Heather has two Mommies – 2015 Diversity Reading Challenge

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Today’s book falls into category #12 and has just been updated and rereleased after 25 years.

2015 Diversity Reading Challenge

2015 Diversity Reading Challenge

UnknownTitle: Heather Has Two Mommies

Written by: Leslea Newman

Illustrated by: Laura Cornell

Published by: Candlewick Press, 2015 (First published in 1989 by Tzivia Gover)

Themes/Topics: different family structures, lesbians, mommies

Suitable for ages: 3-7


Heather lives in a little house with a big apple tree in the front yard
and lots of tall grass in the backyard.


Heather’s favorite number is two. She has two arms, two legs, two pets and two mommies. When she starts school an innocent question from a classmate starts her wondering if she is the only one with two mommies. The preschool teacher jumps in with a great art exercise revealing the variety of family structures among her students.

2nd spread

2nd spread

Why I like This Book:

The book has been challenged 42 times by legislators and parents wanting to remove it from local and school library shelves. This simple story of a celebration of children with different family structures, including having two moms, paved the way for a far greater acceptance of gay and lesbian parents having children. Despite the protests around the US, the book was a success, with many librarians, schools and families, and especially among young children who related to Heather and the book’s message that:

Each family is special. the most important thing about a family is that all the people in it love each other.

25 years later 37 states allow gay marriage and more are moving in that direction. I wish I could say that there have been no negative responses to this rerelease, but that wouldn’t be true. The message is still very relevant today. The new color illustrations in watercolor and gouache present a modern diverse classroom and parents & children with bright happy faces.

The back cover has a quote from Rachel Maddow:

For twenty-five years, HEATHER HAS TWO MOMMIES, a gentle sweet-natured book that acknowledges the existence of different family structures, has been a resource for libraries and schools, a relief for parents and educators, and a delight to kids from all kinds of families. It has become a national touchstone, and ultimately a historic landmark of cultural progression and regression. You really should read this book again–it will make your day, and it changed the world.


One of the best resources I know online for LGBTQ themed books is my friend, Lee Wind’s website – I’m Here. I’m Queer. What the Hell do I read?

As part of LGBTQ Family Day, Pigeonhole Books explores the evolution of LGBTQ themed picture books over the last 35 years. pigeonholebooks.com/2015/05/29/lgb…

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2 Responses to Heather has two Mommies – 2015 Diversity Reading Challenge

  1. What a great story! And thank you for the background information. It does show that the country is growing in acceptance the past 25 years. I’ve noticed many of the picture books I’ve reviewed have been small niche-publishers or self-published. I love that Candlewick has reprinted this once controversial book. And, yes there will be people who try to ban the book. But, I think we’ve really crossed the threshold of no return. You should add this link to the PPB list.

    • Joanna says:

      Yes, I think I will add it to PPBF on Friday. There are many great LGBTQ children’s books being published these days.

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