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Bookish Wednesday: The Children’s Book Adults Should Read to Kids

During the late years of elementary school, I used to spend the weekends in volleyball tournaments, enjoying my participation as a full time bench warmer. When I wasn’t playing, like most of the time, I used to spend the lengthy games looking at anything that surrounded me. One day, while observing my surroundings, I saw something (that I considered odd at the time) happening: I saw that a schoolmate’s  mother had greeted another woman with a kiss on the lips.

Although I had previous knowledge about the existence of those types of relationships, I’d never seen it in practice. As a result, I stared at them, amazed, because it was a new thing for me. Nevertheless, as I look back, I feel ashamed that a young child like me was once surprised at something that’s completely normal. I’m ashamed for the adults that never explained to me that there’s more than one sexual orientation (and that’s fine!). Now, as an adult, I’m disappointed because  was never given information regarding gender identity and sexual education from an early age.

The children’s book, Laura tiene dos mamás (Laura Has Two Moms), was written by Yolanda Fitó and illustrated by Mabel Piérola. It brought back the memory of the volleyball game I will always remember. The book is less than 40 pages long, and has an easy-to-read structure. The story’s plot revolves around the life of Laura, a girl who has a cat, a dog and two moms.

Like any other child her age, Laura is a happy girl, and she has a very normal life filled with school and friends. One day, while listening to her friends, she realizes that some of her friends have a mom and a dad, not two moms. Upon this realization, Laura begins to cry because she doesn’t have a father. After her friends notice that she’s sad because of that, they begin to comfort her by talking about their families. For instance, Eric has two dads because he lives with his stepdad and visits his dad on the weekends. Afterwards, the children begin to draw their families, and in the images they create, the author shows us different types of family compositions.

The drawings showed a colorful variation of families. There were foster parents, single moms, adoptive parents, mixed race and large families, two dads and transgender parents. In the end, Laura was not upset anymore, and proudly took home the drawing she had made.

Even though the story is simple, it provides children the opportunity to receive a diverse sexual orientation education. It also normalizes the variety of families. It’s fine to have two moms, transgender parents, adoptive parents and more! As long as you have a happy family, what does it matter? Furthermore, it exposes kids to the real world. That is, there is no such thing as one true normal type of family, i.e. the traditional heterosexual biological dad and heterosexual biological mom.

The story normalizes the diversity of families because all of them are different, and it’s okay to have two dads or two moms. Additionally, it focuses on an important yet widely ignored belief: the bond that sustains a family is not always determined by the blood relationship within members of a group. The book shows the wide spectrum of families in which children grow, and is an effective tool to introduce both the concept of diversity as well as the importance of social inclusiveness. Although that, today, I would have strongly appreciated that someone, no matter who it was, would have shown me this book, life did not happen as I would have liked it to. However, it is in us, adults, and in you, readers, to be the ones who show this story to children. They can and will be more conscious than I was during my first experience with same sex relationships. To purchase the book, click here.

Nicole is a Chemistry major, who also happens to love Biology. She is an avid learner, and has a passion for science, literature and journalism. Eventually, the young dreamer aspires to merge her passions in the future as a neurosurgeon surgeon, researcher and writer. She enjoys eating chocolate ice cream, "mofongo," and her abuelita's fried "chuletas." Three essential words to describe her would be inquisitive, determined and honest.
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