Review of Katy Has Two Grampas
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The Children’s Book Review
Written by Julie Schanke Lyford and Robert A. Schanke
Illustrated by Mariia Luzina
Ages 4-8 | 40 Pages
Publisher: Wise Ink (2021) | ISBN-13: 978-1-63489-392-3
What to Expect: Pride, LGBTQ+ themes, self-esteem, disability, and diverse family representations.
Katy loves school, but sometimes it’s hard for her to fit in. Her lisp makes it difficult for others to understand her, and this makes her feel really sad. Sometimes the other children comment on how quiet she is, and this makes her feel even worse. When her teacher announces they will be having a party for Grandparents Day, she can’t wait to bring her two grampas to meet her class. But when she tries to explain to Mrs. Brown, her teacher misunderstands because of her lisp! If she can’t even make her teacher understand, how will she ever be able to stand up in front of the class and introduce her grampas? Luckily, Katy’s big sister Madi is there to save the day.
For children of all ages, fitting in can sometimes feel like the hardest task in the world—especially when there is so much to feel different about. Katy Has Two Grampas reminds readers that it is okay to be different and it’s okay to explain ourselves to others. The bright, vibrant artwork emphasizes the love and kindness that surround Katy, even when she needs some help to see it. The book’s overall message about safe communication is a valuable one, and readers are sure to feel validated by the honest depiction of Katy’s feelings and anxieties. A “meet the real family” photo gallery at the end helps the story feel real and underscores the truth of the narrative. This is a touching and uplifting story.
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About the Authors
Julie Schanke Lyford lives in the Twin Cities with her husband Rafe, daughters Madi and Katy, rescue dog Wallace, bearded dragon Evan, and rosy boa Milo. An LGBTQ+ activist in Minnesota, Julie lobbied for same-sex marriage before it became legal and, trained by Minnesota United For All Families, traveled the state giving speeches to help pass the vote.
“Being a mother, I have read many picture books to my children. However, there were NONE that showed OUR family unit, a family with gay grampas. Working together with my father, Robert, we have taken a true story and turned it into a beautifully illustrated picture book.”
Robert A. Schanke, a retired college theatre professor, has published several books featuring LGBTQ+ theatre artists in America. His books have been finalists multiple times for the Lambda Literary Award, and his biography of playwright Mercedes De Acosta won ForeWord Magazine’s Book of the Year Award. Robert and his husband Jack have been together for over thirty-five years and live in Des Moines.
“During my 40 years of teaching theatre, I authored eight books focusing on LGBTQIA+ artists in the American theatre. Co-authoring this children’s book, however, has been a highlight of my career. In being autobiographical, it has allowed me to express my joy of being a grampa and part of a loving, modern family.”
For more information, visit https://www.katyhastwogrampas.com/.
About the Illustrator
Mariia Luzina was born in Ukraine in the small city of Kryvyj Rih, where she lived with her grandparents until she was 15, when she immigrated to Italy to live with her mother. Mariia has always loved to draw and even went to an Art School when she was a child. It was just a hobby till the age of 20 until she heard her best friend talking about how she wanted to become an illustrator for children’s books, and she decided to give it a try.
“Before I decide to work on a children’s book, I always check whether its plot goes along with my morals and what I stand for. When I saw this project’s description, I knew right away I wanted to take part in it. Even though I like working on books with simple children’s concepts that are funky and cute, I always prefer it when books also touch important social topics, as this one does. The LGBT topic was always present in my life, and never have I ever looked at it funny; it was just so normal to me. So seeing all the hatred and rage targeted at the LGBT community was weird and unjustified to me. Therefore I was happy to get the possibility to work on this book and felt really lucky when I was offered the position of illustrator.
Dedicated Reviews allow authors and illustrators to gain prompt visibility for their work. This is a sponsored*, non-biased review of Katy Has Two Grandpas. Learn more about getting a book review …