Heather Has Two Mommies
Author: Lesléa Newman
Illustrator: Laura Cornell
Published March 11, 2015 by Candlewick Press (First Published October 28, 1989)
Goodreads Summary: Candlewick relaunches a modern classic for this generation with an all-new, beautifully illustrated edition.
Heather’s favorite number is two. She has two arms, two legs, and two pets. And she also has two mommies. When Heather goes to school for the first time, someone asks her about her daddy, but Heather doesn’t have a daddy. Then something interesting happens. When Heather and her classmates all draw pictures of their families, not one drawing is the same. It doesn’t matter who makes up a family, the teacher says, because “the most important thing about a family is that all the people in it love one another.” This delightful edition for a new generation of young readers features fresh illustrations by Laura Cornell and an updated story by Lesléa Newman.
Ricki’s Review: This is a timeless classic, and I am so glad that Candlewick decided to republish it with new illustrations. I’ve always known what this book is about, but I’d never read it in its entirety. Heather’s story is one of many children growing up in the United States. She comes from a nontraditional family. I am sure that many parents have anxiety about sending their children to school because kids can be cruel. However, with some understanding and with books like these, children can understand that many of their peers come from different families, and this provides enrichment in the classroom. This book should be a staple in early elementary school classrooms. It teaches empathy.
Kellee’s Review: I love that this isn’t a book about LBGT families as much as it is a book about how there are so many different kinds of families. Although it seems a bit syrupy sweet at times, I think that tone was needed to be an introduction to a subject that may be new or different for readers. I think this book is an important one. I know that critics will say that the book is preachy, but if it is preachy about anything, it is about how everyone’s family is unique yet full of love.
Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: The activity that the teacher uses in this book is one that should begin every kindergarten curriculum. Children should understand that loving families come in so many different forms. We’d love to pair this book with books like And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell. Students could read various books that deliver this message and talk about their similarities and differences. Kids might also write about a time that they felt different and how it made them feel. From an artistic side, teachers might show students the original 1989 publication of this book and ask them to compare the two versions of the text.
Discussion Questions: What kinds of nontraditional families can you think of? What do these families have in common?; What role does Heather’s favorite number play in this book? Did it enhance your reading of the story?; When have you felt different from other kids? How does this compare to Heather’s experience?
We Flagged: “‘What does your daddy do?’ David asks Heather.
‘I don’t have a daddy,’ Heather says. She looks around the circle and wonders, Am I the only one here who doesn’t have a daddy?“
Read This If You Loved: And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell; ABC A Family Alphabet Book by Bobbie Combs; Donovan’s Big Day by Lesléa Newman; Daddy, Papa, and Me by Lesléa Newman; The Family Book by Todd Parr; King and King by Linda de Haan; A Tale of Two Daddies and A Tale of Two Mommies by Vanita Oelschlager; October Mourning by Lesléa Newman
**Thank you to Candlewick Press for providing copies for review!**