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Reach And Teach says:
We were so honored when Cynthia Chin-Lee offered us the opportunity to publish this book and were incredibly thrilled when Lea Lyon agreed to do the illustrations. The story is based on people we've known and loved for years and truly shows the impact inequality has on entire families. As we lived through the elation of marriage equality becoming a brief reality, and then the fear that the right would be taken away by a ballot initiative, and then finally the sadness over the initiative passing, we knew the impact the situation had on us, but didn't realize how hard it was for the children of gay parents. Driving to my father's house one day during the leadup to the election, we passed a corner filled with marriage equality opponents and their signs were terrible, hateful, ignorant. It hurt. Imagine what it would feel like for a child to ride past a house in her neighborhood and see that kind of sign on someone's lawn.
Our world is filled with incredibly loving families, made up of Mom and Dad and kids, Mom and Mom and kids, Dad and Dad and kids, Mom and kids, Dad and kids, foster-parent(s) and kids, kids being raised by aunts, uncles, grandparents, and on and on and on. Where there is love there is family. Where there is family, there should be respect, dignity and support.
Cynthia's book, based on a wonderful true story and illustrated with warmth and love by Lea Lyon, is one that can help us learn about, value, and support all families.
About the Book:
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 (both women) aren't married." Set in the San Francisco Bay area, months before Proposition 8,a measure banning gay marriage passes, this picture book looks at what it takes for Alex and her younger brother, Nicky, to convince their mothers to get married while they can. Their love as a family is contagious as their neighbors begin to accept them for what they are: a normal, affectionate family.
- 32 pages full color illustrations
- 8 1/2 by 11
- Ages 4 and Up
Operation Marriage: The Movie
In 2014 a short film version of Operation Marriage was created and is currently being shown at film festivals around the world. You can see the YouTube version right here.
- Directed by Quentin Lee
- Screenplay by Cynthia Chin-Lee & Brad Stocking
- Produced by Alan Reade & Quentin Lee
- Line Producer: Roxy Shih
Click here to visit the Operation Marriage: The Movie web site.
Praise for the Book:
In Operation Marriage Cynthia Chin-Lee has shown the gay marriage debate through the eyes of the children effected. A simple, but powerful story that should be in every classroom from preschool on up. --Sharon Levin, Founder, Bay Area Children's Literature List
Operation Marriage is a visually beautiful and warm book. The topic, marriage equality, is handled in a sensitive and child-centric way, helping readers of all ages to understand why recognizing all types of families is important to the growth of our children and the resilience of our society. Offering opportunities for discussion between children and the adults who care about them, Operation Marriage opens doors for sharing, compassion, stretching ourselves and seeing how even children can impact their worlds in a meaningful way. The power of love over fear is at work here, in the story and in the project that made the story into this winsome book. --Mika Gustavson, MFT, Gifted Matters
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 www.sarahhoffmanwriter.com
"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 and Sometimes the Spoon Runs Away with Another Spoon
For those who believe, true love does conquer all! -- Terry Hong, Book Dragon Review, Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Program
I have been involved in Civil Rights issues since college days when I served a 30-day jail sentence for sitting at a lunch counter with three other whites and two African-Americans....and asked for a cup of coffee! Here we are now having to dig through the weeds and briar patches of another civil rights issue: marriage equality. The beauty/emotion of this book flows from its presentation through children's eyes. The simplicity of children's thinking can effectively pierce the rough hewn edges of adult logic!! Every school library should have this book and be proud!!!
--Mary Bentley Abu-Saba, Ph. D.
Children need a permanent and secure nurturing family to help them thrive. Decades of research have shown that children's social, academic, and emotional development are similar whether they have two mothers or a mother and a father. Their parents' marriage gives children the security and the legitimacy they need to dispel stereotypes and to thrive in school and society.
Ellen C. Perrin, M.D.
Division of Developmental-Behavioral Pediatrics
Floating Hospital for Children
Tufts Medical Center
Operation Marriage is a touching delightful book telling of a family with two moms. It positively confirms that marriage between two loving adults of the same sex is wonderful and legal! This book also touched on bullying which is so common in schools and how a parent can help their child who is the bully to understand and change the negative behavior. --Monique Kane, MFT
As parents, we want children to learn about the real struggles and joys of families different from ours. This book tells a true story simply and compellingly. When children learn empathy through stories like this, we can stop bullying and create understanding and compassion. --Carol and Charles Spring, Virginia
"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, Motivational Life Coach, 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 Chin-Lee and her four older siblings were born and raised in Washington, D.C. by a medical-doctor father and a homemaker and artist mother. Cynthia began writing for fun when she was in the sixth grade. "I liked writing poetry and scribbling in my journal because I found it comforting and therapeutic. I still write for that reason and because I like playing with words."
Cynthia attended HarvardUniversity, where she studied East Asian Languages. She spent her junior year abroad at the Mandarin Training Center of National Taiwan Normal University. After graduating from Harvard magna cum laude, Cynthia accepted a graduate fellowship at the East-WestCenter in Honolulu, Hawaii, and studied at the University of Hawaii.
She began a technical writing career by writing for banks and high-tech companies. She has also written freelance articles for magazines and newspapers, as well as taught writing classes at community colleges and universities. She currently works as a publications manager at Oracle Corporation, Menlo Park, CA.
Before writing children's books, Cynthia published It's Who You Know: The Magic of Connections in Person and on the Internet (BookPartners 1998), a ground-breaking work on the importance of social networking.
Cynthia's first children's book, Almond Cookies & Dragon Well Tea (Polychrome Publishing 1993) is an autobiographical tale of friendship. She is also the author of A Is For Asia (Orchard Books 1997), which Ruminator Review called one of the "Best 100 American Children's Books of the Century," and A is For the Americas (Orchard Book, 1999), 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 in 2000 and earned recognition as an Americas Award Commended Book. Her newest 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, both illustrated by Megan Halsey and Sean Addy. Amelia to Zora was recognized by the CBC/NCSS as a Notable Children's Book in Social Studies and was named to the Amelia Bloomer list. It also won the National Parenting Publication Association (NAPPA) Gold Award and the Legacy Award from the Texas State Gifted and Talented Education Association. Akira to Zoltan was also recognized as a CBC/NCSS Notable Children's Book in Social Studies.
Cynthia is an active member in the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI), which can be found on the web at http://www.scbwi.org. The San Franciso Bay Area local chapter's web location is http://www.scbwisf.org.
She lives in Palo Alto, California with her husband, son, and two cats.
Praise for the Author:
"Cynthia delights audiences, with careful consideration not to leave anyone out. Her books are winners."
--Heidi R. Kling, Author, Sea (G. P. Putnam's Sons)
Praise for Almond Cookies
"At a time when racial intolerance remains all too common, Chin-Lee's story of a friendship that reaches across racial lines and embodies appreciation for cultural diversity, is one that children should hear while they are young enough to benefit from it."
-- Asian Week
Praise for Akira to Zoltan
"...clearly, even eloquently written, and includes just the right amount of detail and information about work and ethics for the target audience. Chin-Lee's rich diversity of subjects, from Diego (Rivera) and Greg (Louganis) to Octavio (Paz) and Vine (Deloria), makes a statement on its own."
Lea Lyon is an award-winning children's book illustrator, painting teacher and
portrait artist who has made a childhood dream come true. She wanted to be a
children’s book illustrator, but as an adult did many other things instead, including
getting an MBA and working in hi tech.
Now, at long last, Lea is a children's book illustrator with four published trade picture
books, three of which have won awards.
“Say Something,” by Peggy Moss, Tilbury House Publishers, was a named a Notable
Social Studies Book for 2005 and won the “Teachers’ Choice Award” from Learning
“Playing War,” by Kathy Beckwith, Tilbury House Publishers, won the Skipping
Stones Magazine Award as one of the “Best 25 Multi-cultural Picture Books of
“Keep Your Ear on the Ball,” by Genevieve Petrillo, Tilbury House Publishers, won
the Moonbeam Award in 2008 and was a 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 best-selling author Audrey Penn. (Tanglewood Books, 2008) It came out in
paper back in October, 2010.
Lea is an active member of The SCBWI (Society of Children's Book Writers and
Illustrators.) She is the Illustrator Coordinator of the San Francisco region of SCBWI
and arranges conferences featuring nationally famous illustrators and art directors.
Praise for Illustrator:
“The realistic watercolor illustrations represent a diverse population. Emotions are portrayed beautifully through facial expression and body language.”
-- Praise for Say Something - Corrina Austin, Locke’s Public School, St. Thomas, Ontario, Canada
“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.”
-- Praise for Playing War - School Library Journal
"Her drawings show children expressing not just happiness or sorrow, but the more subtle emotions, such as embarrassment, dread, longing, pride, wonderment, or eager anticipation."
-- St. PaulTower's Senior Residence Newsletter
Product location: 0201, 0202