Spacegirl character shows pupils that a different family make-up is possible
Spacegirl is an unusual child. She is a prepubescent astronaut. She suffers from motion sickness during intergalactic voyages. And she has two mothers.
Spacegirl is the heroine of Spacegirl Pukes, a picture book for two to six-year-olds by Katy Watson. It is part of a range of classroom resources and teachers' guidance being compiled by Out For Our Children, a group of lesbian mothers.
The aim is to encourage nurseries and primaries to reflect the lives of children with gay or lesbian parents.
Julia Voss, who is involved in running the organisation, said: "It's as important for children of gay parents to see their families represented in teaching materials as it is for black children. We are trying to develop stuff that is more inclusive.
"People say, 'Oh, you can't talk about that kind of thing with that age group'. But actually, you need to start then. Using 'gay' as an insult starts in very early primary."
Ms Voss's own child has returned home from school with Christmas cards addressed "to mummy and daddy".
"There's still a reluctance to talk about sexuality," she said. "There's a lot of fear around it. We want people to understand that it's OK to mention it."
Sophie Laws, whose five-year-old son attends a London primary, welcomes Spacegirl Pukes.
"Books are full of Mr and Mrs Elephant, Mr and Mrs Bunny Rabbit, on and on it comes," she said. "Of course you would like a book that reflects your own life. From the age of two, children start asking, 'Why don't I have a daddy?' And someone at school might say, 'You can't have two mummies.' You want something that affirms that your family is a possible thing in the world."
The Church of England said it was happy for the book to be used in nursery and primary classrooms. "It reflects the experience of some children who will be in school," a spokesman said.
The Catholic Education Service refused to comment.