Books for Queer Families: A Tale of Two Mommies

A Tale of Two Mommies

A Tale of Two Mommies, written by Vanita Oelschlager and illustrated by Mike Blanc, features a little boy at the beach with his two moms. Two other kids at the beach are curious about his family and ask him lots of questions about just how this two mommies thing works (Who takes you fishing? Who comes if you have a bad dream?)

Pros: Super cute illustrations. Features a brown skinned kid and two pale mommies, so yay for reflecting families that are diverse in more ways than one!

Cons: CAN WE STOP WITH THE “HOW COULD TWO MOMS (OR TWO DADS) HANDLE THE FULL PARENTING BUSINESS” TROPE ALREADY?!?! Do kids even ask these questions?!?! No one has asked Frances yet, but maybe it’s coming (I have gotten on the playground a few times: “she doesn’t have a dad?”, but no one has ever followed up with “but then who brushes her teeth?” or whatever.)

The Bottom Line: Unless you are specifically looking for a book that reflects transracial adoption in a family with two moms, then I say skip it. I discovered this book at my local bookstore and despite the fact that I loved the illustrations (and it was in paperback, thus cheap), I did not buy it because DEAR GOD, stop already with this ridiculousness.

(I know this will invariably get some comment on how I should write a children’s book, but that’s hard work, and not particularly my skill set. Maybe I’ll attempt it someday, but I’m still hoping that someone who is actually a children’s book author will write a regular old kid’s book, with a kid who just happens to have two moms or two dads).

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Books for Queer Families: A Tale of Two Mommies

What I Read: July 2015

I read eight books in July – 7 were fiction, 1 was non-fiction. 1 was in print, the rest were on the Kindle. 3 were by writers of color (I’m trying to keep track, so that I’m better about diversifying my reading). Amazingly, I read 4 of these on our vacation in Maine, so I guess 3 years old is when your kid is finally old enough to entertain themselves regularly while you read!

China Rich Girlfriend by Kevin Kwan (2015)

The sequel to Crazy Rich Asians, this was just a fun as that was – full of the lifestyles fabulously wealthy throughout Asia. Kwan writes perfect vacation / plane / escapist reads.

Eight Hundred Grapes: A Novel by Laura Dave (2015)

Georgia is supposed to be getting married, but on the day of her dress fitting she runs into her fiancé with his ex girlfriend and 5 year old daughter, who she didn’t existed. Georgia escapes to her childhood home – a vineyard in California wine country – but things there are messier than expected as well. Just okay for me.

Death in the Clouds by Agatha Christie (1935)

I think I’m officially over Agatha Christie. I love a mystery, and Christie is a master of them, but she also is product of her times, by which I mean, the mysteries come with regular servings of misogyny, racism, and homophobia. The idea of this mystery was interesting (woman killed with a poisoned dart during a flight), but I just didn’t enjoy it.

The Opposite of Spoiled: Raising Kids Who Are Grounded, Generous, and Smart About Money by Ron Lieber (2015)

This book gave me lots to think about – how to talk to Frances about money, when to introduce allowances, etc. I took notes on the sections that seemed most important to me and I expect I will be revisiting them in the years ahead. The book is definitely aimed at parents who are reasonably well off – able to afford all of a child’s needs and at least some of their wants. Worth reading.

Blanche Among The Talented Tenth by Barbara Neely (1994)

The second book in the Blanche White mystery series – this one set on a black resort in coastal Maine. Social criticism and whodunit in one.

The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie by Muriel Spark (1961)

One of those classics that I never read in school. Glad to have rounded out my own education, but not much to say beyond that.

The Kizuna Coast by Sujata Massey (2014)

Rei Shimura lives! In my twenties I loved this series featuring a Japanese-American antiques expert/sleuth. There hadn’t been a mystery in the series in years, so I was happy to discover this, published in the aftermath of the Fukushima earthquake and dealing with a death that occurs during that time period. Great series to pick up if you like mysteries.

Castle Waiting Vol. 2: The Definitive Edition by Linda Medley (2013)

If you like graphic novels, you should definitely read the Castle Waiting ones – this is the second volume, picking up where the others left off. A fairly cozy tale of a bunch of misfits living in a mostly abandoned castle.

What I Read: July 2015

Books for Queer Families: Mommy, Mama, and Me

Mommy, Mama and Me

Mommy, Mama and Me, written by Lesléa Newman and illustrated by Carol Thompson, is a board book about a young toddler with two moms. It’s actually never stated whether the kid is a boy or girl and the clothing is gender neutral, so you can totally project your own kid onto it! (Hence I choose to believe the kid in question is a girl. But she could be a boy!)

Pros: Book features two moms! Just your basic toddler board book, but with a family that looks like ours. Good illustrations, pretty straightforward story: I do these things with my Mommy. I do these things with my Mama. That’s it.

Cons: The rhyming cadence is sometimes a bit awkward, but that’s a pretty minor quibble.

I avoided this book for a while, because when Frances was a baby, we were both Mommy and the names didn’t match up. She has since taken to calling us Mommy (Jami) and Mama (me), and I feel pretty silly for avoiding to for that reason. The book is a little too young for her now (although we have it out of the library at the moment and she likes). If she was younger, I would totally buy this.

Books for Queer Families: Mommy, Mama, and Me