Patricia Polacco’s In Our Mother’s House (2009)

In Our Mothers' House by Patricia Polacco (May 5 2009)

In Our Mother’s House (2009) by Patricia Polacco is the story of two women who love each other and the family they create together. It’s told in the first-person by one of the couple’s three adopted children who nostalgically recollects her childhood. Polacco’s illustrations are thick with detail, and thoughtfully depict the snapshots of family life narrated. There is no plot, and other than a grumpy homophobic neighbor, there is no conflict. Instead, the story reads like one side of a conversation intimately and slowly told. Reading it seems a bit like eavesdropping.

I enjoyed the book, but I can’t see its appeal to children. Nothing actually happens. I appreciate the quirky details, diverse cast of characters, absurdly perfect house and neighborhood, even the sentimentality present at every turn of the page. But, it seems like a picture book written for adults. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but something to consider when purchasing it.

This review is part of my “Snapshots of LGBTQ Kid Lit” project. I’m working on a book, The New Queer Children’s Literature: Exploring the Principles and Politics of LGBTQ* Children’s Picture Books, which is under contract with the University Press of Mississippi. Part of my research is identifying and interpreting English-language children’s picture books with LGBTQ* content published in the US and Canada between 1979 and 2019. Follow my blog to follow my journey!

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