Me, My Dad and the End of the Rainbow review by Millie Guy
This is a story that brings the reader in, whether they’re a teacher, parent or a child, and takes them along on the journey of the main character, Archie. Funny, heartfelt and insightful, we follow twelve-year-old Archie as he attempts to find out what secret his parents are hiding from him, and why. After much confusion and amateur detective work, he finds out his dad is gay, which is why his parents are divorcing, and his home life has become so disrupted.
With the help of friends, family, and one rule breaking trip to London for the Pride parade, Archie does comes to understand what this means for him and his dad – that nothing has changed. His dad is still his dad, regardless of his sexuality.
I sincerely enjoyed this book. It made me laugh, smile, and even tear up a few times. It has the wonderful balance of the typical chaos caused by a trio of twelve-year-olds, and the emotional side of dealing with something quite unexpected while still young.
The story teaches an important lesson of acceptance.
Whoever you love, however you present – are just bits of who we are and just bits of the people we love.
But this book also validates those feelings of confusion, doubt or even upset that a child may feel about a parent coming out as gay.
It reminds the reader that it’s okay to feel these things, because you’ll have people to help you – even if it feels like the end of the world.
It’s a really enjoyable book to read, regardless of age, with a feel-good ending and a lovely message.
“…Pride is all about family, both the ones you’re given and the ones you make.”
Notes for teachers…
How does this book relate to children in the UK?
Parents sometimes come out to their children. And this can happen anywhere, anytime.
Me, My Dad and the End of the Rainbow is a great book for families who find themselves in a similar situation and can have their experiences validated and recognised.
It’s a great book to help kids understand about family diversity and how different everybody’s ‘normal’ is. It’s a book about family and friendship and looking after each other. It’s a great story that show parents as real people. At the heart of this story is a realistic relationship between a Father and a son. This comes complete with all the bumps in the road that are part of growing up, as everybody learns to express themselves.
We hope this story would firstly be a brilliant read. We hope it would inspire people to participate in Pride celebrations wherever they are. To gain fresh understanding about LGBTQ+ issues or give someone the courage to speak to their families and be their true authentic selves.
How can teachers teach from the book?
This is a story about family.
What makes a family: Discuss Love, support, honesty and reliance.
Discuss managing difficult emotions, weathering tough situations and being true to who you are. Being in a family isn’t always easy.
Talk about celebrating family life in all its forms whatever that looks like.
Class discussions and reflections can bring out what family means to individuals and is a great way to draw out learning from this brilliant book.
Marsha P Johnson
Marsha P. Johnson is mentioned in the book and was an African American trans-rights activist in the 1960s and 1970s. They played a big role in important moments for the LGBTQ+ movement. Participating in Stonewall protests, they were instrumental in the first ever gay rights march that happened in New York.
Marsha and good friend Sylvia Rivera, who was also an activist , founded STAR – Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries – an organisation to support gay and trans individuals who had been left homeless.
A great person to open up a discussion on LGBTQ+ rights and the issues surrounding identity.
What can children learn from the book?
They can learn that sometimes there are hard things to deal with, but all emotions are completely valid. Archie and his Dad found themselves in a really tough situation but ended up coming together to work through it.
Children can learn a lot about families, family life, and LGBTQ+ issues in this book. As well as learning about Pride and the history behind it.
Gay, lesbian and nonbinary characters are introduced casually in the story helping kids to learn to expect diversity.
Who will see themselves in this book and feel better understood?
Anyone managing a tough situation at home will resonate with this book.
And more particularly those kids and parents who are going through something similar to Archie and his Dad. This book will help all kids navigate what they’re feeling. It will reassure them that everything is usually ok in the end.