Heather Has Two Mommies by Leslea Newman follows a little girl’s first day at kindergarten (or play group). It’s a fairly simple story, but includes some oddly difficult words (such as veterinarian), mixed in amongst the normal prose.
Originally published in 1989, it is extremely notable for being the first picture book ever published that features lesbian characters. It has been rewritten and republished as an anniversary edition, which works far better for its audience. The original book suffered far more from age inappropriate content, such as an attempt to discuss artificial insemination, poorly written for a young audience.
Despite the 'lesbian parent' aspect, the book is not a one note story. It appeals across the spectrum and touches on other aspects of diversity and growing up. It looks at different kinds of families, and features a diverse range of ethnicities and genders.
The illustrations support the text, but don’t replace it. They are rather lovely drawings, colourful but not garish, and easy to interpret.
This a good book to prepare for the first scary day at preschool (although it reads at a slightly older level), and the many different types of families described make for a good teaching moment, and will allow children from different families to identify with the story. There will be a few words that need explaining, but the book is fine for 6-8 year olds.
Buy on Amazon: Newman, L. (2000). Heather has two mommies (20th anniversary ed.) (D. Souza, Illustrator). Los Angeles, CA.: Alyson Wonderland
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