A farm boy and a prince fall in love in this fairy tale that needs to be on your kids’ bookshelf.
It’s 2017, and some kids still can’t see representations of themselves in their books and TV shows. A powerful new book called Promised Land aims to change that — in more ways than one.
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Written by Adam Reynold and Chaz Harris, Promised Land tells the story of a farm boy and a prince who meet, become close friends and, eventually, fall in love. It’s a picture book that definitely borrows elements from classic fairytales, but turns them on their heads to create a story that’s both inclusive and empowering. In addition to featuring a queer couple, the book’s “damsel in distress” is anything but — she’s a queen who gets into a sticky situation and then saves herself.
“The [kinds of media] we consume as kids and young adults form our attitudes towards those around us,” Harris said in an interview with the Huffington Post. “Most importantly, they influence our attitudes towards ourselves. If you don’t see yourself in stories, you don’t see yourself in the world and I believe that lack of visibility creates the kind of ‘otherness’ we often experience as LGBTQ+ people. If we can be heroes in stories, we’re seen more positively in the real world.”
The authors chose to dedicate the book to the 49 people killed at the Pulse nightclub shooting, many of whom were LGBTQ.
“After it was reported the man responsible for the Pulse massacre had said the image of two men kissing disgusted him so much that it had motivated the attack, our book ends with that image,” Harris explained. “We felt it was important that the lives that we lost could be forever remembered with a message of love and hope.”
And both authors plan to expand the kingdom they’ve created in Promised Land, writing books that explore more diverse characters.
“We do hope to be able to bring more stories to life that feature protagonists beyond gay characters, that just seemed the most obvious starting point for us,” Reynolds said. “We’d likely do this in collaboration with writers who represent those authentic voices though. Why not? There’s a whole Kingdom to explore!”
Promised Land is sold out in hard cover, but is available to pre-order in paperback or to digitally download as an E-book from its website.