Mother writes books to reflect differences in families

Making sure children see their family in books
Posted at 5:16 PM, Aug 05, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-05 17:18:15-04

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (Ivanhoe Newswire) -- Reading children’s books with your child is not only fun, but educational. However, when one woman loaded her house with them after the birth of her son, she soon realized that there was something critical missing in all of them.

Philosophy professor Brynn Welch thought it would be a challenge to adopt as a single woman. But within a year of contacting an adoption agency she was matched with her son, Ben.

“I got to be there when he was born and cut his umbilical cord. It was really pretty magical,” Welch said.

From that day on, Welch wanted to share everything thing with Ben, including her love of books. But as she was reading, she noticed something was missing.

She told Ivanhoe, “One of the things for my son and me is that we are a visibly non-traditional family and our family doesn’t appear anywhere in books.”

Welch said for trans racial adoptions, or adoptions where the child is a different race than the parents, one of the key things is to surround the child with people that looks like them.

“Make sure the child is going to see themselves in your friend’s circle and in movies and in books,” she advised.

Welch took it a step further and wrote a book featuring her son Ben called Bennie Goes Up! Up! Up! inspired by her

Ben’s love of elevators, the children’s book highlights the mother-son duo on high-flying adventures.

“I say to people that the book is half a love letter to my child and the other half an apology to him for not knowing these things,” she said.

For parents like Josh May, the book has a good take away message for their kids.

“What comes out of that is she sees different kinds of people represented in the book and different kinds of families,” May told Ivanhoe.

For Welch, the book was just about a family being a family.

“This can be what normal looks like,” she said.

Welch didn’t just want to limit the book to racial diversity. The illustrations in the book are full of details that are rarely found in regular children’s books. In one illustration of a playground, a family pushes their son in a wheelchair on an adaptive swing set. Bennie Goes Up! Up! Up! is available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.