Special Topics in Being a Parent

By (author): S. Bear Bergman

Illustrated by: Saul Freedman-Lawson

An illustrated guide of practical parenting advice informed by queer experiences for anyone doing the work of parenting, from the author and illustrator of Special Topics in Being a Human

Being a parent is enormously joyful, but it is also an enormous amount of work. Parenting requires you to make dozens of decisions a day, every one of which in some way shapes the person your child will grow into. It can be difficult to know in these moments whether you’re on the right track. Progressive parents especially can feel adrift when caregiving in ways that were not modelled for them.

From S. Bear Bergman – advice columnist, educator, and queer dad with fifteen years of parenting under his belt – comes Special Topics in Being a Parent, a witty and insightful collection of child-rearing tips for those in search of realistic ideas about screens and lunches that don’t come with a side order of judgment. Using his own choices – and errors – by way of example, Bergman offers suggestions for various stages of the parenting journey, from asking “Are we ready to have a kid?” to talking with children about diversity and difference, to questioning gender expectations placed on both kids and parents. With plenty of humour and compassion, and featuring charming illustrations by Saul Freedman-Lawson, this guide helps parents to live their parenting values while enabling their kids to grow their capacities, understand the world, and above all, feel connected and loved.


S. Bear Bergman

S. Bear Bergman is an author, storyteller, educator, and the founder and publisher of children’s book press Flamingo Rampant, which makes feminist, culturally diverse children’s picture books celebrating LGBT2Q+ kids and families. He writes creative non-fiction for grown-ups, fiction for children, and the advice column “Asking Bear” and is the co-editor (with Kate Bornstein) of Gender Outlaws: The Next Generation (2010) and the author of Special Topics in Being a Human (Arsenal Pulp Press, 2021). Their other books include The Nearest Exit May Be Behind You and Blood, Marriage, Wine & Glitter.


Saul Freedman-Lawson

Saul Freedman-Lawson is a zine-maker, camp counsellor, bookseller, and the illustrator of Special Topics in Being a Human (Arsenal Pulp). They make art about queerness, transness, Judaism, disability, childhood, and other things they find beautiful and difficult. They like to draw people with big noses and big genders.


“ltpgtBravery honesty curiosity and joy If youre raising children in this complicated messy world or at least thinking about it ltigtSpecial Topics In Being a Parentltigt encourages you to meet your children with the same kind of bravery honesty curiosity and joy that you hope they will carry with them throughout their lives Full of encouragement compassion and practical tips for everything from how to get small people out the door on time without losing your last shred of sanity to how to talk about injustice and upsetting current events it is the perfect resource for imperfect parents who are ready to let go of the need to constantly optimize themselves and their kids and to embrace all that is weird and wonderful Jennifer Peepas writer of CaptainAwkwardcomltpgt”

“S Bear Bergmans books are the new essentials they belong on every bookshelf in every home and if youre looking for a gift for literally anyone at any time Bergmans books are gifts that give and give and give ltigtSpecial Topics in Being a Parentltigt might seem like its only for parents but its for everyone whos ever around kids it offers beautiful advice practical advice and advice so ingenious that it feels like it should be torn out and framed And luckily thanks to gorgeous illustrations by Saul FreedmanLawson framing pages from this book to hang in your living room or kitchen isnt out of the question so maybe buy ltigttwoltigt for everyone you know Bergmans gift for bringing out the graciousness gentleness and humanity in us all cannot be overstated and this book is required reading Sophie Lucido Johnson artist and author of ltigtDear Sophie Love Sophieltigtltpgt”

“ltpgtltemgtSpecial Topics in Being a Parentltemgt is an honest humorous sincere and powerful guide for parenting As a queer parent myself I found this book to be so relatable The stunning illustrations by Saul FreedmanLawson complement the text wonderfully I definitely learned a few tips and tricks from Bear that I will use for my own parenting This is one of my favourite new books and I recommend it to every parent out there Hasan Namir author of ltemgtUmbilical Cordltemgt and ltemgtBanana Dreamltemgtltpgt”

“ltpgtHonest loving and inclusive ltigtSpecial Topics in Being a Parentltigt takes much consideration when discussing the perspective of both the parent and the child Beautifully illustrated with truly heartwarming funny moments this thoughtful look at compassionate parenting would make a wonderful gift for anyone welcoming a child into their home Liz Climo cartoonist and author of ltigtIm So Happy Youre Hereltigtltpgt”

“ltpgtS Bear Bergman has done it again this time with a book about the challenging task of raising more ethical more loving kids and their parents ltemgtSpecial Topics in Being a Parentltemgt is infused with wisdom wry humour and most importantly a wealth of actionable genuinely novel tips and tricks for getting through parenthood with more wholeness more joy more love I so wish Id had this book when my kids were younger but since Im not done parenting Im not done needing this Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg author of ltemgtNurture the Wowltemgt and ltemgtOn Repentance and Repairltemgtltpgt”

“ltpgtS Bear Bergman knows that when it comes to parenting all you need is love but thats a bit like saying when it comes to physical reality all you need is atoms The practical surprising upending exhausting and exalting ways that love actually happens are the heart of this touching funny helpful and beautifully illustrated book Charles Demers comedian and author of ltemgtProperty Valuesltemgtltpgt”


There are no awards found for this book.
Excerpts & Samples ×
There are no other resources for this book.

Reader Reviews



328 Pages
10.00in * 7.00in *


July 30, 2024


Arsenal Pulp Press



Book Subjects:


Featured In:

Pride Reads 2024



No author posts found.

Related Blog Posts

There are no posts with this book.