American first-time author Judith Benjamin’s foray into children’s literature was precipitated by one curly question from her three-year-old granddaughter: “Where’s my Daddy?”
“When she asked me that question, I floundered,” Benjamin told Southern Star.
“The interesting thing is this three-year-old can tell you everything you want to know about sperm donors — her mothers have told her all about her origins — but seeing the other kids around her, she could sense that something didn’t compute.”
And so the 30-page picture book And Baby Makes 4 was born. The book is unique among gay children’s literature in that it doesn’t bring the issue of gay parenting to the forefront of the story.
Rather, it tells the tale of a young girl adjusting to the new addition to her family, a baby brother. The fact that she has two mothers is evident in the colour photographs that dot every page, but barely rates a mention in the accompanying text.
“My daughter and daughter-in-law were very strongly in favour of making sure gay parents weren’t the crux of the story. They’re ready to move on from that; their community accepts them,” Benjamin said.
“I realised that if my granddaughter had enough books on her shelf like this, she wouldn’t even have asked the question she did. But she got the sense that there was something missing, even though she knows the facts about her family.”
Giving a touch of authenticity to the story, the photos are actually of Benjamin’s daughter and her family.
“A book like this has to find its market, and it’s really such a small niche. It’s gay parents and it’s progressive straight parents who want their kids to understand there is a range of families out there. Realistically, I would be delighted if I sold 500 copies.”
While And Baby Makes 4 depicts the life of a same-sex family in all its day-to-day detail, Benjamin did take poetic licence with one element: the recent addition to her daughter’s family, a baby girl, was recast as baby Jacob in the book.
“The story needed a little dose of testosterone, so I made the new baby a boy. At one point my granddaughter told her mother that she wanted to have Jacob instead!”
info: And Baby Makes 4 is available at
Hares & Hyenas.