May 9, 2021

25 Years After Publication, A Revised and Updated Edition of ‘Heather Has Two Mommies’ Coming Soon

UPDATE: At the bottom of this post we’ve posted the School Library Journal review of this post. Thanks to our colleagues at SLJ for allowing us to share the review on infoDOCKET prior to publication.

From the Associated Press:

A playful picture book about a little girl named Heather and her two happy mommies was a cultural and legal flashpoint 25 years ago, angering conservatives over the morality of same-sex parenting and landing libraries at the center of community battles over placement in the children’s stacks.

Today, Heather — of “Heather Has Two Mommies” — has a lot more company in books for young kids about different kinds of families, but hers was out of print and seemed visually dated. That’s why creator Leslea Newman decided on a new version, updating the look of her watershed story with fresh illustrations from a new artist and tweaking the text to streamline.

There’s one big change, but you have to squint to notice: Heather’s Mama Kate and Mama Jane wear little matching rings on their marriage fingers.

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Heather was Newman’s first picture book and is certainly her most well-known. The latest edition, out this month, is from Candlewick Press, with illustrations by Laura Cornell replacing those of Diana Souza.

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The process of getting Heather published in 1989 was a slow one.

“After I wrote the book I sent it to many, many publishers. Small presses, large presses. Children’s book presses told me to try lesbian presses. Lesbian presses told me to try children’s book presses. Nobody was really interested,” Newman said.

There were about 50 turndowns. That’s why she co-published the book with a friend who had a desktop printing business. The two found an illustrator and financed the endeavor mostly from $10 donations, promising each contributor a copy from the 4,000 they printed up.

The article includes a comment by Deborah Caldwell-Stone from ALA.

Read the Complete Article (1066 Words)

School Library Journal Review

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

About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.

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