Rainbow Rumpus, a local online magazine for youth with LGBT parents, will be holding a book release launch party of their new Printable Picture Books project at True Colors Bookstore in Minneapolis on October 24. The event for preschool and early elementary children and their families will include storytelling, live music, face-painting, and a bake sale, and children who come to the store on that day will receive a downloaded pdf of the books in Rainbow Rumpus’s current Printable Picture Book series.
Co-founder and Owner Laura Matanah attributes the start of the company to her own child, who expressed confusion at an early age as to why there were no books about children who had two mommies like her own. “She’s the one who started the company,” Matanah said.
Matanah said that the goal of Rainbow Rumpus is to provide literature for kids with LGBT parents, and also for other families. She said the company strives to publish “high quality literature” that isn’t just about LGBT issues, but rather is about a whole host of topics. While the protagonists of Rainbow Rumpus stories always have LGBT parents, the stories themselves aren’t focused solely on that identity. Rather, the children in the stories experience life in a myriad of ways, such as going on adventures, dealing with sibling rivalry, or getting lost on the way to the bathroom as Ta-Cumba does in “Ta-Cumba Goes by Himself”” by Mike Huber, a Rainbow Rumpus story.
Huber, who has written several stories for Rainbow Rumpus, is a pre-school teacher at Seward Childcare Center. He said that he had numerous students who had lesbian parents, but couldn’t find any books that had LGBT parents. So he began writing his own stories, and began to send them to publishers, with little luck. Huber said one publisher responded: “Cute story, but we feel it’s a limited market.”
Huber met Laura Matanah’s partner, Sarah, through work, and she introduced him to Rainbow Rumpus. Soon, he had his first story published on the website. “Baby Maria” tells the story of a child whose two moms adopt a child from Latin America. Since then, he’s had two other stories published on the website, and has performed at various events that the organization holds. He will be singing songs and reading one of his stories on Saturday’s event.
Matanah said Rainbow Rumpus published its first sample issue in 2005, and in 2006 began publishing monthly. With the hard work of a dedicated board of directors, two paid staff members, and a team of what is now 30 volunteers, Rainbow Rumpus has grown in recent years, becoming a 501(c)(3) in 2008, and now publishing in a tri-format, with sections for children, teens, and parents. In 2007, Rainbow Rumpus won a Dot ORG award from the MN Council of Nonprofits for being one of Minnesota’s best non-profit websites (TC Daily Planet won that year as well).
The Printable Picture Books Project, a new venture, allows children to print pdfs of coloring books directly from the website. On Saturday, children will get a copy of one of the picture books that they can color and decorate as they wish, and parents will receive guides with suggested activities and ideas for discussing LGBT family issues. The event will take place from 10am to noon at True Colors Bookstore (Formerly Amazon Bookstore) at 4755 Chicago Avenue in Minneapolis. The event is co-sponsored by the Seward Co-op Grocery and Deli in Minneapolis, which will also offer a raffle box at the store with prizes that include a Seward Co-op gift certificate and a free pound of coffee from Sovereign Grounds. For more information, see the Rainbow Rumpus website.