Books for Queer Families: And Tango Makes Three

And Tango Makes Three is a picture book account of the true tale of two male penguins at the Central Park Zoo who formed a bonded pair and raised an egg another couple had abandoned. It is one of the most frequently challenged books in school and public libraries because of its “promotion of the homosexual agenda.” (If only my agenda involved more adorable baby penguins!)

Pros: Such a cute sweet tale, with great illustrations. The book does a great job of describing how Tango’s family is different without making them seem odd or abnormal. Difference as a fact of life, rather than a problem to be overcome.

Cons: It’s a little sad that my favorite book about two dad families is about penguins, but hey, that’s not this book’s fault!

The Bottom Line: Definitely read it! Such a lovely story. Super accessible to every one.

Looking for more books about queer families? You can find the other books I’ve reviewed here.

Books for Queer Families: And Tango Makes Three

Books for Queer Families: The Purim Superhero

cover-art-Purim-Superhero-596x500

It’s Purim and Nate is trying to figure out what costume he wants to wear. He loves aliens, but all the other boys at his Hebrew school are dressing up as superheroes and he wants to fit in! With the help of his Daddy and his Abba, Nate finds a creative solution to his costume dilemma.

Pros: Loved the totally normalized presence about two dads. This is very much a book about a kid trying to figure out how to be true to himself and not in any way about the “problem” of having two dads. Totally fits my goal of finding books where kids happen to have two dads or two moms, but the books isn’t ABOUT that. And the illustrations are cute.

Cons: If you are hoping to learn more about Purim, this isn’t the book for you. Judging by reviews on Amazon, lots of folks bought this book hoping to get a Purim story, and here Purim is really more a plot device than the point.

This isn’t really a con, but I do find it interesting that this book (and the other two dads book I’ve reviewed) is written by a woman. I would love to see more #ownvoices in books about two mom and two dad families.

The Bottom Line: Cute! Normalizing! Nice to have a picture book about a Jewish family with same-sex parents. Would recommend for purchase or library check out.

Books for Queer Families: The Purim Superhero

Books for Queer Families: Everywhere Babies

everywhere babies

This is my absolute favorite book for new babies and I recommend it to everyone. It’s not a book specifically for queer families, so much as it is a book that is super inclusive of all kinds of babies and families. A rhyming tale of what babies do.

Pros: Inclusive – there are two moms zonked out with a newborn, there are white grandparents holding a brown-skinned baby, there are dads being dads (i.e., involved and awesome) just as muchas there a moms being moms. Marla Frazee is one of my absolute favorite illustrators and the pictures here are just a delight. Love it.

Cons: There are no cons. Okay, that’s not totally true – for a super inclusive book, it’s surprising to me that there are no illustrations with a kid or parent with a visible disability.

The Bottom Line: So lovely. Buy it, read it, love it, give it away.

rocked

Looking for more books about queer families? You can find the other books I’ve reviewed here.

Books for Queer Families: Everywhere Babies

Books for Queer Families: Heather Has Two Mommies

Heather Has Two Mommies (written by Leslea Newman) was first published in 1989, making it a CLASSIC of lesbian children’s literature. It was reissued with new illustrations last year. Reviews of the reissue (illustrated by Laura Cornell) focused heavily on the fact that Heather’s mommies were now married (this portrayed through weddings band in the pictures, not mentioned outright), but as someone who actually read the first edition, I’m here to tell you that the big news is that the awkward pages on Mama Jane’s artificial insemination are now gone! Plot-wise, this is your basic, kid with two moms goes to school, discussion of family structures ensues story.

Pros: First of its kind! Plot is pretty basic and boring, but since it was first children’s book about two moms EVER that was in fact a novel concept at the time, so I will forgive it. It’s very respectful and having two moms is never presented as weird or a problem, just a thing to talk about, which is how you can tell the book was written by lesbian and not a straight lady.

Cons: I’m not that crazy about the new illustrations. The old ones were like some sort of tribute to 1970s lesbian feminism, so I can get that they needed an update, but the new ones are just kind of… messy. Not my favorite illustration style.

Bottom Line: If your kid has two moms, you should probably read this to them at some point (otherwise someone may reclaim your toaster), but you can totally get it from the library. Public/school libraries and non-two mom families could do way worse than the reissued version of this book if they are looking for a book about two mom families to share. Basically, go for it!

Books for Queer Families: Heather Has Two Mommies

Books for Queer Families: Stella Brings the Family

Stella Brings the Family

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!

Books for Queer Families: Stella Brings the Family