Leon Wenham explained that he wrote You, Me and Lots and Lots of Love because he never saw his family reflected in books he would read to his five-year-old son (Instagram)
A Black, gay dad has written his own story book after being disappointed by the lack of diversity in traditional tales.
Leon Wenham explained that he wrote You, Me and Lots and Lots of Love because he never saw his family structure reflected in books he would read to his five-year-old son, who he adopted as a single parent last year.
Black, gay adoptive dad writes his own story book to normalise diversity
The title of the upcoming self-published book, he explained, is “something I say to my beautiful son quite a lot: ‘In our home there’s you, me and lots and lots of love.’”
The dad added: “The book speaks about our adoption journey and it explains and encourages some of the big feelings and emotions many adopted children experience.
“The other main message of this book is to normalise diversity from a young age. I have purposely used as many different ethnic characters as possible in the book, in order to show children that everyone is different and that’s ok. This book is for ALL children and ALL families.
“Finding inclusive books for children can be difficult but my mission is to ensure every child understands how normal being different is.”
Story books are dominated by white nuclear families
Speaking to MailOnline, he elaborated: “One of the reasons I chose to write the book is… I didn’t find any books that represented our nuclear family.
“I’m Black Caribbean and all the books were very much all conventional and featured Caucasian people and I think when you’ve got a child that’s adopted and doesn’t have a conventional family, if you keep seeing that in books it’s just not really helpful for them.
“It just highlights that they’re different, which for a four or five-year-old that can be quite difficult.”
Only four percent of new British children’s books feature main characters who are people of colour, according to research from the Centre for Literacy in Primary Education, while only seven percent of children’s books feature a person of colour in any capacity. Children’s books featuring LGBT+ families, meanwhile, often dominate lists of the most-banned books internationally.
The dad explained that although his son’s school is diverse and his son has many friends, stories often fail to teach kids about diverse types of families.
He said: “This is an example of why I’m doing this book, it’s to normalise diversity from a young age.
“Normalising diversity from a young age is number one. Number two is explaining adoption to children in a way that is encouraging and encourages them to share their emotions and recognises some of the big emotions that children and adults go through during the process.
“Also one of the key things is to shine a light on Black fathers because I think that Black dads have had quite a bad reputation over decades – even from within the Black community.
“Being a single Black gay adoptive father I think it’s something quite positive. Long term would be for more Black families or single Black people, the Black LGBT community to really consider adoption as an option into parenthood.”