In an interview with Attitude, Gareth Peter said that it is important for children to see their families reflected in literature. His experience of childbearing inspired him to write a new children’s book about a child with same-sex parents.
“A touching and magical celebration of love”
Gareth reported: “My Daddies is a fun and colourful picture book about a little girl’s adventures with her two dads. We embarked on a series of epic journeys with this wonderful family as the stories they read together came to life. I hope people will see it as a moving and magical celebration of love, imagination and the power of storytelling.”
He goes on to describe reading books to children by their parents as “the most magical time when a child bonds with his/her parent,” adding: “But there is a shortage of inclusive picture books, especially those that show families like ours. So, I decided to write one. Initially, it was just for us, but when I started getting feedback from friendly faces, I wondered if other families would enjoy it.”
Always a keen writer, Gareth attended some writing classes and found a publisher. My Daddies was published in April.
“I grew up not liking being gay”
Referring to the issue of LGBTQ-inclusive education, Gareth says it’s “extremely important” to have books like his in schools.
“Children should always be able to see themselves in literature, in the media, and in conversations about family. That’s why updating the school’s RSE [relationships and sex education] policy is so important. Growing up in the 1990s, I always dreamed of having a family, but I never thought it would be possible. I grew up not liking the fact that I was gay. But, 20 years later I am proud to say that I am a father and that my dream has come true.”
“I am proud of my family and of this book.”
Gareth adds: “Our society is so diverse and everyone has a responsibility to support and celebrate that. At the end of the day, if you see the world through a child’s eyes, then you see it as a tolerant, accepting and wonderful place… and that starts at home with colourful picture books.”
On the very positive response to the book he reports:
“I have been overwhelmed by the love and positive response so far. I feel honoured that people are falling in love with our book and that it is impacting other families. Reading the reviews and hearing how others are enjoying it is so touching and I’m grateful that people are contacting me.”
My Daddies was illustrated by Garry Parsons, who is himself a gay parent and is best known for illustrating the best-selling “The Dinosaur” series. The book’s publisher, the Puffin, says it is the first picture book about two gay dads with an LGBTQ author and illustrator.
Gareth continues: “At the end of the day, the book is about the love of a family and I hope everyone understands that. I am proud of my family and this book and will always be grateful for those who fought for our equal rights. Hopefully, this book will continue to help.”
About Gareth Peter:
He lives in Nottingham, the UK with my partner, two huskies and two beautiful adopted children. He loves castles, rollercoasters, baking, purple things and I write children’s books.
“When I was eight years old, it was a performance of ‘Oliver!’ which inspired my love of storytelling and musicals. I began writing at a very early age and have written several musicals, including Escape, which had its premiere in 2004 and Bluebird, whose album has sold all over the world. My songs have been performed on stage and by West End and Broadway voices across the UK and internationally and one was even played on BBC Radio Two.
In 2004 I set up the Broadway School of Performing Arts, a part-time theatre school to share my love of theatre with young people.
It was the arrival of my own children that inspired me to begin writing picture books. Reading with them is my favourite thing to do, so I felt I wanted to be part of the reason children love books.” – Gareth Peter