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Operation Marriage

Eight-year-old Alex has a fight with her best friend, Zach, who says he can no longer be her friend. Why? Because “her parents aren’t married.” Set in the San Francisco Bay Area months before the passage of Proposition 8 banning gay marriage in California, this picture book looks at the heartwarming and humorous actions of Alex and her younger brother, Nicky, to convince their parents to get married.

Though content with a commitment ceremony years earlier, the children’s stubbornness prevails and the moms get legally married before Prop. 8 takes effect. Their love as a family is contagious as their neighbors begin to accept them for what they are: a normal, affectionate family.

Based on a true story, Cynthia Chin-Lee (author of Amelia to Zora) has written a splendid and touching story about a real family, and the real implications of the struggle for equality, with beautiful and captivating illustrations by Lea Lyon (Say Something).

Praise:

Operation Marriage is an honest, insightful, and touching story illustrating the many ways that lack of marriage equality impacts kids’ lives. Its messages—perseverance, trusting oneself, facing adversity and standing up to it—are universal, but its approach to the particular social challenge of marriage inequality fills a void in the children’s book world. There is power in seeing a problem from a child’s perspective, and much that we grown-ups can learn from looking at the world through a child’s eyes. This book belongs in every school library and on every public library shelf.”  —Sarah Hoffman, author of Pink Boys

“Cynthia Chin-Lee very sensitively deals with the subject of same sex marriage by telling the true story of one couple and their children. Children are very ready to start talking about the civil rights issues of our time and this book is a great jumping off point to get those conversations started.”  —Jacinta Bunnell, author of Girls Are Not Chicks Coloring Book

“Even 3rd-graders know that commitment ceremonies are not weddings and domestic partnerships are not marriage. Operation Marriage shows how important marriage is to children and that they understand that anything less, is less than equal.”  —Dr. Davina Kotulski, psychologist, and author of Why You Should Give A Damn About Gay Marriage (2004) and Love Warriors: The Rise of the Marriage Equality Movement and Why it Will Prevail (2010)

“Cynthia delights audiences, with careful consideration not to leave anyone out. Her books are winners.”  —Heidi R. Kling, author of Sea

“The strength here is Lyon’s watercolor illustrations in summer greens, golden yellows, and coppery browns that evoke the heat of warm days spent with friends.”  —School Library Journal, on Playing War

About the Author:

Cynthia Chin-Lee is the author of A Is For Asia (Orchard Books), which Ruminator Review called one of the “Best 100 American Children’s Books of the Century,” and A is For the Americas (Orchard Books), which earned an award from the National Council for Social Studies and Children’s Book Council (CBC/NCSS) as a Notable Children’s Book in Social Studies. Her latest books are the award-winning Amelia to Zora: Twenty-six Women Who Changed the World, and Akira to Zoltan: Twenty-six Men Who Changed the World. She lives in Palo Alto, California, with her husband, son, and two cats.

About the Illustrator:

Lea Lyon is an award-winning children’s book illustrator, painting teacher, and portrait artist based in Richmond, CA. Her books include Say Something with Peggy Moss (Tilbury House), a Notable Social Studies Book and winner of the Teachers’ Choice Award from Learning magazine; Playing War with Kathy Beck (Tilbury House), winner of the Skipping Stones Magazine Award as one of the “Best 25 Multicultural Picture Books of 2006;” Keep Your Ear on the Ball with by Genevieve Petrillo (Tilbury House), winner of the Moonbeam Award in 2008 and runner up for the ALA Schneider Family Award in 2007. Lea’s most recent book, The Miracle Jar, is a Chanukah picture book by New York Times bestselling author Audrey Penn. (Tanglewood Books).

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