Syracuse native Seamus Kirst will publish another four books in the next two years.

Even after publishing Papa, Daddy, and Riley — a book about a girl navigating the world with two fathers — Kirst said he was still having trouble getting his book proposals sold.

At the time, Kirst worked in politics and hoped make a career change.

Then the sales to publishers came in rapid succession: Kirst sold four books in 2021. They’ll be published in the spring and fall of 2023 and 2024.

“After Papa, Daddy and Riley, I tried to do books that were very different from it initially,” Kirst said. “The four that sold are more in line with it. I was not capturing enough of the energy that came from this. Once I leaned into it more, things panned out.”

Kirst held a book signing and discussion Monday based on Papa, Daddy and Riley at downtown restaurant Oh My Darling.

Bank Street named the book one of the best for children in 2021. The book also recently landed on the American Library Associations’ list of banned and challenged books.

Its popularity has risen alongside anti-LGBTQ legislation in several states, including the “Don’t Say Gay” bill passed in Florida.

Kirst recently learned Barnes & Noble displayed Papa, Daddy and Riley in the front window of its flagship location in Union Square in New York City. Union Square touches Greenwich Village, where the Stonewall uprising in support of LGBTQ+ rights happened.

“That location is especially significant to me for those reasons,” Kirst said.

Chris Libonati

Chris Libonati covers government, accountability and equity. Have a tip? Contact Chris at 585-290-0718 or libonati@centralcurrent.org.