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Understand How You Feel: New Book Series Celebrates 'Non-Traditional' Families in a Rapidly Changing Country

Imagined and written by Shannon D. Rhodes, the first in this six-book series is entitled, ‘Understand How You Feel’ and allows children and caregivers to ‘fill in the blanks’ and create their own family image.


Ft. Worth, TX -- (SBWIRE) -- 04/10/2014 -- The first of its kind, a new six-book series by Shannon D. Rhodes is a joyful celebration of families at a time when the need for varied representation is greater than ever. With the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) partially repealed and the steady increase in states throughout America approving same-gender marriage, children in the United States who belong to non-traditional families need to feel accepted, included and loved.

In the debut installment of the series, ‘Understand How You Feel: My Kind of Family’, children will be able to ‘fill in the blanks’ with their caregiver’s name(s), their name, pronouns of their choice, and illustrations that represent their realities. Suitable not only for children with two Moms or two Dads, the series is also a vital support system for single parent families, multi-racial families, foster / adoptive families, multi-generational families and traditional Mom-and-Dad families too.

In short, ‘My Kind of Family’ offers something for everyone!

“There is a greater need than ever for love to be the focus,” says Rhodes. “Children are exposed to a lot of conflicting messages from both educators and the media, and a safe space for them to express their feelings about their family is crucial. The books empower kids to love themselves, and love their families.”

While it is crucial that we teach our children to learn about and appreciate differences, it’s undeniable that they find comfort in seeing a family that’s just like theirs. But, when it comes to children’s books, this is a luxury not all readers enjoy. Many children’s books define the reader’s family by making reference to specific people, such as a mom or dad, who, for whatever reasons, may or may not actually be figures involved in a child’s life.

My Kind of Family is a series of books that asks children and their caregivers to fill in names, select pronouns, and color the details of illustrations in order to create books just as unique as they are while learning spelling and grammar, honing fine motor skills, and exploring their creativity. Rhodes was inspired to write the series by the many facets of her personal life. As a survivor of a childhood trauma, she understands the value and need for open communication during a child’s early years. Mother to a Hispanic girl whom she adopted and co-parents with her ex-partner, Rhodes was faced by questions from her daughter. Why didn’t her family look like the families in her favorite books? Rhodes’s pioneering series puts pens in the hands of our children so that they can validate their family situations and take pride in a story that they helped write.

The first installment in the series, Understand How You Feel, presents the concepts of feelings and emotions, and encourages children to better understand how they feel and to talk about their feelings with their caregivers, whoever they may be.

Since the first book’s release, the series has attracted a lot of attention from readers who are eager for better representation in children’s books.

“This is a very special book on many levels--it shares a great message, creates bonding time with your child while personalizing the book for all future readings and it makes a very precious keepsake for your child and their children. I will be giving several as gifts this year,” from Regina DeBaker.

“I really love this concept of creating a story book that one can tailor for each and every diverse experience! I'm looking forward to using this with my clients and their children!” from Renee Baker.

For more information about the book series, please visit the official website. Stay connected with Shannon D. Rhodes and book series’ news through social media on Facebook.

‘Understand How You Feel: My Kind of Family’ is available now: http://amzn.to/1qf1eBE

The book series focuses on feelings and emotions, so could prove helpful for counselors, therapists, social workers, battered women's shelters, hospitals, open and affirming churches, LGBT Bookstores, LGBT ally and alliance organizations, early childhood development, pediatric offices and pre-schools. Those from these organizations who are interested in learning more about incorporating the series into their environments should contact Shannon D. Rhodes through the information below.

About Shannon D. Rhodes
Shannon D. Rhodes is a lot of things: Female, mother, daughter, sister, artist, author, and successful businesswoman with a bachelor’s degree and eighteen years of workforce experience. Together with her ex-partner, she co-parents a young Hispanic child whom the couple adopted within days of birth. Shannon's goal is to encourage families to talk with their children and empower young readers to use the words, gender and colors of their family in creating a story just as unique as they are.