Review sponsored by Christopher Garcia-Halenar
The Children’s Book Review | March 12, 2018
Written by Alejandro and Christopher Garcia-Halenar
Illustrated by Richa Kinra Shekhar Arts
Age Range: 3-7
Hardcover: 24 pages
Publisher: Self Published (2017)
What to expect: LGBT, Love, Surrogacy
This picture book tells the story of how one little boy, Xander, came to be the son of his two loving dads through surrogacy.
The underlying message that love is what brings a child into the world shines all the way through this book from start to end. When Dad and Papa met, they fell in love, travelled the world, celebrated life with friends and family, and knew they wanted more: a child of their own to love. They go in search of a perfect egg and a safe place to keep the egg cozy and warm so that it can grow. Aunt Stacie has a perfect and special place: her tummy. The egg grows from the size of a bean, to an orange, to a football, and (after nine months) a beautiful little baby. Now the family is complete.
“Love is what inspired our special family. And our love grows more and more each day.”
The authors have done a nice job of simplifying the scientific process of surrogacy for a young audience, while also making it as fun as looking for special treasure. While the digital images are not entirely scientific (the eggs look more like a chicken egg), they purposely create relatable and entertaining analogies so that the idea of surrogacy is easy to connect with and process.
Xander’s Story would be a great choice for any parents looking to introduce the concept of surrogacy while demonstrating the power of family and unconditional love.
About the Authors
Chris and Alex Garcia-Halenar met in August, 2010 and were married two years later. They are the proud parents of two boys, Xander and Max.
What makes Chris and Alex different from most parents with small children is they started their family later in life. When Xander was born, Chris was 50 years old and Alex 40 and by the time Max arrived, they were 55 and 45 respectively.
While most parents their age are embracing, the ‘empty nest’ stage of life, Chris and Alex are just getting started. They commonly field questions and comments such as: “Do you really want to deal with the 3:00 am feedings?”; “Oh man, you are brave”; “Don’t you want to retire?”; “Better you than me”.
Despite their unorthodox age, Chris and Alex feel like they are the lucky ones. When they were younger there were no role models for same-sex families. The idea of two men getting married may have been discussed privately at a dinner party but never in an open forum – and never in the national spotlight of a Supreme Court case. Discussions about relationships between a man and a man, or a woman and a woman, were infrequent and were likely to start with “…oh I have a friend who…” or “do you know my friend, <insert any name>?”
Times have changed.
They consider themselves trailblazers. They were married at a time when their own state did not recognize their union. President Barrack Obama announced three days before their wedding that he had softened his stance on same-sex unions and publicly acknowledged that same-sex couples should be able to get married.
Fast forward to today.
Alex is an attorney practicing law with one the top law firms in Fort Lauderdale. Chris is a semi-retired Healthcare executive who has taken time off to be with their boys.
Chris and Alex believe that every child has a unique story and that their stories should be told and celebrated. Their first foray into children’s books was “Little Miss Crazy Hair” which was written for their beautiful niece as gift for her fifth birthday. Though published, the book was never distributed or sold, and since that first project, they have learned a lot. They are working on a new and revised release of the book targeted for the summer of 2018.
Xander’s Story was written shortly after Xander started to ask questions about his family. The explanation about two dads was the easy part; the tougher discussion was explaining gestational surrogacy. Xander’s Story was designed so a five- year-old could understand a simplified version of the science of surrogacy. It paints the picture of the basics of surrogacy but more importantly emphasizes the love which fuels it.
In addition to the re-write of “Little Miss Crazy Hair” they are working on two additional projects focused on adoption and more specifically their youngest son, Max.
For more information, visit: www.xanmaxbooks.com
Dedicated Reviews allow authors and illustrators to gain prompt visibility for their work. Christopher Garcia-Halenar sponsored this non-biased review of “Xander’s Story.” Learn more about getting a book review …
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