Donovan’s Big Day

Written by: Lesléa Newman

Illustrated by: Mike Dutton

For Ages: 3-7 years

Language: English

Topics Covered: LGBT Marriage, Children of LGBT Parents, Lesbian Parents.

Summary: The plot line of this story follows Donovan, who is getting ready for a big event in his life.  He takes a bath, gets dressed in a fancy outfit, and squishes into the backseat with his relatives.  When Donovan gets out of the car, the reader realizes that he is part of a wedding-for his two moms!

The book sweetly covers Donovan’s integral part in his moms’ wedding, and how important he is to their family.  The story is overwhelmingly positive while showing Donovan’s nervousness about participating in the wedding.  The reader is taken on a journey of his preparations for the day without immediately spoiling the event.  The reader could hypothesize that the event is a wedding, but the story meanders through every detail of Donovan’s day before the grand reveal.  A great story for young readers that celebrates love and family.

Reflection Questions:

  • Have you ever been part of a big event like Donovan?
  • How do you think he is feeling when he wakes up?
  • How would you feel if your parents wanted you to help them celebrate something important like Donovan’s moms wanted him to help with their wedding?

Continuing the Conversation:

  • What is an event that you would like to plan, and invite people who are important to you?
  • What are some different family structures that you have in your life?  Having a conversation about how love runs through all of these different families will introduce the idea that there is not just one family style that is successful.

About the Author & the Illustrator:

leslea newmanLesléa (pronounced “Lez-LEE-uh”) Newman is the author of 70 books for readers of all ages, including A Letter to Harvey Milk; October Mourning: A Song for Matthew Shepard; I Carry My Mother; The Boy Who Cried Fabulous; Ketzel, the Cat Who Composed; and Heather Has Two Mommies. She has received many literary awards, including creative writing fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Massachusetts Artists Foundation, two American Library Association Stonewall Honors, the Massachusetts Book Award, the Association of Jewish Libraries Sydney Taylor Award, the Highlights for Children Fiction Writing Award, a Money for Women/Barbara Deming Memorial Fiction Writing grant, the James Baldwin Award for Cultural Achievement, the Cat Writer’s Association Muse Medallion, and the Dog Writers Association of America’s Maxwell Medallion. Nine of her books have been Lambda Literary Award Finalists. Ms. Newman wrote Heather Has Two Mommies, the first children’s book to portray lesbian families in a positive way, and has followed up this pioneering work with several more children’s books on lesbian and gay families: Felicia’s Favorite Story, Too Far Away to Touch, Saturday Is Pattyday, Mommy, Mama, and Me, and Daddy, Papa, and Me.

mike dutton

Mike Dutton has been an illustrator his whole life! He wrote and illustrated my first book when he was in second grade, a stapled mass of dot-matrix printer paper filled with leaping dinosaurs. He broke into comics around the same time, all of the Sunday funnies to be exact. They were full of fart jokes and he thought they were hilarious but Ms. Colvin did not so she arranged a parent-teacher conference. It took a while, but he eventually bounced back and created a couple hundred “doodles” for Google, a couple kids books (Donovan’s Big Day, by Leslea Newman and Food Truck Fest, by Alexandra Penfold), and even a couple more comics… thankfully under adult supervision. For all things Kidlit, he is happy to be represented by Marietta Zacker of Gallt & Zacker Literary Agency. When he’s not illustrating, he’s either painting outside or going on adventures with his wife and two kids in their truck camper. You should see what he’s up to on his Instagram.