Thursday, September 29, 2011

Review: Mommy, Mama, and Me/ Daddy, Papa, and Me

Title(s): Mommy, Mama, and Me/ Daddy, Papa, and Me
Author: Leslea Newman
Illustrator: Carol Thompson
Genre: LGBTQ, Children’s lit
My Rating: ★★★★
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MommyMamaandMeDaddyPapaandMe

Not so long ago, we heard about Peter Parnell’s controversial children’s book And Tango Makes Three, a true story about a pair of male Penguins in Central Park Zoo raising a chick. In its wake, many other gay-centric picture books were drawn and penned. Writer Leslea Newman and illustrator Carol Thompson created a twosome of such books, focusing on lesbian and gay parents separately.

In artful mixtures of pastel-colored illustrations and rhythmic, playful voices, these books feature a day in a life of a lesbian and a gay couple. I’m pretty sure that LGBT parents will be happy to know that there are bedtime stories that can reflect their family setup.

The best thing about these books is a message that lies embedded at its core, one that even most adults find hard to comprehend nowadays: there’s really nothing wrong with having two homosexual parents as long as they love their child and they can provide his/her needs. The writing is pretty straightforward—no frills and complexities and ‘coming-out’ problems and all that jazz. In fact the books didn’t even touch the sensitive issues of homosexuality, they just zeroed in on the loving relationship between mothers, fathers, and children.

These are not exclusive for gay parents. I think these would be great starting materials to teach any child that there are different types of families, that love comes in many different ways, and (I’ll reiterate) that what’s important in family is not the gender of a kid’s guardians but that all of the unit’s members love one another.

Controversies would always be close on this kind of literature’s heels, of course. I wouldn’t be surprised if these simple books would be listed as ‘most challenged.’

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