Celebrate the Launch of Operation Marriage! Book Review & Giveaway

I’m so excited to share this book with you.

Operation Marriage tells the story of a spunky eight-year-old San Franciscan, Alex, whose best friend shuns Alex because she has lesbian parents. Set during the lead-up to California’s Proposition 8, the ballot measure that ultimately banned same-sex marriage, the story shows the impact that the struggle for marriage equality has on children—not just those from gay families, but on all children who witness the fight.

Based on a true story, Operation Marriage offers us universal themes— trust, perseverance, standing up to adversity—but its approach to the particular social challenge of marriage inequality is something I haven’t ever seen in a children’s book. There is power in viewing a problem from a child’s perspective, and much that we grown-ups can learn from looking at the world through Alex’s eyes.

Alex’s parents got married in the slim window that our state allowed them to; others since have not been so lucky. And because I know you’re wondering, ultimately Alex’s best friend comes around in support of Alex’s family. But it happens in a way that makes me cry every single time I read it. Yet no matter how lovely I think this book is, aided by Lea Lyon’s gentle, realistic illustrations, what I really hope is that someday this book  will be become part of dusty history, a quaint reminder of how narrow minded our state—our country—used to be.

The super awesome publisher of Operation Marriage, Reach and Teach—you should check out their other titles, too—is offering an autographed, hardcover copy of the book to one of my readers. Leave a comment below (and be sure to give me a way to get in touch with you by leaving your email address or friending me on facebook) for a chance to win. The winner will be announced Tuesday, the day the book is officially launched.

The national launch of Operation Marriage is next Wednesday, November 2. Local supporters can join the author, illustrator, and publishers at the launch party at Kepler’s in Menlo Park.

Wherever you are, please read and share this important book!



  1. Lynda M O says

    Avant garde kid’s lit will help our diverse viewpoints spread like wildflowers thru our children and then thru theirs. Congrats on the release of Operation marriage and thanks for having a give away.

  2. Lisa Grushcow says

    Thanks for bringing this book to our attention! It sounds well worth reading. Explaining the NY marriage equality debate to my 7 year old was an interesting experience, and this might help us deepen the conversation.

  3. Ellen says

    My son would love this book. He’s been asking a lot of questions about who he can marry when he grows up. Hopefully the answer will be anyone he chooses! I’m glad a book like this exists.

  4. Mariana Avelãs says

    will try to get my hands on this. if any publisher here in portugal would like to publish it, i’d translate it for free.

    • shoffman says

      Cynthia, lovely book!!! Congrats on the publication! I would love to meet you some day. I can’t come to the release party but I hope it’s awesome. -SH

  5. Derrick Kikuchi says

    Sarah, thanks for your review of Operation Marriage. Just wanted to also highlight our companion project to the book, the Defense of ALL Families pledge that offers a welcoming and diverse affirmation of families in all of their diversity and a way your readers can pledge to support them. Please consider viewing, signing, and spreading the word at: http://www.reachandteach.com/s/doafp

  6. Elyse says

    Sounds like a great book! I am looking forward to reading it with my 4 year old daughter. She knows about marriage equality, but does not know that it is a struggle, or how to deal with people with different views.

  7. Cynthia Hawthorne says

    I am the board president of Santa Cruz City Schools. I am also a Lesbian Mom who has had two daughters attend our local public schools during these times of civil and social change.

    Our SCCS school board offered early and strong support for Mark Leno’s bill, and I would like to explore introducing your book to our K-12 district.

    Please let me know if your book is translated into Spanish.

    BTW, Thanks for telling our story!

    • shoffman says

      Hi Cynthia, it’s wonderful that you would like to introduce Operation Marriage into your district! The book was written by Cynthia Chin-Lee, and I don’t know if it’s been translated into Spanish yet. Contact Craig Weisner at Reach and Teach, publisher of the book, for more information: craig@reachandteach.com.

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