Reading the Rainbow highlights our favorite LGBTQ+ family books from our Book Nook alongside exclusive author Q&As. This month’s book feature is: Mighty May Won’t Cry Today written by Kendra & Claire-Voe Ocampo and illustrated by Erica De Chavez.
About Mighty May Won’t Cry Today:
Pride and love win in this relatable story celebrating the LGBTQ+ community, kids with same-sex parents, and diversity and inclusion.
Mighty May Won’t Cry Today features May, an imaginative and determined girl who tries not to shed a tear on her first day of school but with the help of her two moms, learns why it’s okay to cry. Young readers will delight in how May cleverly navigates the unexpected, resolves challenges with positivity, and utilizes mindful techniques to work through her emotions and feelings. But when May comes across an insurmountable challenge, will she be able to hold back the tears?
Poetic rhymes, colorful designs and lovable characters elevate the story’s positive message about embracing nontraditional families and being mindful when dealing with emotions like sadness, fear, embarrassment and frustration.
Mighty May Won’t Cry Today was named as a Finalist for the 2021 National Indie Excellence Awards, Picture Books: Ages 4-8 category.
An Interview with Kendra & Claire-Voe OCampo
Claire-Voe and Kendra Ocampo have cried many tears together since falling in love in Boston and getting married in 2014 in New Jersey, just months after same-sex marriage became legal in the state. They’re two moms to three mighty daughters, Xiomara, Violet, and Skylar who cry often (and that’s okay!) about spilled milk, a wet diaper, or going to school. When they’re not writing, you might find Kendra and Claire-Voe eating Spanish tapas, video gaming, or watching sappy rom-coms which often brings them to tears.
Q: What inspired you to write this book?
A: Our inspiration to write Mighty May Won’t Cry Today began in 2016 after our first daughter was born and we began reading her children’s books. We quickly saw that most of them featured a traditional family. It saddened us that our family was so little represented in the books Xiomara read. We worried that she would feel like we were different (in a negative way) from other families.
In fact, we learned that a study out of the Cooperative Children’s Book Center of Education found that of 3,700 books surveyed, less than 1% were children’s picture books containing LGBTQ+ content.
We began speaking to friends who also said that they wanted more diversity in the books they were reading. They wanted their children to be exposed to other types of families early on.
Q: Why is representation of LGBTQ+ people & families important?
A: It’s so important that we represent LGBTQ+ people and families in all media (books, television, films, etc.). It affects how others see them and how they see themselves.
When kids read books that represent their LGBTQ+ family, it encourages them to feel positive about their family structure, as opposed to different, sad or strange. It also celebrates who they are and shows that their lives and stories matter.
We need more positive representation as well, rather than negative stereotypes. Mighty May Won’t Cry Today is an “everyday” story that many kids can identify with. By sharing these types of stories, we show our future generation that other types of families and cultures exist, and we are all similar in many ways.
Q: What conversations do you hope this book might spark between parents and their children?
A: We hope that Mighty May Won’t Cry Today will help parents and children talk about how to deal with their emotions and why crying is a great way to express them. At an early age, we learn that we don’t need to or should not cry. In fact crying is something we should all do!
Sometimes when children cry, it can be hard to understand what it really feels like for a child to be overwhelmed, scared or frustrated. We might even brush it off as insignificant or unimportant.
Mighty May Won’t Cry Today is a strong reminder that we should embrace and encourage children to express their emotions. Crying is a way to show others we need help and it also helps us heal. As adults we can lead by example, teaching and showing children that crying is OK.
The book also offers a great opportunity for parents and children to discuss other types of families. It is an “everyday” story about May’s first day of school that all kids can relate with, and it just so happens that May has two moms. It shows that in many ways LGBTQ+ families are like all families. They support and help each other when they’re going through challenges they’re facing.
Q: What books featuring LGBTQ+ people & families are you reading right now?
A: Our three daughters are all under the age of 4 years, so we’re reading many picture books and board books at the moment! Our kids love:
- My Two Moms and Me
- Julián Is a Mermaid
- Prince & Knight
- When Aidan Became a Brother
- All Are Welcome
- The Little Red Stroller
About This Series
Family Equality is devoted to bringing you and your family opportunities to learn, grow, and have fun through the power of LGBTQ+ inclusive books for all ages! Tag us on social and tell us: What book should we highlight next?