Second Dad Summer

(Author) (Illustrator)

Product Details

$16.99  $15.63
One ELM Books
Publish Date
6.1 X 8.1 X 0.9 inches | 0.95 pounds

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About the Author

Benjamin Klas lives in Minnesota with his partner and their son. His work has appeared in literary magazines and a collection by LGBTQ authors.
Fian Arroyo has been illustrating for more than 20 years. He lives in the mountains of North Carolina. When he is not drawing he can be found fishing or mountain biking.


A young man learns about Pride, tolerance, and acceptance in this heartwarming debut. Iowan Jeremiah usually enjoys spending summers with his father, Al, a construction worker who lives in Minneapolis. Except now those summers include Al's new boyfriend, Michael, a man with highlighted hair who drinks organic teas, rides around on a unicorn-themed bicycle, and comes across as way too gay for Jeremiah's taste. As the summer progresses, Jeremiah's friendships with Sage, a girl who lives close by with her moms, and Mr. Keeler, an older, gay next-door neighbor who shares his love of gardening, help him rethink his view of Michael and his beliefs about masculinity. Klas' novel is a timely salute to the evolving picture of a traditional American family. The author's mastery of this subject matter is evident in the smallest details of the world he creates, from the urban smells of a big city and the spirit of a Pride festival to Jeremiah's angst over Michael's use of nicknames reserved for his parents. Arroyo's black-and-white cartoon illustrations give further texture to the story. Through Klas' eminently likable young protagonist, readers enter a space where homosexuality and bisexuality are thoughtfully discussed and traditional ideas of masculinity are explored and challenged. The cast is default white, but the diversity within the LGBTQ community is thoughtfully presented, including in the persons of Sage and her mother Lisa, who are Hmong (Sage was conceived via artificial insemination). Touching and unforgettable.--Kirkus Reviews

-- "Journal"

Twelve-year-old Jeremiah is looking forward to spending the summer with his dad--but not so much with his dad's flamboyant, live-in boyfriend, Michael. Surrounding his young protagonist with an adult cast so thoroughly LGBTQ that when one character introduces himself as 'the straight one, ' it's only barely an exaggeration, Klas sends Jeremiah (and readers) to a Minneapolis Pride festival to learn how wide the rainbow is, involves him in conversations on topics ranging from pronouns to bisexuality and (with a new friend, Sage, one of whose moms is also Hmong) artificial insemination, and, significantly, has him witness Michael and his dad unselfconsciously kissing, holding hands, and exchanging tender physical gestures. Moreover, though Michael initially comes off as a standard gay caricature, he turns out to have hidden depths. Jeremiah, being a fundamentally decent sort, eventual accepts Michael with relative ease. Along with a cornucopia of discussion topics and an array of positive alternative role models (reflected in Arroyo's occasional scenes of skinny-limbed but ordinary-looking people, nearly always smiling), this debut never seems overstuffed despite a plot that features a birth, deaths present and past, working together on projects (including breaking ground for a garden), characters and relationships with sometimes surprising nuances, and much adjusting to new family and friendships.--starred, Booklist

-- "Journal"