Isla’s Family Tree (2020), written by Katrina McKelvey and illustrated by Prue Pittock, is a warm and inviting story that manages to be both minimalist and richly specific. The red-haired title character is not excited that her mother is about to give birth to twins. She tells her parents that their family is large enough as is. Her mother patiently and lovingly explains that families, like trees, grow. Continue reading
Written by Jane Severance and illustrated by Tea Schook, When Megan Went Away (1979), is the first book about lesbian moms published in the US. It was published by Lollipop Power, Inc., a small feminist press deeply invested in producing children’s picture books that challenged gender stereotypes as well as the absence of lesbian and gay representation in children’s culture. Continue reading
Felicia’s Favorite Story (2002), written by Lesléa Newman and illustrated by Adriana Romo, nestles one family’s origin story in a snapshot of their bedtime routine. At the story’s opening, two moms clean their kitchen as their daughter, Felicia, plays with a puzzle. Soon it is the little girl’s bedtime.
Mama Linda tells Felicia she’ll read her a book if she gets ready for bed quickly, and Mama Nessa promises to join them soon. Continue reading
Flying Free (2004), written by Jennifer C. Gregg and illustrated by Janna Richards, is a sweet story told from the point-of-view of a firefly after it’s captured by a little girl. The child, Violet, is excited to show her catch, the firefly, to her two moms. Violet plans on using the firefly as a night light. At the suggestion of her moms, and with their help, Violet helps make the jar a bit more comfortable for the imprisoned firefly. But, the firefly isn’t comfortable and keeps trying to escape eventually deciding not to glow so Violet will let it go. Her moms are able to convince her the firefly will only glow if it is free, and Violet release it. Continue reading
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. Continue reading
When You Look Out the Window: How Phyllis Lyon and Del Martin Built a Community (2017), written by Gayle E. Pitman and atmospherically illustrated by Christopher Lyon, unfolds in the first person, allowing readers to follow Phyllis and Del as they help transform San Francisco into a LGBTQ*-affirming community. Continue reading
A Tale of Two Mommies (2011), written by Vanita Oelschlager and illustrated by Mike Blanc, is an affirming story about a little boy and his two moms.
Three small, racially diverse children enjoy a day at the beach. One of the children, a little boy, has tawny beige skin, another is a girl with suntanned skin and red hair, the boy with two mommies has medium brown skin, curly-hair, and big brown eyes. The two moms’ faces are never shown but they both have pale skin with pink undertones. Continue reading
And Baby Makes Four, written by Judith Benjamin with photographic images by Judith Freedman, was published in 2009 by Motek Press. Lesbian moms and their young daughter prepare to welcome a new baby into their family.
The story is told in the first-person from the point-of-view of the couple’s young daughter. At the beginning of the short book, the young girl learns her mom is pregnant and that she will be a big sister. Pictures of her pregnant mother as well as ultrasound images show what the story tells. Continue reading
I want to introduce readers to a small press worth following – My Family!/Dodi Press. My Family! specializes in reading material featuring diverse lesbian and gay parents swimming, vacationing, and preparing for science fairs with their happy children. The fact that the families are headed by same-sex parents is clear but not a theme explored. Continue reading
Amy Asks a Question… Grandma – What’s a Lesbian? (1996) was written by Jeanne Arnold and illustrated by Barbaba Lindquist, partners and co-founders of the book’s publisher, Mother Courage Press.
Amy, a young girl with lesbian grandmothers, is called a lesbian at school when her and some girl friends hug after winning a soccer game. Amy is confused and later asks her mother what “lesbian” means. The girl’s mother brings her to Grandma Bonnie who provides a detailed and celebratory description of what being a lesbian means to her. Continue reading