This time My Family! and author Monique Costa are offering one lucky reader the opportunity of receiving a copy of Monique's book When Leonard Lost His Spots: A Trans Parent Tail.
This book tells the story of when a beautiful lioness discovers she was born into the body of a male leopard. Her family is shocked, the transition begins, and an amazing story unfolds.
Narrated by a young cub, "When Leonard Lost His Spots" is a sensitively crafted story that exemplifies how open communication can pave the way to acceptance in an ever-changing world.
Here's a brief Q&A with Monique Costa, author of When Leonard Lost His Spots: A Trans Parent Tail.
Being a heterosexual woman, how are you connected to the LGBT community?
Leonard is my connection! From the moment I wrote the manuscript, I was connected. I have met such wonderful people because of this book. It continues to open doors for me both professionally and personally.
Tell about Leonard and Leona, what inspired you to write this story?Leonard is a loving father, who has known for a long time that he was born into the wrong body. With great courage, he announces to his family that he is going to move forward with his transition into Leona, a beautiful lioness. He stays true to himself, yet he never loses sight of his commitment as a father to his young cub.
My inspiration for this book was the lack of material out there for children of LGBT families…especially children with a transgender parent. I wanted to write a story that would make a difference to a specific audience. I am the mother of two young boys, so I’ve seen, first hand, how great books can leave a lasting impression.
What makes this tale unique among others?The story line is just that…unique. There are books about transgender men, women and even children, but mine is the first fictional story to be written from the child’s point of view. Plus, it is for a very young audience. It rhymes and the illustrations are magnificent.
What do you hope children and parents take away from this story?Leonard is a universal inspiration for parents. The message in my book is that open communication is key. Children don’t get to choose their situations, yet they need to cope and to adapt. During his transition, Leonard talks to his son. He doesn’t ignore him or his feelings.
He is willing to talk openly about the changes, their feelings and their situation. I truly believe that if children know that they are loved, they will survive change.
How receptive and supportive have your family and friends been about you writing a children's book for the LGBT community?Extremely! I am so blessed. My friends and family could not have been more supportive…especially my husband. (He’s always ready for the next creative venture from me.) Everyone thinks it’s fantastic that I wrote the story. They recognized and applauded my need to reach out.
As parents, we all want what’s best for our children. My motto has always been to live your life being happy- whatever that means to you. My friends agree. I don’t really think of LGBT as a separate community. I think we’re all in this crazy world together!
What are your hopes for Leonard and Leona? Do you see this character coming to life in other mediums?I have very high hopes for Leonard and Leona because they are so loveable and so unique! I am currently working on bringing them to life in a children’s theater. I’d love to see a stuffed animal. The possibilities are endless!
Will there be more books from you in the future?Yes, definitely.
What do you like to do when you’re not writing?I love to cook and entertain friends and family. I grew up in an Italian/ American house where everything revolved around food. It’s that way in my house today. I love to try new things and my husband and two sons are eager judges!
How can readers and their parents keep up with you on the web?I have joined forces with my publishers, so readers can check us out at myfamilyproducts.net for the latest books, toys, dvds, etc.
Where can your book be purchased?You can purchase my book on the website: myfamilyproducts.net, or it can be ordered anywhere books are sold in the United States.
How to enter?Leave a comment on this blog post with the title of your favourite children's book that depicts non-traditional families or gender roles. 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 $14.99 USD.) Ends December 17th, 2012. Open to those with a U.S. shipping address only. You can see photos from the book signing here.
And a video of an author reading here.