These gay moms didn’t see their family represented in children’s books — so they wrote their own

Sarah Kate Ellis and her wife, Kristen Ellis-Henderson, were tired of not seeing their family represented in children’s books, so the two moms decided to do something about it.

In March, they published “All Moms,” a kids’ book that celebrates all different types of moms and shows that families don’t have to involve a husband, wife and child.

“We really were specific about including so many families and types of families in this book, because oftentimes, our kids feel left out of the conversation, and they can’t see themselves, and this was an opportunity to let them see themselves and be proud of their family,” Ellis, who is also the president and CEO of LGBTQ media advocacy group GLAAD, said.

Sarah Kate Ellis and her wife Kristen Ellis-Henderson with the cover of the book for "All Moms."
Sarah Kate Ellis and her wife Kristen Ellis-Henderson with the cover of the book for “All Moms.”Courtesy Sarah Kate Ellis and Kristen Ellis-Henderson; Little Bee Books / Max Rambaldi

Ellis and Ellis-Henderson are both proud parents to their 13-year-old children, who were there when they wrote the book and an active part of the process.

“We wrote it on our dining room table and they were in and around and had comments and offered ideas and suggestions,” Ellis said. “So they’re very much a part of this book as well.”

When their children were growing up, the authors recalled, there was a book that their children would instantly gravitate to called “Mommy, Mama, and Me.” This was the only book they had that showed a family with two mothers, they said, and their kids couldn’t get enough of it.

To Ellis, it showed that “representation matters so deeply and so much for all of us.”

So the women wanted to contribute their own work so that other future families wouldn’t have such limited resources to stock their bookshelves or home libraries.

The duo first co-authored their 2015 memoir “Times Two: Two Women in Love and the Happy Family They Made.” The autobiography talked about their experiences being pregnant at the same time, and it gave readers a glimpse of what modern families could look like.

But still, they wanted to create something for kids.

In 2021, Ellis-Henderson — who is the founder of the all-female rock band Antigone Rising — came up with the idea for “All Moms” when she started to think about a song that perfectly described the “close-knit community” they lived in.

“I’ve always had this song sort of bouncing around in my head about our neighborhood and how you can look out the window and you can see all different types of people walking by the house,” she said.

Sarah Kate Ellis and Kristen Ellis-Henderson's book "All Moms" celebrates the different types of modern families.
Sarah Kate Ellis and Kristen Ellis-Henderson’s book “All Moms” celebrates the different types of modern families.little bee books / Max Rambaldi

Some of those people who passed by her home made it into their book.

“A lot of the characters in the book are based on real people that live in the neighborhood,” Ellis-Henderson said.

With Ellis’ help, the couple was able to transform the song into a children’s book.

In December, Ellis hit back at more LGBTQ books being banned from school libraries when she started the social media campaign Books Not Bans.

“We saw a real trend to silencing LGBTQ voices, and so we wanted to draw attention to that,” Ellis said

The two moms are hoping this Pride Month will help LGBTQ kids feel more seen than ever before.

“My biggest wish for Pride this month is that our kids feel safe and loved, and that’s universal,” Ellis said. “We can stop letting people divide us and realize that united we’re here to protect our kids, and to love them, help them grow and learn. That’s universal for all of us.”

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