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‘Highlights for Children’ Magazine Makes History

HONESDALE — “Highlights for Children” has been a part of many of our childhoods. The children’s magazine, based partly in Wayne County, ...

HONESDALE -- "Highlights for Children" has been a part of many of our childhoods. The children's magazine, based partly in Wayne County, did something in the new February issue it had never done before.

Every month, "Highlights" puts out a magazine filled with stories and puzzles for kids.

Now, it has included in its latest issue a family with two dads, the first representation of a same-sex relationship in the publication's 70-year history.

Soon after it arrived in the mail, Betty Lawson leafed through the February issue of "Highlights for Children" at the Wayne County Public Library in Honesdale.

Then she saw it: a family packing for a trip – kids, parents, a same-sex couple, and a first for the long-running children's magazine.

"It's not banging anybody over the head with anything," said librarian Betty Lawson. "It's a picture of a family, of a beautiful family packing up to go on vacation."

The children's librarian is proud to see "Highlights" take this progressive step. She too has been trying to incorporate a more diverse selection of books for families on the library's shelves.

"I just got some books on transgender children, a beautiful book on a transgender family."

"Highlights for Children" has been headquartered in Honesdale for generations and also has a headquarters in Columbus, Ohio. The company wouldn't comment on camera but directed us to its website which says, "our depiction of people is in support of our mission to help children become their best selves and understand that all families, including theirs, are important. We appreciate your continued trust in us in enriching children's lives with our publications."

"It certainly is a scary move to come into the 21st century at times, but I wouldn't even say it's revolutionary. It's about time. This is the way the world operates. Again, it's up to the parents to figure how they want to address this with the children. You can't shelter or hide this from children for the rest of their lives," said Jeannie Maritato.

"I think it's up to a parent to decide if they should bring that subject up and if they want to purchase the magazine and cover that, that's fine. It's not a subject I care to discuss with my children at this point," said parent Mary Samson.

A controversy started in October when an activist pointed out the lack of any same-sex families in the pages of "Highlights" products. Then, when the company apologized and said it would include same-sex relationships soon which caused a Christian advocacy group called "One Million Moms" to oppose the move.

Nonetheless, "Highlights" went through with it.

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