Piccolo Uovo (Little Egg) is a children’s book that follows an egg as it discovers the many different types of families, including gay penguins, lesbian rabbits, a single parent hippo, a mixed race dog couple, and kangaroos that adopted polar bear cubs.
“Many parishes across the country are in this period sullying our name and telling falsehoods about our work which deeply offends us,” Pardi wrote in a letter to Francis, along with copies of her books, describing the criticism she received. “We have respect for Catholics. A lot of Catholics give back the same respect, why can’t we have the whole hierarchy of the church behind us?”
Through his staff, Pope Francis returned a letter to Pardi.
“His holiness is grateful for the thoughtful gesture and for the feelings which it evoked, hoping for an always more fruitful activity in the service of young generations and the spread of genuine human and Christian values,” senior official at the Vatican secretariat of state Peter B. Wells wrote back.
Pardi said she was surprised to receive a letter back.
“It’s not that I think he’s for gay families, because there’s the Catholic doctrine, but we mustn’t think that we don’t have rights,” she said.
Pardi’s book was one of 49 banned books by Mayor Luigi Brugnaro. Now, just Pardi’s and Ophelie Texier’s Jean a deux mamans (Jean Has Two Mummies) are the last banned books.
Protests followed the book ban, with over 250 authors asking the mayor to remove their books as well.
Elton John also jumped on board, taking to his Instagram to say the mayor has “stupidly chosen to [politicize] children’s books by banning titles that touch on same-sex families living happily ever after. Beautiful Venice is indeed sinking, but not as fast as the boorishly bigoted Brugnaro.”
Italy is the only major western European country that doesn’t recognize gay marriage or civil partnership.