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Heather Has Two Mommies Paperback – June 1, 1994


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Alyson Books (June 1, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 155583180X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1555831806
  • Product Dimensions: 11 x 8.5 x 0.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,139,659 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

PreS-Gr 2—This is a new edition of the now classic picture book, first published in 1989. The story opens with descriptions of Heather playing with toys in the tall grass behind her house. The child has two of many things including arms, legs, feet, and elbows. "Heather has two pets: a ginger-colored cat named Gingersnap and a big black dog named Midnight. Heather also has two mommies: Mama Jane and Mama Kate." As Heather enters school for the first time she observes that many of the students in her classroom have unique families. To illustrate, Ms. Molly asks the children to draw pictures of their families. Each drawing displays the differences found within each household, yet as Heather's teacher comments, "The most important thing about a family is that all the people in it love each other." The author's text is simple yet powerful in its ability to move readers of all ages. Cornell's fluid watercolor and gouache illustrations breathe life into this delightful story. Each page is artfully and distinctly rendered to be a visual depiction of the beauty and joy of diversity. VERDICT Readers will be warmed by this glimpse into Heather's family, whether revisiting the text or experiencing it for the first time.—Claire Moore, Darien Library, CT --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Review

"Heather has two mommies—and a new look! Newman's picture book about Heather and her mommies first appeared 25 years ago as the product of desktop publishing and a determination to create a story reflecting family diversity. This updated version includes new illustrations by the commercially successful Cornell, which supply humor and avoid lesbian stereotypes that dogged earlier versions. . . . Welcome back to Heather and her mommies."
—Kirkus Reviews

The author’s text is simple yet powerful in its ability to move readers of all ages. Cornell’s fluid watercolor and gouache illustrations breathe life into this delightful story. Each page is artfully and distinctly rendered to be a visual depiction of the beauty and joy of diversity.... Readers will be warmed by this glimpse into Heather’s family, whether revisiting the text or experiencing it for the first time.
—School Library Journal --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Customer Reviews

3.5 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

157 of 193 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 29, 1999
Format: Paperback
Honestly, this is not a book that i would choose for my son to read. I'm an out-gay man who adopted an infant ten years ago. It's just not a good quality book for the apparent age-range targeted. The black-and-white drawings do not make it attractive and Alternative/Artificial Insemination is not a topic of interest to kids that age or necessarily appropriate. It's certainly not a book that my son has ever picked off the bookshelves for me to read to him or for him to read to himself. Books like One Dad, Two Dads," "The Duke Who Outlawed Jellybeens (or is it Rainbows?)," and "Two Moms, the Zark, and Me" are the books that he keeps going back to, reading on his own, asking me to read them, or sharing with his friends. Just because a book is written by us about us does not make it a good quality book.
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39 of 50 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 12, 2000
Format: Hardcover
A round of applause for Leslea Newman who realized that her book needed a revision for the 10th Anniversary Edition. She focused on the true message of the book, that the "most important thing about a family is that all the people in it love each other." She simplified the writing to better fit preschool audiences, but most importantly, removed the sections about how Mama Jane and Mama Kate got together and then concieved Heather. These were the sections that kept it out of preschools and other settings, in spite of the great message. Thank you Ms. Newman! Now I can't wait to buy several copies for my daughter's daycare, our church, and our local public Library!
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26 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Robin Orlowski on January 11, 2004
Format: Paperback
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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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 29, 2002
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
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 offended). It is just a simple story showing lots of different families... not very in depth, not much to it, but a nice, "feel good" story line. I did not see ANY overt sexuality or "inappropriate" topics at all, as was mentioned by one or two of the other reviewers. I have not seen other editions so I cannot comment about those.
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34 of 46 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 4, 1998
Format: Paperback
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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More About the Author

Lesléa Newman is the author of 65 books for readers of all ages including the teen novel in verse, OCTOBER MOURNING: A SONG FOR MATTHEW SHEPARD; the middle grade novel, HACHIKO WAITS; the poetry collection, STILL LIFE WITH BUDDY; the short story collection, A LETTER TO HARVEY MILK; and the children's books, A SWEET PASSOVER, THE BOY WHO CRIED FABULOUS, THE BEST CAT IN THE WORLD, and HEATHER HAS TWO MOMMIES. Her literary awards include poetry fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Massachusetts Artists Foundation. OCTOBER MOURNING: A SONG FOR MATTHEW SHEPARD was named an American Library Association 2013 Stonewall Honor Book, and A SWEET PASSOVER was named a 2013 Sydney Taylor Honor as well. A past poet laureate of Northampton, Massachusetts, she is a faculty member of Spalding University's brief-residency MFA in Writing program. Her newest poetry collection, I CARRY MY MOTHER is a book-length cycle of poems that explores a daughter's journey through her mother's illness and death. From diagnosis through yahrtzeit (one-year anniversary), the narrator grapples with what it means to lose a mother. The poems, written in a variety of forms (sonnet, pantoum, villanelle, sestina, terza rima, haiku, and others) are finely crafted, completely accessible, and full of startling, poignant, and powerful imagery. These poems will resonant with all who have lost a parent, relative, spouse, friend, or anyone whom they dearly love.

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