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These gay moms didn’t see their family on the pages of children’s books — so they wrote their own

GLAAD president Sarah Kate Ellis and her wife Kristen Ellis-Henderson opened up about their new inclusive book, "All Moms."
/ Source: TODAY

In honor of the beginning of LGBTQ Pride Month, GLAAD president and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis stopped by TODAY with her wife and Kristen Ellis-Henderson to talk about their new book, "All Moms."

GLAAD is an LGBTQ media advocacy organization that Ellis has led since early 2014. The children's book celebrates all different types of moms and shows that families don't have to involve a husband, wife and child.

Sarah Kate Ellis and her wife Kristen Ellis-Henderson with the cover of the book for "All Moms."
Sarah Kate Ellis and her wife Kristen Ellis-Henderson with the cover of the book for "All Moms."Courtesy Sarah Kate Ellis and Kristen Ellis-Henderson; Little Bee Books / Max Rambaldi

"We really were specific about including so many families and types of families in this book, because oftentimes, our kids feel left out of the conversation, and they can't see themselves and this was an opportunity to let them see themselves and be proud of their family," Ellis told TODAY.

Ellis and Ellis-Henderson are both proud parents to their 13-year-old children, who were there when they wrote the book and an active part of the process.

"We wrote it on our dining room table and they were in and around and had comments and offered ideas and suggestions," Ellis said. "So they're very much a part of this book as well."

When their little ones were growing up, the authors remember that there was a book that their children would instantly gravitate to called "Mommy, Mama, and Me." This was the only book they had that showed a family with two mothers, and their kids couldn't get enough of it.

Sarah Kate Ellis and Kristen Ellis-Henderson with their two kids.
Sarah Kate Ellis and Kristen Ellis-Henderson with their two kids.Courtesy Sarah Kate Ellis and Kristen Ellis-Henderson

To Ellis, it showed that "representation matters so deeply and so much for all of us."

So the women wanted to contribute their own work so that other future families wouldn't have such limited resources to stock their book shelves or home libraries.

The duo first co-authored their 2015 memoir “Times Two: Two Women in Love and the Happy Family They Made.” The autobiography talked about their experiences being pregnant at the same time and it gave readers a glimpse of what “modern families look like.”

But still, they wanted to create something for kids.

In 2021, Ellis-Henderson — who is the founder of the all-female rock band Antigone Rising — came up with the idea for "All Moms" when she started to think about a song that perfectly described the "close-knit community" they lived in.

"I've always had this song sort of bouncing around in my head about our neighborhood and how you can look out the window and you can see all different types of people walking by the house," she said.

The 33rd Annual GLAAD Media Awards
Sarah Kate Ellis, Kristen Ellis-Henderson and their two children in 2022.Stefanie Keenan / Getty Images for GLAAD

Some of those people who passed by her home made it into their book.

"A lot of the characters in the book are based on real people that live in the neighborhood," Ellis-Henderson said. "So, in my head, it's pretty sing-songey and Sarah just sort of helped."

With Ellis' help, the couple was able to transform a great song and turn it into a masterpiece that children could read.

A page from "All Moms."
A page from "All Moms."little bee books / Max Rambaldi

In December 2021, Ellis hit back at more LGBTQ books being banned from school libraries when she started the social media campaign, Books Not Bans.

"We started that because we saw so many LGBTQ books and an exorbitant amount being banned that we hadn't seen in years," she said. "So we saw a real trend to silencing LGBTQ voices, and so we wanted to draw attention to that."

Ellis and Ellis-Henderson are hoping that this Pride Month will help LGBTQ kids feel more seen than ever before.

"My biggest wish for pride this month is that our kids feel safe and loved and that's universal," she said. "And so I think we can stop letting people divide us and realize that united we're here to protect our kids, and to love them, help them grow and learn. That's universal for all of us."

To celebrate LGBTQ pride, TODAY is sharing this community’s history, pain, joy and what’s next for the movement. We will be publishing personal essays, stories, videos and special features throughout the entire month of June.