The Different Dragon, written by Jennifer Bryan and illustrated by Danamarie Hosler, is a different kind of two mom book as well! First of all, there are no moms or mommies or mothers or families mentioned in the title, which is amazing (actual non-queer people might just happen to pick this book up!), and second of all – HERE IS THE BOOK I WAS LOOKING FOR – the two moms are NOT a plot point and are NOT in any way what the book is about. Instead this is a book about a not-so-little boy’s bedtime and the bedtime story he makes up with one of his moms about a dragon who doesn’t want to be fierce any more.
Pros: Yay for family diversity that is just a fact of life and not something to be examined or questioned. I really liked the illustrations as well, and the fact that dragons (like boys and girls) can be any way they want to be, and don’t only have to be what folks expect of them.
Cons: The moms are named Momma and Go-Ma, which is fine (and probably reflects the author or some other family’s actual names), but felt awkward to me. It didn’t phase Frances at all though, so probably just my hang up.
The Bottom Line: Buy it! I also discovered this one at my local bookstore, and picked it up right away. Yay for a story in which a kid just happens to have two moms. I’m only sad that there are no more by this author and that the publishing company is on “hiatus”, so it doesn’t look like there will be any similar books coming from them in the future.
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.
I am always on the look out for books with two mommy or two daddy households. Seeing yourself reflected in books is powerful, and while I don’t have any aversion to children’s books with more “traditional” families, I do crave books that show Frances a family like her own.
Stella Brings the Family, written by Miriam B. Schiffer and illustrated by Holly Clifton-Brown, is about a little girl with two dads. Stella’s class is having a Mother’s Day celebration, and Stella isn’t sure what to do. She doesn’t have a mother!
Pros: Book features two dads! Two competent, loving, totally normal dads. AND another kid in the class has two moms! Good illustrations, pretty straightforward story.
Cons: WHY is the lack of a Mom on Mother’s Days such an issue? There are no homophobic jerks in this book. And the problem is resolved easily enough (Stella invites her whole family). And YET – Stella agonizes for a week in the book about what to do. She feels anxious, is too distracted by this dilemma to play soccer one day, can’t sleep another day. I am SO ready for a book about queer families where the queer family is not the problematic plot point.
Overall, I would actually mostly recommend this book. It’s a positive portrayal of diverse families. And every time Frances asks for this book, she says “And the boy has two mommies LIKE ME.” So clearly, this is a powerful thing, seeing a family like yours. I’m just still waiting for a book with queer families that isn’t ABOUT having two moms or two dads. Some day!