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October 19, 2018

Education expert Gore debuts a Kirkusstarred children’s picture book about a same-sex family.

What is the story behind All Is Assuredly Well—what inspired you to write it?

On my 47th birthday, I took to the witness stand in federal court. Wichita Falls, Tex., had passed a book-banning law to rid the library of Heather Has Two Mommies and Daddy's Roommate, two children's picture books depicting same-sex-parent families. I was an expert witness because I was a multicultural education professor. I was a plaintiff out of conscience. I longed to see a fairy tale illustrated in the Pre-Raphaelite tradition that I'd loved as a child added to the canon to address this subject, but none appeared. I finally decided that the responsibility to create such a book was mine.  
 
How did you settle upon the idea of telling the story of a same-sex couple’s quest to adopt a child as a fairy tale?

I knew that the first book I wanted to write would be about a timid king who had to go on the hero's journey to win a baby girl while his loving, stoic, if bewildered, husband looked on. I also knew it would be infused with fairy-tale elements.

Tell us about your process of collaborating with coauthor Maestro Wilson and illustrator Angela F.M. Trotter. How did you find one another?

Maestro Wilson was my music teacher and the first person to recognize my facility with words. We lived 350 miles apart and so wrote the book over the phone, working an hour a night, seven nights a week, for four months. Together, we created a world, a kingdom, its ethos, the extensive backstories of the kings, and everything else.
 
I looked for months for an illustrator who worked in the Pre-Raphaelite tradition I had envisioned. When I first saw Angie’s work in a vendor booth at a church convention, chills flew up my spine.

Why or how do you think this book is particularly relevant now, or how do you imagine readers at this moment will connect to it?

The number of gender-diverse families is growing each year. Young children need access to books that treat the subject of gender-diverse families compassionately. All children need to know that families are the people who love and care for you, not simply the people who share your DNA.
 
Who is your ideal reader and why?

A straight or gay parent can make this book available to her or his child. A children's librarian can make it available to hundreds.
 
In the way that same-sex marriage legalization has, according to research, lowered suicide rates among LGBTQI teenagers, seeing loving same-sex marriage in books should have a powerful effect on young children. If they are LGBT, my hope is that All Is Assuredly Well will make them more resilient. If they are heterosexual, my wish is that it will make them more accepting of their peers.

What is the one thing you most want to tell readers, other writers, booksellers, publishers, or agents about you or your book?

We must make available children's picture books depicting loving families that represent the universe of family types. My job is to help children by making such books available. It's your job, too. If not us, who? And if not now, when?

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