Brother’s dying wish inspires children’s book on tolerance

Author Bruce Brown explains his motivation behind "Gordon The Giraffe"

An author’s love for his gay brother, along with the dying man’s last wishes, provides powerful motivation for a new children’s book, “Gordon The Giraffe,” about tolerance.

In an interview with San Diego Gay & Lesbian News, author Bruce Brown talks about how he was inspired by his dying brother and his lifelong struggle as a gay man. Brown says his brother had the same wants and desires of ordinary Americans, the right to marry and the right to adopt and start a family. His brother also faced trials and tribulations as a gay man, and Brown wanted to call out those who promote hatred and discrimination.

SDGLN: What message do you want children to get from Gordon the Giraffe?

Bruce Brown: “Gordon the Giraffe” is a message of tolerance. Clearly it is a message of gay tolerance, but honestly it’s simply message of tolerance could be applied to many things. The thing I love about this book is that it states that even though you see someone different in your eyes, have you ever considered they see you as different through their eyes. So, in the end, being different from each other is something that is not only normal, but should be accepted and embraced.

SDGLN: How did your brother come to inspire you to write a children's book about tolerance?

BB: My brother was diagnosed with HIV and as he started to decline in health, he spoke to me about doing something with my books other than entertain. He asked me before he passed away to do a book that would do just that. As an all children’s graphic novelist it seemed natural to do a book for children. My brother had always wanted the right to marry and even adopt a child and start a family. So, from that desire of my brother, "Gordon The Giraffe" arose.

SDGLN: Were you ever bullied as a child or were you made to feel like you were different than others?

BB: No, I wasn’t really bullied as a child. The bullying factor came from experiences my brother told me, he had, as a gay man. He had spoken of times when he was harassed and even feared for his safety at times because he was gay. So, I wanted to incorporate that into the book.

SDGLN: Was there a specific reason Africa was chosen as the location and giraffes as the species?

BB: Yes, I always wanted to do a book based in Africa for it always seemed to have a sense of mystery to me. I chose to do the story as an African folklore tale. The giraffe’s were chosen because I thought Gordon, in the book, would need to rise above hatred and to do so you must have a big heart. I loved the idea of saying in the story that the creator of all things gave giraffes such a big heart that he had to make their necks so high so that they could see all the beauty in the world.

SDGLN: Is this children's book targeted to gay parents or a mainstream audience?

BB: Gordon is unique in that is a book coming out of the comics industry in that it is solely targeted for gay parents. But honestly, its message of tolerance could be enjoyed by the mainstream audience. I want to applaud Arcana Studios for taking a chance on this very unique book and the message it embraced.

SDGLN: Where do you live and what do you do for a living?

BB: I live in Springfield, Ill., and I actually test voting systems for a living. I have been writing graphic novels for nearly seven years now.

SDGLN: What is your next project?

BB: I am the creator/author of the Howard Lovecraft series. I am now finishing up and starting production on the third book in that series; "Howard Lovecraft & The Kingdom Of Madness."

SDGLN: Do you have a personal message to the world?

BB: In a way, "Gordon the Giraffe" story is my message. I loved my brother and saw all trials and tribulations he went through in being a gay man. Though we live in modern times, hatred and discrimination of people who are different unfortunately is still prevalent in the world. I always think of that quote from Edmund Burke, “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.” So, “Gordon the Giraffe” is not only my message to that, but also calling it out.

The details

The paperback book, which will be published on Sept. 11, can be pre-ordered for $5.95 on Amazon. Click HERE.

Ken Williams is Editor in Chief of SDGLN. He can be reached at ken@sdgln.com, @KenSanDiego on Twitter, or by calling toll-free to (877) 727-5446, ext. 713.

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