Worm Loves Worm explains marriage equality to little ones
“WHEN A WORM meets a special worm and they fall in love, you know what happens next. They get married! But their friends want to know—who will wear the dress? And who will wear the tux? The answer is: it doesn’t matter. Because Worm loves Worm.”
Worm Loves Worm is a new children’s book that aims to illustrate what happens when two people fall in love and decide to be married. It’s written by J.J. Austrian and illustrated by Mike Curato. It broaches what many still regard as a “difficult” topic to discuss with kids: marriage equality. This is the first picture book for author J.J. Austrian, but illustrator Mike Curato has two other adorable children’s picture books under his belt: Little Elliot, Big City, and Little Elliot, Big Family. All of his books have messages of inclusion and humanity — and they are expertly drawn.
Curato writes on his blog, “We are all a little different. This has been a fact that I’ve been reminded of daily. Every day. For most of my life, I doubted that I could ever be married. This wasn’t because I thought that I was incapable of finding true love; it was because the law would have prevented me from doing so.” Curato dedicates the book to his husband Dan, who he married in 2013 right after same-sex marriage became legal in Washington State. He finished illustrating the book in February of 2015, four months before the Supreme Court declared that same-sex marriage was legal for all citizens.
My toddler has grown up seeing my best friend and his boyfriend showing affection to each other, just the way her father and I do. The first wedding she ever went to was her auntie marrying her long-time partner, but she was too young to remember. She’s not too young to understand love and affection now though — she’s almost three. She’s never questioned why any of the same sex couples she knows love each other — either has my five-year-old. It’s simply not something that stumps either of them.
Kids are not born intolerant — that is a learned behavior. If we teach our children from a very young age that marriage equality is just a wonderful part of life, they won’t even flinch about the idea of people loving who they want to love. That’s why this book is so important, and why the market for these books needs to keep growing and growing.