Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Mommy, Mama and Me by Leslea Newman and illustrated by Carol Thompson

This is my very first book with a controversial issue at the heart of it, so I really didn't know what to expect. I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised. This first book is about a lesbian family, and it was wonderful. Not wonderful in a sense that it was imaginative and particularly creative, but wonderful because of what it is. It shows a lesbian family as any other family out there would be shown. I really liked that because thats how it should be shown because that kind of family is like every other family. It sends a message to the reader that, "Hey! This family is just like mine!". There are examples that children can easily relate to their own life and what is normal for them, for example, the mothers and the child are playing in the park, reading and getting ready for bed. Hopefully the students would make the connection that their heterosexual parent home really isn't that different from a homosexual home. I feel like it is important for children to learn that being gay doesn't make you weird in some way, its a normal thing. It is essential to start this education young with books like this so that we can combat things like homophobia. If children are taught at a young age to accept people with no exceptions, we can help end things like racism, sexism and homophobia- all of which hurt our communities in and outside of school. Books like this are essential to ending hate crimes too, because it promotes understanding and acceptance.

All that having been said, I do understand that there are those who, for whatever reason, have different feelings toward the homosexual community. As such, having a book like this in your classroom could be hairy. I have heard instances in which parents came together to ban books like this in classrooms. I suppose that it is important to keep parent's views in mind, but I would ask one question, do you need parental consent to teach about racism? Or to celebrate Black History Month?

1 comment:

  1. I read a book about homosexuality as well called "Uncle What-is-it Comes to Visit" by Michael Willhoite. I think you might like this book if you liked "Mommy, Mama and Me". The book I choice was a little bit different because it first started from the point of view of the kids and the neighborhood kids of what being gay means. Then the kids actually meet the uncle, and they find out he is really just a normal guy as opposed to all these "scary, made up stereotypes that people have about gay people". I agree that these books about families that have gay parents should be familiar to students with heterosexual parents, so that there isn't this stigma that having homosexual parents is bad. Many kids with gay parents go through verbal abuse in schools and it can have a damaging affect. These books are great because it relays the message that being gay IS normal. I saw a video in my human relations class about kids that have gay parents and their negative experiences in school. I think that having these kind of picture books available and brought to attention to students is important so that these negative stereotypes can be eliminated.