Organisers of an annual family carnival set fire to a large cardboard replica of the book.
Samuel Leighton-Dore

21 Feb 2018 - 4:19 PM  UPDATED 21 Feb 2018 - 4:19 PM

A crowdfunding campaign has been launched in support of a Croatian children's book titled My Rainbow Family after organisers of an annual family carnival set fire to a large cardboard replica of the book.

In January, 500 free copies of the picture book - which is about kids with same-sex parents - were distributed by LGBTIQ+ family advocacy group Rainbow Families Croatia. However, the book was quickly denounced by at least one local religious group in the Catholic-majority country.

Those behind the blaze, which was reportedly conducted in front of children, told local media it was part of a tradition of burning something that “symbolises evil.”

LGBTIQ+ support groups have slammed the incident, while Croatian Education Minister Blazenka Divjak also condemned the blaze, saying: “The burning of books and discrimination are unacceptable."

She continued: "We can agree or disagree on some topics in the public sphere, but the messages that we send to our children must contribute to building an open and tolerant society."

Rainbow Families Croatia’s Daniel Martinovic said: “We believe that we are contributing to the creation of a society in which the respect of diversity and the acceptance of all families is learned from a young age.”

He continued: “The vision of our association is a society that respects, embraces and celebrates all families and this publishing venture is just one of the activities that we are doing to achieve that vision.”

In a happy twist, however, it would seem the media attention has done the children's book a world of good, with the initial crowdfunding goal of $3,000 being surpassed within 24 hours and a total amount nearing $10,000.

Martinovic says the outpouring of support proves “that our fellow citizens have recognised that we share the same values, and that they are supporting us through this campaign.”