Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Heather has two mommies

Heather has two mommies
by Lesléa Newman
illus. by Diana Souza
Language: English
Boston, Mass. : Alyson Wonderland, ©1989.
[36] p. : ill. ; 28 cm.
ISBN: 155583180X; 9781555831806  
My annotation: First published in 1989 and now out of print, this was the first book published in the United States for children that not only introduced a lesbian family but also introduced the concept of artificial insemination. Although the book mentions artificial insemination, as well as the words “womb,” “sperm,” “egg,” and “vagina,” it does not go into any further explanation about why artificial insemination would be needed in order to make a baby. Nor does it go into any explanation about what artificial insemination is. “Kate and Jane went to see a special doctor together. After the doctor examined Jane to make sure that she was healthy, she put some sperm into Jane’s vagina. The sperm swam up into Jane’s womb. If there was an egg waiting there, the sperm and the egg would meet and the baby would start to grow.” Because of public challenges to this part of the book, not to mention the depiction of a lesbian family, the 10th and 20th anniversary editions of the book did away with the pages devoted to Mama Jane’s undergoing of artificial insemination and in an email with the author, even in these times with even more same-sex households with children, there is no intention to return those pages of the book to subsequent editions. This book takes a family-building approach because it shows that Mama Jane and Mama Kate wanted to build a family, and employs the “all families are made differently” script when Heather goes to play group and meets children who come from all different sorts of families. Heather turns out not to be the only child with same-sex parents. There are black and white drawings and the book is recommended for children ages 3-5. This edition of the book would only be available from bookstores which specialize in out of print books.
Author's Web site: http://www.lesleakids.com/

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