An Adelaide mother says she has been left broken-hearted after receiving a backlash of horrible comments over her self-published children’s book celebrating diversity.
Brooke La Pia, 36, was on maternity leave when she came up with the idea for Peter Peter loves his Pink Pants.
The mother of three children and one stepdaughter has worked with children with disabilities for over 10 years and wanted to create a book inspired by all the different types of children she had met during her career.
The book celebrates a young boy named Peter Peter who loves to dance, play with dolls and wear pink pants.
“I wrote a fun children’s book to connect with little boys that like dolls, the colour pink and dancing. It also normalises to other children that not all boys are made the same,” Ms La Pia told Yahoo News Australia.
Mum sickened by shocking response to book
After announcing she had received copies of her book on her YouTube channel, Ms La Pia said she was instantly bombarded with criticism, with some claiming it pandered to paedophiles and brainwashed children.
“I felt sick, I wasn’t expecting it in this day and age,” Ms La Pia said.
A devout Christian Facebook group heard about the book and Ms La Pia found herself flooded with nasty comments.
“This is a paedophiles type book period. A little kid doing the splits in short shorts? Should I even have to explain how that is wrong,” one person commented on Facebook.
“Kids or anyone for that matter should never be exposed to such sick brainwashing,” another person wrote.
“Peter will be a murderer,” one YouTube user responded.
Ms La Pia said for a moment she thought she had done the wrong thing and shouldn’t have published the book so she showed the book to teachers to get their opinion.
“I got some positive comments but what struck me was a lot of teachers said they liked the book but would never read it in class because they were afraid of backlash from parents,” she said.
The concern baffled Ms La Pia who said she deliberately left the book open to interpretation.
“Peter could be the little boy who ends up getting married and having children or he could be the little boy who is gay, it’s open for interpretation.
“Boys should be able to feel it’s ok to play with dolls, I’ve got a one-year-old daughter and I don’t want her to look over at a boy playing with a doll and think it’s weird... I would love the book to be in all classrooms so all children can see that’s ok,” Ms La Pia said.
‘All children deserve to be loved’
Ms La Pia said she initially shopped the idea of the book to several publishers but nobody seemed interested, but when she was contacted by a woman who had a son who loved to collect mermaids and sing, Ms La Pia decided to publish it herself.
“I think it’s an awesome, fun and different book and I thought, ‘I’ve just got to get this out there’, so I self-published it myself,” she told Yahoo.
While Ms La Pia understands the book will appeal to the LGBTQIA community, she said all children can enjoy the book because the core message is something all children deserve and crave.
“This is just about helping all children, it’s for children its not for adults, it’s for children to love and feel loved. And all children deserve to be loved.”
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