Wednesday, July 25, 2012

My Family! Giveaway

Quite some time ago now we received an email via the "Contact Us" on the blog from a woman, Cheril Clarke, asking for our feedback on a commercial she had produced for television featuring "healthy, 'normal' same-sex families". 

You can veiw the commercial on YouTube.

The email was really nice, and I was happy to give feedback.  I also thought that the company, My Family! looked interesting.  They are publishers and online retailers of books, music, DVDs and (forthcoming) games for children with LGBT parents. Their goal is to build a strong and diverse community of parents, teachers, journalists and bloggers who care about the upbringing of children with same-gender parents, their overall representation and access to content that positively reflect families like theirs.  I wrote back to Cheril and proposed the idea of hosting a giveaway on our blog to help promote her company to other LGBT families.  She was all for it! 

So, I'm happy to annouce our very first giveaway: a copy of Freddy and Frieda's Travelling Tales: Meet the Families by Claudia Eicker-Harris.  

How to enter? Visit My Family!, browse around and then come back to here and let me know which product you think looks great.  One comment per person please.  The winner will be chosen randomly.  You'll also have to leave or send me your email address so that I can contact you if you win, and the winner will have to be willing to share their name, address and phone number with Cheril so she can get the book to you. That's it! (Value of print is $9.99 USD.) Ends July 31st.  Open to U.S. residents (or people with a U.S. shipping address) only. 

Here's a brief Q&A with Claudia Eicker-Harris, author of Freddy and Frieda's Travelling Tales: Meet the Families.

Who are these adorable mice, Freddy and Frieda? What was your inspiration for the characters?
The characters had to be small enough to fit in my luggage when I travel the world so that I can write about the people that they meet as we journey around the globe. I started off with Pat the Pack Rat, but, quite rightly, my clever publishers said that a rat might not go down too well with parents! Freddy and Frieda also had to be cute with a dash of mischief so that children would relate to them and field mice were the logical choice. They’re cute, but they can be quite naughty too.

We understand that “Meet the Families” is the first in a series featuring Freddy and Frieda, can you tell us a bit more about the book? What kind of families do they meet?
Ah, you’ll have to read the book to find out everything, but suffice it to say that just about every type of family, from gay to straight, from single parent to step parent, from mixed race to mixed culture is represented. The objective was to put all families on a level and say, it’s ok – you’re normal too.

How did you start out writing books for children?
It’s not very unique, I’m afraid. I’ve always been a writer, but until my wife gave birth to our baby girl, Eva, I hadn’t ever written for children, only for corporate companies and for theatre. I started telling Eva stories at night and I realised that they had an effect on her. When her friends started listening to the stories and enjoying them too, I decided to start writing them down.

When did you first realize that you wanted to write an all-inclusive family book for children?
I think it was when I got tired of trying to find stories that Eva could relate to and feel comfortable with. I wanted to see all of Eva’s generation represented between the covers of one book. It’s easy for society to say that they’re accepting and inclusive, but go to a mainstream bookstore or look at parents’ bookshelves and you’ll see a different picture. Parents, as much as children, need to be taught that sometimes being different is just as normal as being ‘normal’!

How many books have you written? Are they all LGBT-inclusive?
I currently have three books out. Morty and the Selfish Elf, Meet the Families and City Rooster.
Morty and the Selfish Elf is a tale of friendship, forgiveness and inner beauty. Sometimes it takes an unexpected act of kindness from an unlikely source to make someone realise that true beauty comes from within. This is what happens when Morty, a not-very mean monster, meets a very pretty, but very selfish elf. By saving her from a dreadful beastie, Morty teaches the elf that all pretty creatures aren’t necessarily good and all ugly ones aren’t bad.  The story aims to teach children that, in a day and age where outer beauty has almost become an obsession, it is inner beauty that really matters. The book also has an underlying anti-bullying message.
City Rooster will be going into schools across South Africa because it is being published by Heinemann, South Africa’s foremost educational publisher. It is the story of how the Hadeda became the rooster of the city. When Crowsfoot the Rooster wakes up one day to find that his farm is being encroached upon by a quickly-developing city, he decides to leave and find another farm to live on. But, he’s worried about who will wake the people of the city every day. He holds auditions and after some fun and funny incidents, chooses the Hadeda because of her raucous and cheerful laugh. The book teaches children about a few of the many different bird species that are found in Africa, what they look like and their calls. It also introduces an awareness of urban development. 

How has the reception been to your LGBT works in South Africa? Have you ever traveled to America to meet your publishers?

South Africans are very open minded, in general, so they respond well to LGBT work. I think that, once Meet the Families is more widely available here, I will be able to give a more accurate answer. I have been to America a few times, but that was before Dodi Press was in my life. I’d love to meet my publishers face to face, but I think (and hope) they’ll probably come to South Africa before I get over to the States again.

How did you find out about My Family Products?

I do a lot of research into LGBT-friendly societies, companies, publishers, churches, schools etc and, when I was looking for a publisher for Freddy and Frieda, I came across them online.

What is your perspective on the rapidly changing industry of publishing? Do you think children will quickly take to e-books and apps as opposed to traditional books?

Sadly, yes. Although I think technology is amazing and wonderful, I’m going to miss the printed word. I think children are incredibly adaptable. A friend of mine says that you can see how different kids of the new generations are because they walk up to a TV or open a magazine and start trying to move things around on the page or minimise and maximise things with their fingers! It all gives new meaning to the words ‘the world at your fingertips’! I think children are already very comfortable with e-books and APPs (more comfortable than their parents in many instances!).

What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

I spend time with my wife, daughter and our three dogs. We love being outdoors either walking the dogs, cycling (my wife is a tri-athlete so we all have to try and keep up!), going on picnics or gardening. If we’re indoors, we’ll usually read or spend time doing ‘art’ together. We spend a lot of our free time with family and friends. Our parents and siblings are very involved in our lives and we love being with them, as does Eva.

What’s next for Freddy and Frieda?

They’re off on another adventure, travelling the world and meeting disabled children who come from all sorts of families.

Good Luck and don't forget to check back and see if you won next week!


  1. I really like the downloadable coloring books!


  2. This is an awesome site. Thanks so much for sharing. I actually have been looking for these types of things for Peyton. Since she loves music, I think the Rainbow Sprinkles CD is just what I have been looking for.

    rachael (dot) leann @ gmail (dot) com

  3. I’ve been wanting a copy of Momma, Mommy and Me!

    chachachaliz @

  4. Great site and products! I'm interested in the Rainbow Sprinkles CD just because it sounds fun and different.

    You know my email address. :)

  5. I want a copy of Momma, Mommy and me too!