In Search of the Elusive Lesbian Mom
On a typical day at work I might be called upon to come up with a list of children’s books pertaining to one topic or another. Recently I decided to pull together a GLBTQ list for grades K-3 and one for grades 4-8. Easy peasy. I know a lot of the books, both old and new, and putting them together is a breeze.
The picture book list wasn’t all that hard. Books with two dads are pretty easy to locate (the 10th anniversary of And Tango Makes Three, the upcoming Stella Brings the Family, and so on and such). Thinking up moms . . . that was a little harder, but eventually I was able to locate Antonio’s Card, Heather Has Two Mommies (the newly illustrated edition, of course), and In Our Mother’s House. Not a plethora, but serviceable. Forget about finding any books about girls defying gender roles, though. Plenty of boy in dress books and even a couple transgender titles, but gender fluid girl titles? Not much on offer.
As I moved onto the middle grade list things got tricky. Middle grade novels with two dads or gay guys in general? Again, easy peasy. Popularity Papers, The Manny Files, The Misadventures of the Family Fletcher, The Accidental Adventures of India McCallister, etc. Middle grade novels with two moms . . . huh.
It took a lot more effort to find such books. They had to be currently in print, for one thing. And I really wanted moms. Just normal old moms. Not an aunt’s roommate or anything. Finally I had to tap my social media friends and together this is what we came up with:
Middle Grade Titles With Two Moms
- Best Friend Next Door, by Carolyn Mackler
- Case of the Stolen Scarab & Case of the Vanishing Valuables by Nancy Garden.
- A Clear Spring by Barbara Wilson (it’s aunts in this case, but we take what we can get)
- The Friendship Riddle by Megan Frazer Blakemore
- I, Emma Freke by Elizabeth Atkinson
- My Mixed-Up Berry Blue Summer by Jennifer Gennari
- Penny Dreadful by Laurel Snyder
- I wasn’t able to confirm this but apparently all three Maggie Brooklyns by Leslie Margolis including Girl’s Best Friend, Vanishing Acts, and Secrets at the Chocolate Mansion
- The Flower Power book series by Lauren Myracle
- From the Notebooks of Melanin Sun by Jacqueline Woodson (though we bought the reprinted edition for our YA collections, in part because of the cover).
That’s all she wrote, folks. But if you’ve more you can name of either this (or picture books with gender fluid gals) I’d love to hear ’em. No YA, though. It’s easy to get YA and middle grade mixed up, but I work strictly in the children’s book realm.
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About Betsy Bird
Betsy Bird is currently the Collection Development Manager of the Evanston Public Library system and a former Materials Specialist for New York Public Library. She has served on Newbery, written for Horn Book, and has done other lovely little things that she'd love to tell you about but that she's sure you'd find more interesting to hear of in person. Her opinions are her own and do not reflect those of EPL, SLJ, or any of the other acronyms you might be able to name. Follow her on Twitter: @fuseeight.
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