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In Our Mothers' House by Patricia…
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In Our Mothers' House (2009)

by Patricia Polacco

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Showing 1-5 of 59 (next | show all)
Patricia Polacco breaks barriers with this book, describing the loving family that happens to have two mothers. The children grow up in a family filled with love and support, creating many memories to last a lifetime.
I am so glad that Polacco chose to use her voice to promote a message of tolerance and love to others. Her books truly amaze me. ( )
  mkstorey | Apr 17, 2017 |
Media: Pencils and Markers
Age Appropriateness: Intermediate, Middle school
Review/Critique: This was a book about women who are a homosexual couple. They adopt some babies together and start their new beautiful family in California. Throughout the book they grow and have a wonderful relationship and family. They are involved in their community and loved except by one neighbor who gives them dirty looks and treats the poorly. Eventually that neighbors explodes at them and tries to put them down, but they are the bigger humans so they ignore it and console their children informing them about why people can be that way sometimes. At the end of it they raise a wonderful family with love. This was a great multicultural book because it provided a different perspective of individuals that are not talked about often in books, through that unique perspective it provided a look through their life and the differences and similarities between them and any other family.
  jdehowitt15 | Apr 4, 2017 |
This is a story about a mother's love, family, and acceptance. It is important to have several books about diverse families in the media center, as families come in every shape and size and all need to be represented. Many kids, especially in elementary school, have not been exposed to families with two moms or two dads, and it is important that they see love for what it is... no matter who is involved... before they "learn" prejudice from elsewhere. The lesbian mothers in this book are drawn rather stereotypically, but it still represents a subject in books that is mostly ignored (much like the mean neighbor's comments are mostly ignored). This book would definitely need to be read by an adult and discussed together. It is appropriate for a unit on family or diversity or acceptance. ( )
  RLeiphart | Feb 6, 2017 |
In our attempt to find children’s literature featuring lesbian representation, Zsuzsi and I picked up In Our Mothers’ House, the story of an interracial, adoptive family headed by a lesbian couple. Both from a literary and political analysis, the picture book proved a disappointing read.

Storywise, author Patricia Polacco’s book was slow and dull. There was no plot, and it felt like a string of dull, domestic events to show that lesbians are, in fact, people. In this tiresome narration of everything the characters do with their mothers, we find out that lesbians have occupations, skills, parents, and personalities. I really didn’t care about the details of making gnocchi, and the framing of the story as an adult reflecting on her childhood felt awkward and inappropriate for a picture book.

A deeper look at the content of the book showed other failings. Written by a straight author determined to represent the delightful rainbow that is “nontraditional” families, the novel touches only very superficially on the difficulties of lesbian life in a heterosexual world. One character, a mean neighbor, is presented to represent homophobia. Not only is she the only character in the entire fictional universe who is homophobic (suggesting that homophobia is the exception rather than the rule), the mothers’ reaction to her hostility is to pretend homophobia doesn’t exist, rather than discussing its existence with their children (along with, say, racism and misogyny). In most interactions with this character, the mothers literally ignore her aggression, or respond to their children’s questions with meaningless comments: “Why doesn’t she like us?” “I don’t know, but I like you” (not exact quotes, because I don’t have the book at hand). But even five-year-olds should know that ignoring a problem doesn’t make it go away. When the neighbor’s homophobia reaches the point of overt verbal aggression, the mothers continue to fail to acknowledge and criticize their heterosexist society. The neighbor’s attitude is explained as stemming from “fear” and lack of “understanding,” offering an inaccurate apologism for oppression. On a related note, two of the three adopted children are of different races than their white adoptive mothers, and there is no reflection on either the realities of racism or what it transracial adoption means for children.

Another issue was the representation of gender norms and heterosexuality in the book. I appreciated that the mothers were drawn as not conforming to feminine expectations, both with short hair and described as never wearing dresses. Additionally, there’s diversity in body types, with one “tall and thin” and the other “short and stout.” Nevertheless, in order to illustrate the extent of the mothers’ devotion to their children, Polacco insists on putting the characters in fancy gown-like dresses, simply because it’s expected for their daughters’ tea party. The two women are obviously, and explicitly, uncomfortable, but the incident is described as a humorous example of their selflessness, suggesting that true maternal love means adhering to constrictive societal expectations whether you want to or not. This storyline could have been an opportunity for questioning gender norms, so it’s especially unfortunate that its conclusion is that performing femininity is the sign of a loving mother.

The conclusion of the book offers yet another example of the author’s heterosexual lens. Completely unnecessarily, each of the three children is shown happily, heterosexually married. This tidbit about their lives adds nothing to the story except the homophobic reassurance that even lesbians’ children will turn out “normal.”

All in all, would not recommend.
  csoki637 | Nov 27, 2016 |
Grade Level: All
This book is about a girl who was adapted by a family of two mothers. The story starts off with the young girl explaining how her mothers adapted her, then her sister, and finally her baby brother. The book goes into detail of how the mother's loved and nurtured they three adopted children. There is a part in the story where the mothers get into an argument with another parent because of their sexual orientation but when the daughter asks "why doesn't the other parents like them." Her mom responds with " I like you, and that's all that matters."
This is a good book to use, to introduce children to sexual orientation and adoption. ( )
  clarionb | Nov 9, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 59 (next | show all)
While the inclusion of a prejudiced character in a children’s book takes pluck and merits praise, this theme needs to be explored more delicately, so as to reverse stereotypes and gradually uproot them. When we neglect children’s questions, we risk the danger that they may stop asking them.
 
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To Traci and Nikki with all of my love.
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When my mothers told me about how they brought me home to live with them shortly after I was born, their eyes would shine and glisten and they'd grin from ear to ear.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 039925076X, Hardcover)

Marmee, Meema, and the kids are just like any other family on the block. In their beautiful house, they cook dinner together, they laugh together, and they dance together. But some of the other families don't accept them. They say they are different. How can a family have two moms and no dad? But Marmee and Meema's house is full of love. And they teach their children that different doesn't mean wrong. And no matter how many moms or dads they have, they are everything a family is meant to be.

Here is a true Polacco story of a family, living by their own rules, and the strength they gain by the love they feel.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:25:32 -0400)

Three young children experience the joys and challenges of being raised by two mothers.

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