Flamingo Rampant Book Club Will Offer Children's Books Reflecting Today's Diverse Families
Family is no longer just defined as a man, woman, and their kids. Nor is family just one shade of color. Today’s families are a diverse mix of single, divorced, gay, lesbian, and transgender parents raising kids. And these parents and their children cover a vast range of ethnicities, cultures, and races—often all in the same family. While these families are seen every day in schools, community centers, and churches, it’s hard to find a reflection of modern families in children’s books. Flamingo Rampant Book Club wants to change that by offering children’s books that showcase and celebrate diversity, specifically in LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Questioning) families.
Bear Bergman and his husband, j wallace, own a small book press called Flamingo Rampant. Bergman and wallace started the press with a specific mission: They wanted to make better kids’ books regarding gender. Flamingo Rampant was designed to create books for gender independent and transgender children. The goal was not just to make gender independent children feel included, but to also normalize a very real topic for all kids.
They are now using that press to write, publish, and distribute six children’s books a year to members who subscribe to their new project, Flamingo Rampant Book Club. These books will cover a wider range of diversity about and for LGBTQ families and will arrive at subscribers' doors every other month.
The idea came to Bergman one night while reading LGBTQ themed books to his son before bed. “We settled in before bedtime to read some of this stack of books,” Bergman says. “They were all full of bullying, harassment and misery, and a couple of pages into the fourth one he looked at me and he said, ‘I don’t want this. I don’t want any more bully stories.’”
When it comes to books about LGBTQ families, most are based on educating the rest of the public that these families exist—and that the public should be nice to them. Says Bergman about the then groundbreaking book Heather Has Two Mommies, published in 1989, “ It’s sort of like: ‘Dear Heterosexual Macroculture. We have made a book for you to explain that families like ours exist. Please stop throwing rocks. Love and kisses, The Homos.’”
Because LGBTQ themed kids' books lack the traditional stories and antics of other children’s books, Flamingo Rampant Book Club will focus on writing uplifting and fun books about kids from all backgrounds, races, and family types. One book will be Newspaper Pirates, a mystery adventure story about a boy who follows clues to find out who keeps stealing the paper from his Daddy and Papa’s doorstep. Another book will be Is That For A Boy Or A Girl?, a first person rhyming book told by 12 different kids who go against the pink is for girls and blue is for boys stereotypes.
So instead of putting a family with two moms in a cage at the zoo and highlighting why they are as important as the other families at the zoo, books that come from Flamingo Rampant Book Club will focus on the adventures a family with two moms will have at the zoo. Adventures all kids can identify with.
Kids want to be able to relate to other kids. And kids want to see themselves in television shows, movies, and books. And when kids see all kinds of families, including gay, lesbian and transgender parents or kids who identify with a gender not assigned to them at birth, it opens the door for conversation, understanding, and acceptance.
In order to adequately pay the writers, artists, and designers needed to publish these books, Flamingo Rampant Book Club is being funded through a Kickstarter campaign. Once the first round of books are published, affordable subscription sales will keep the Book Club creating and sending diverse children’s books to your door.