A new kids' book featuring a gay couple is dedicated to Pulse nightclub victims.

Authors Chaz Harris and Adam Reynolds wrapped up their children's book  "Promised Land" — a fairytale featuring a gay couple — during the summer of 2016.

Illustration courtesy of Adam Reynolds.

The very next day, the Pulse nightclub massacre happened.

“We locked off our text, said, 'that’s done’, handed it to the illustrators, and then [the shooting] happened," Harris explained to BuzzFeed.


49 people were killed and dozens more were injured at Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida, on June 12, 2016 — the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history.

Photo by Bryan R. Smith/AFP/Getty Images.

Pulse was an LGBTQ nightclub. "Promised Land" follows a gay couple.

And that connection, of course, wasn't lost on the authors from New Zealand.

Photo courtesy of Adam Reynolds.

"Promised Land" is about love, friendship, and acceptance.

Here's how the authors described the story:

"In 'Promised Land,' a young prince and a farm boy meet by chance in the forest and their newfound friendship soon blossoms into love. However, things get complicated when the queen's sinister new husband seeks control over the enchanted forest that the farm boy's family are responsible for protecting. In a Kingdom where all are considered equal, regardless of what they look like or who they love, Promised Land is a new fairytale about friendship, responsibility, adventure and love."

The book also includes a map of the Kingdom of Valeria, where the story takes place, which features locations named after LGBTQ civil rights leaders and iconic figures in the fight for equality.

There's "Shepard's Bay," in honor of Matthew Shepard — who was murdered in 1998 for being gay — as well as "Rivera Ranges," in honor of the late transgender activist Sylvia Rivera, among others.

Map courtesy of Adam Reynolds.

That's why Adam and Chaz decided to dedicate "Promised Land" to the 49 victims of the Pulse massacre.

“I was personally very affected by [the shooting],” Harris said. “There was a vigil here in Wellington that I went along to. I had people saying ‘Why were you so upset? Did you know anyone who died?' But an attack on one of us is an attack on all of us.”

Illustration courtesy of Adam Reynolds.

"Promised Land" isn't just another kids' book — it's one that lets LGBTQ children around the world know they can find their own happily ever after.

“If you don’t see yourself in stories, you don’t see yourself in the world," Harris explained in a statement. "With everything happening in the world right now, we need to change the message of fear and intolerance towards anyone who is different.”

Learn more about Promised Land.

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True

Did you know that girls who are encouraged to discover and develop their strengths tend to be more likely to achieve their goals? It's true. The question, however, is how to encourage girls to develop self-confidence and grow up healthy, educated, and independent.

The answer lies in Girls Inc., a national nonprofit serving girls ages 5-18 in more than 350 cities across North America. Since first forming in 1864 to serve girls and young women who were experiencing upheaval in the aftermath of the Civil War, they've been on a mission to inspire girls to kick butt and step into leadership roles — today and in the future.

This is why Macy's has committed to partnering with Girls Inc. and making it easy to support their mission. In a national campaign running throughout September 2021, customers can round up their in-store purchases to the nearest dollar or donate online to support Girls Inc. and empower girls throughout the country.


Kaylin St. Victor, a senior at Brentwood High School in New York, is one of those girls. She became involved in the Long Island affiliate of Girls Inc. when she was in 9th grade, quickly becoming a role model for her peers.

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Within her first year in the organization, she bravely took on speaking opportunities and participated in several summer programs focused on advocacy, leadership, and STEM (science, technology, engineering and math). "The women that I met each have a story that inspires me to become a better person than I was yesterday," said St. Victor. She credits her time at Girls Inc. with making her stronger and more comfortable in her own skin — confidence that directly translates to high achievement in education and the workforce.

In 2020, Macy's helped raise $1.3 million in support of their STEM and college and career readiness programming for more than 26,000 girls. In fact, according to a recent study, Girls Inc. girls are significantly more likely than their peers to enjoy math and science, to be interested in STEM careers, and to perform better on standardized math tests.

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Screenshots via @castrowas95/Twitter

In the Pacific Northwest, orca sightings are a fairly common occurrence. Still, tourists and locals alike marvel when a pod of "sea pandas" swim by, whipping out their phones to capture some of nature's most beautiful and intelligent creatures in their natural habitat.

While orcas aren't a threat to humans, there's a reason they're called "killer whales." To their prey, which includes just about everything that swims except humans, they are terrifying apex predators who hunt in packs and will even coordinate to attack whales several times their own size.

So if you're a human alone on a little platform boat, and a sea lion that a group of orcas was eyeing for lunch jumps onto your boat, you might feel a little wary. Especially when those orcas don't just swim on by, but surround you head-on.

Watch exactly that scenario play out (language warning, if you've got wee ones you don't want f-bombed):

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