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Heather Has Two Mommies: 10th Anniversary Edition [Paperback]

Leslea Newman , Diana Souza
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)

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Book Description

June 1 2000 Alyson Wonderland
Originally self-published in 1989, Heather Has Two Mommies became the first title in Alyson's newly formed Alyson Wonderland imprint in 1990. The simple and straightforward story of a little girl named Heather and her two lesbian mothers was created by Newman and illustrator Diana Souza because children's books that reflected a nontraditional family did not exist, but a firestorm of controversy soon ensued. Attacked by the religious right, lambasted by Jesse Helms from the floor of the U.S Senate, and stolen from library shelves, it was an uphill battle for Heather. Thanks to the overwhelming support of booksellers, librarians, parents, and children, however, Heather Has Two Mommies has sold over 35,000 copies, launched a minor industry in providing books for the children of gay and lesbian parents and, as attested to by a recent New Yorker cartoon, become part of the cultural lexicon.

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From Amazon

This handsome 10-anniversary edition of a minor classic presents the story of Heather, a preschooler with two moms who discovers that some of her friends have very different sorts of families. Juan, for example, has a mommy and a daddy and a big brother named Carlos. Miriam has a mommy and a baby sister. And Joshua has a mommy, a daddy, and a stepdaddy. Their teacher Molly encourages the children to draw pictures of their families, and reassures them that "each family is special" and that "the most important thing about a family is that all the people in it love each other." In the afterword, the author (whose other children's books include Matzo Ball Moon) explains that although she grew up in a Jewish home, in a Jewish neighborhood, there were no families like hers on the television or in picture books. She came to regard her family as somehow "wrong," since there was no Christmas tree in the living room and no Easter egg hunt. Whatever the religious right may wish to think about nontraditional families, there is no denying that any child enrolled in an American school will encounter friends with single parents, gay parents, stepparents, or adoptive parents. This new, revised version of Heather Has Two Mommies offers an enjoyable, upbeat, age-appropriate introduction to the idea of family diversity. The book is essential for children (ages 2 to 6) with gay parents or family members, and a great addition to a Rainbow Curriculum. --Regina Marler

About the Author

Diana Souza illustrates and designs for authors and publishers throughout the nation. Her works include "The Spiritual Life of Animals and Plants" and "Realms of Light: Clairvoyant Experiences of Life After Death." Her website, http://www.canaryperch.com/, is updated frequently.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
I appreciate the openess (since kids are much smarter than we give them credit for, the insemination would not upset children) of this book, but the lack of color is tricky in a children's book.
I have read some excellent 'current issue' children's fiction books which succeed in telling their story (and inspiring creative thinking) without using color (Days with Daddy) but the lines in those stories were well-defined. The hazy presentation of this book will ironically make it difficult to talk with kids about so-called alternative families. The most open message in the world becomes cold and inviting if it cannot appeal to the eye of the intended reader.
Plus, if colors convey mood, this same decision may inadvertently suggest the women and Heather are engaged in something secretive and not as valid when compared against the activities of status quo idealized heterosexual families. Ms. Newman may have completely different politics, but she seems to echo the far right's endless admonitions about sexuality and youth with the layout.
Future editions need to have clear color graphics throughout the text.Art is not benign, but a political statement as important as carefuly crafted text. It is difficult for children to be excited/proud about their families (or the existence of GLBT families) after reading a book which seems gloomy.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Children's Book Explores Lesbian Mothers Jan. 4 1998
By A Customer
HEATHER HAS TWO MOMMIES, by Leslea Newman, is a story of a lesbian couple who decides to have a child through alternative insemination. At three years old, Heather joins a play group where it is suggested for the first time that she has no daddy. While the children are drawing pictures and discussing their diverse families (children with two daddies, one mommy and no daddy, a mommy and step-father, adopted family and nuclear family) the teacher acknowledges that "each family is special."
HEATHER HASTWO MOMMIES has been the focus of a great deal of controversy in school districts and with parents and other adults. This is a lengthy story which can be seen as an "explanatory book" because of the focus on spelling out how Heather's family began. Part of the story is dedicated to: how Heather's mommies were friends for a long time, fell in love and decided to live together, how they created a family, visited a fertility doctor and extended their family with a child. There is even a page or two on the types of careers the women have. Mama Jane, the biological mother, is a carpenter and Mama Kate is a doctor.
The discussion of alternative insemination includesvisiting the "special" doctor, putting some sperm in Mama Jane's vagina, and the sperm and egg meeting in the womb. This detail is needed to explain how Heather was created without a father. This section makes for interesting conversation among eight year olds, for example, who are beginning to question and understand the world of sexuality and family configurations, or even six- or seven-year-olds who are wondering how a child cannot have a father because "you need a mother and father to make a baby.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Good book, wish illustrations were in color May 29 2001
By A Customer
This is the ground-breaking book about a little girl who has two mommies, a lesbian couple. Ten years ago the authors had a terrible time trying to get their book published and finally put up the money themselves. I suspect perhaps this is why the illustrations are in black and white, because color is more expensive. Although very sweet and adorable, it would be nice if the illustrations were in color. But there are plenty of books that are beloved classics and have one color illustrations such as "Millions of Cats or "Make Way for Ducklings." That is the only "fault" I find with this book. The book gives children of both gay and straight parents the security of knowing that their families are all just fine the way they are. Today only 25 % of families are traditional, with a dad and mom. As more diverse families have come on the scene more books have been written about this issue so that all children can feel they have a place at the table. After all, a family is a group of people who love and support one another--two moms, two dads, a mom and dad, grandparents, an aunt or an uncle, guardians, foster families, single parents, etc. Kids need to know this, so that they can grow up feeling proud of their families and accepted by their friends. This is in no way a "subversive" book, but one that is eminently useful for children of both straight and gay parents. If children know the truth, they have less chance of being bullies toward those children of families that "appear different." Our children live in a diverse world. They need the facts so they have to tools to flourish in it. Knowing that there are such things as gay parents will not make children gay, because sexual orientation is fixed at birth. Read more ›
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5.0 out of 5 stars This book changed my kids forever! Nov. 20 1999
By A Customer
Before I sensitivity-trained my two little boys with this book, they were just unbearable little monsters. They would go out into the neighborhood and savagely beat any other little boys they saw who showed any signs of being gay: earring on the right ear, shirt buttoned all the way up with no tie, shirt matches socks, etc. They would also hide in the bushes to throw rotten vegetables at all the little girls who didn't wear dresses to school, chanting "dykes", "witches". That was the last straw for me, so I made them sit and read this book. Now, thanks to this book, they've learned to embrace all forms of diversity, including gays, lesbians, Jehovah's witnesses, etc. They've even gone so far as to start their own PFLAG chapter at their elementary school. WOW, Ms. Newman, we couldn't have done it without you! If every kid would sit and read your book, there'd be no more hatred in all the world!
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Writing from experience
I had this book as a child, and I absolutely loved it. The style of art allowed me to color it in as if it were a coloring book as I read the wonderful story. Read more
Published on July 13 2004 by Amazon Customer
1.0 out of 5 stars THE BOOK THAT STARTED IT ALL
This book launched the homosexual literary onslaught. It is one of many publications used by the homosexual lobby to force acceptance of a depraved lifestyle by influencing young,... Read more
Published on July 9 2004
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Book
Both my partner and myself fell in love with this book. Our daughter also likes reading this book. She likes it so much that she wanted to give one to her class so that they... Read more
Published on Nov. 10 2003
5.0 out of 5 stars Brave book!
I cannot believe that this is still considered such a controversial book. I was a teenager when it came out and found myself amused but not really interested in the subject... Read more
Published on July 23 2003
3.0 out of 5 stars the message backfires
First off all, this book deserves some credit for being one of-if not the very first- books for kids dealing with gay parents. Read more
Published on Feb. 24 2003 by violet
4.0 out of 5 stars Should be in color, but an important book to consider
The illustrations should be in color to interest children.
The edition I have does not have the artificial insemination part. Read more
Published on Jan. 30 2003
5.0 out of 5 stars Great addition to ALL families, not just GLBT
This book is quite groundbreaking, and is excellent in the way it speaks to children about the differences among families. Read more
Published on Jan. 6 2003 by Webmaster, OurWorldToo.com
5.0 out of 5 stars 10th Edition does NOT include insemination info
Several of the one-star reviews here refer to a different edition of this book. This edition (10) does not have anything about artificial insemination (to appease those who were... Read more
Published on Oct. 29 2002
4.0 out of 5 stars An Eye Opener
It's really interesting how the author, Leslea Newman portrayed not only homosexuality but the understanding that there are different types of families out there. Read more
Published on Oct. 17 2002 by Andrea G.
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Baby Present!
My now 13 year old daughter was given a copy of the first edition and printing. Now, when other lesbian couples have kids, it is her standard baby present. Read more
Published on March 1 2001 by kathleen
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