picture books I reviewed on this site in June. So my next thought was, Now we need children’s books where gender and sexuality’s not the theme, but those characters are a normal part of the landscape. And I made that one of my writing goals. Luckily, I’m not the only one to whom this idea/goal has occurred.
“Most of the children’s books that are for our families, that have lesbian moms, or gay dads, or gender-independent kids, or queer people of any kind are stories that focus on bullying … and most of the story is about a young person or a family dealing with things that are hard for them. That’s fine. But what we’re about at Flamingo Rampant is showing what’s great about our families,” says Bear Bergman, author and owner of the micro kids’ book press, Flamingo Rampant.
Here are two examples of the press’ forthcoming books.
1. Newspaper Pirates, a mystery adventure about curious Barney who goes on an apartment building adventure to see who’s filching his Daddy and Papa’s newspaper. Red-headed Barney, an only child, follows up on clues and hunches until he gets to the bottom of things.
2. Home Together, a travel story, in which Mama and Amma – recently married – take their newly-blended family on an alternative honeymoon trip to New Hampshire and Dharamsala, India so everyone can see where each grew up.
Flamingo Rampant currently has a kickstarter campaign going, and it appears that they will fund their next set of books through a book club model. People who donate to the Kickstarter campaign at the $99 level will get a book every other month next year. You can also support the kickstarter campaigns at lesser amounts and receive things like coloring book pages ($1), an audiobook ($5) and one print book ($20).
Given that these are the kind of books I say I want to see in the world, I decided to put my money where mouth is and contributed. … It also helped that Bear says the prizes will probably arrive in a pink envelope with glitter.