My Daddies author Gareth Peter on why LGBT+ families need representation

by Just Like Us
February 2024

Gareth Peter and his families next to his book cover, My Daddies

My Daddies author Gareth Peter spoke to Just Like Us, the LGBT+ young people’s charity, about why it’s important for LGBT+ families to be represented in children’s books.

At Just Like Us, we run School Diversity Week to help young people learn about diverse families. We always love to highlight children’s books that showcase LGBT+ parents.

Tell us about My Daddies?

“My Daddies is a fun and colourful picture book about a little girl’s adventures with her two dads. She sets off on a series of charming journeys alongside her wonderful family, as the stories they read together burst into life.”

What was the idea behind your children’s book?

“My partner and I adopted several years ago, and that’s when we started reading children’s books to them every night. (For me, the most magical bonding time.)

“But I found there was a distinct lack of diverse picture books, especially ones that showed families like ours. So, I decided to write one.

Illustrated image of two dads and their child from the My Daddies book
My Daddies is about a family with two gay dads

“Initially it was just for my boys, but when I started to receive beautiful feedback from friends, I wondered if it could be enjoyed by more children.

“Children should always be able to see themselves within literature and the media. So I hope this book helps and enables discussion about all types of family.

What was life like for you growing up LGBT+?

“I grew up in the 90’s with Section 28, always dreaming I would have a family, but I never thought this would be possible.

“I grew up disliking the fact I was gay. But roll on 20 years and now I am proud to say I am a father and that my dream came true.

Book author Gareth Peter with his partner and two children
Book author Gareth Peter with his partner and two children

“And now with the update to the schools RSE policy, our wonderfully diverse society can be celebrated and talked about with pride.”

How can LGBT+ inclusive children’s books change the world?

“At the end of the day, if you see the world through the eyes of a child, then you see it as a tolerant, accepting and wonderful place.

“And this starts at home with colourful picture books, like My Daddies.

“When a child of a blended or LGBTQ+ family sees our book, I hope they will see themselves. But when a child from another dynamic sees it, I hope they will accept that families come in all shapes and sizes. At the end of the day, the book is about the love of a family and I hope everyone can understand this.

“I am proud of my family and of this book and I’ll always be forever thankful to those that fought for our equal rights. Let’s hope this book continues to help.”

What has the reaction to the book been like?

“I’ve been overwhelmed by the love and positive responses the books gets. I feel honoured that people are falling in love with our story and that it is making an impact to other families.

“Reading the reviews and hearing how others are enjoying it, is so moving and I am thankful people still reach out to me.

“At the end of the day, this is simply a celebration of love, imagination and the power of storytelling. It’s perfect for introducing children to adoption and different kinds of families.”

My Daddies is written by Gareth Peter and Garry Parsons, and is published by Puffin.

Just Like Us runs School Diversity Week every June and is celebrated by thousands of schools.