Heather Has Two Mommies

by Lesléa Newman

Other authorsLaura Cornell (Illustrator)
Hardcover, 2015




Candlewick (2015), Edition: New, 32 pages


When Heather goes to playgroup, at first she feels bad because she has two mothers and no father, but then she learns that there are lots of different kinds of families and the most important thing is that all the people love each other.

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½ (120 ratings; 4)

Media reviews

Beyond the addition of color, the new Heather has been otherwise altered or, I should say, expurgated. Eight crucial pages are missing—a cut that goes back, in fact, to the book’s tenth anniversary edition. Disappointingly, these pages have not been re-instated—but they are the very core of
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the narrative, emotionally, aesthetically, and politically.
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User reviews

LibraryThing member messelti
Heather Has Two Families tells the story of a young girl, Heather, who lives happily with her two mommies until her first visit to daycare shows her that families come in all shapes and sizes, and all are special. Although credit must be given to Leslea Newman and Diana Souza for creating a
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valuable resource for parents to discuss family diversity with their children, it is just that: a resource. The text is heavy for the tone, as if it is meant to be read to a child, not by one. The Illustrations are interesting, especially in texture, but do not add much to the story in the first half of the book, and are at times strangely creepy (in this reviewers opinion). Newman and Souza provide a loving depiction of Heather’s family, but by the time the book has run through almost every possible family structure in Heather’s class, the diversity lesson is officially “heavy handed.” Nonetheless, it is a classic resource for parents who might not be sure how to broach the subject with their children, and opt for a special story time instead. Highly recommended for parenting collections in public libraries.
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LibraryThing member emgalford
Souza, D. (1989). Heather Has Two Mommies. New York: Alyson Books.

In the picture book Heather Has Two Mommies, readers are introduced to a little girl named Heather. Heather’s parents are both female. Her parents, Kate and Jane, decided that they wanted to start a family, so Jane was
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artificially inseminated with a donor’s sperm. Jane gave birth to Heather and the family has been living happily for many years. Heather doesn’t think anything is different about her family. They are happy and all love each other. When Heather goes to her playgroup for the first time, she is shocked to learn that she is different from the other children. Unlike everyone else, Heather does not have a father. She becomes upset, but Molly, the playgroup leader, explains that everyone’s family is different. As the story continues, Heather is introduced to other children who share how their families are different. Some children only have one parent, other children have divorced parents, and so on. Heather learns that there is no one type of family and the only thing that is important is if your family loves each other. This story encourages people, especially children, to accept same sex parents. It teaches that not every family is the same, and that doesn’t mean that some family types are better than others. Heather Has Two Mommies can be enjoyed by many different people at different times. The idea of same sex couples and same sex parents has existed for many years and in many different cultures. This book was released in 1989 and can still be enjoyed and understood today. Heather Has Two Mommies is a Lambda Literary Award finalist for 1990.

This book can be used in a library to teach children about same sex couples and same sex parents. It can be used as part of a unit on non-traditional families. The librarian can combine different books that teach about nontraditional families. Children can discuss how the families are different and if they think any one type of family is better than the other. Children can also bring in their family members and share how their family is different and special. You would have to be very careful with this book in your library though. It is one of the most challenged children’s books available today. If you were to include this in your collection and use it with children, you should make sure that their parents do not have any objections to the story.
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LibraryThing member kapeoples
First or Second grade reading level. This book would be a great tool when addressing the issue of homosexuality in the classroom. The book presents a positive image of gay people to children. It is very respectful and proper. The story is about a little girl named Heather who has a Mama Kate and a
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Mama Jane. The book portrays Heather asa normal little girl who does normal little girl things. However, she simply has two mommies.
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LibraryThing member rschwed
Spanish language edition of Leslea Newman's groundbreaking title Heather Has Two Mommies which features a girl with lesbian moms.
LibraryThing member katrinafroelich
In this 10th Anniversary edition, the text has been condensed and the sections on Heather's birth omitted to clarify the central theme, which is "the most important thing about a family is that all the people in it love each other." This is a delightful story of Heather's discovery that families
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can be made up of different kinds of people. The images are simple, and depict common daily routines of a preschool child. After reading it, my daughter insisted she was old enough to have a dog -- just like Heather.
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LibraryThing member Lake_Oswego_UCC
Heather learns about other families and finds things to appreciate about her own.
LibraryThing member madamepince
The illustrations are so poor, they do little to support the story and that's unfortunate.
LibraryThing member givingtree1
Good book on the importance of love in any family.
LibraryThing member lquilter
One of the first "two mama" books. Dedicated mostly to setting up that the little girl has an ordinary life with two mamas. Pretty good for that sort of explicit "here is a type of family" narrative. Useful if paired with books that similarly address different kinds of families in an explicit
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fashion, but this should not be the only two-mama or two-papa book in a library or family collection. If you have this one, consider getting "The Different Dragon" or "The Dragon and the Doctor" to show a two-mama family where the same-gender aspect is backgrounded, not foregrounded.
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LibraryThing member aevans1
I love books that challenge the idea of the perfect family. This one did just that, by showing that not all families have a father and mother, but can have two mothers. This book is an outreach to those who have this family, and to those who no nothing about having two mothers.
LibraryThing member the_hag
I think this Heather Has Two Mommies has a fine message about diversity in families...that there are many, many, many family configurations and that they are all fine and have benefits...that what really matters is that the parents and kids are loving and supportive to one another. I think this
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book has a solid, light-hearted feel that is also carried over into the illustrations. The illustrations, as noted, are ligh-hearted and whimisical...but the style that they are drawn in is utterly unappealing and this detracts from the story a bit for me and I think might be less interesting than a different style to the children that this story is aimed at, but mostly this is a personal astetic that may not bother anyone but me. Overall, I think this book is best for kids ages 2-6, if they are much older than that, they are probably going to have questions about GBLT families that this book doesn't address. It's a fine addition to any children's library with a positive message and I'm pleased to have had the opportunity to have read it. I'd recommend it without hesitation!
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LibraryThing member rschwed
This is the VERY SCARCE true first edition of the landmark title Heather Has Two Mommies. It was only the second childrens picture book to explicitly present a two-mothers family. Leslea Newman could not find a publisher willing to take it on, so she self-published it by taking subscriptions. I've
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been able to infer from articles and interviews that the edition may have been as small as 400 copies, and it is accordingly very scarce indeed. She sold the rights to Alyson Publications, and it has since gone through dozens of printings. The true First is distinguishable by the "In Other Words" logo on the back cover.

In the first edition, Newman devotes a good portion of the text to describing in detail Heather's conception and birth, and in general the text wasn't age appropriate. She shortened and simplified the text in the 10th anniversary edition.

In my most critical view, "Heather" is not among the best picture books portraying two-mother families, and the illustrations in black and white are a bit creepy. Heather looks crazed, and her dog Gingersnap looks like a wolf. Nonetheless, it is an iconic work in this genre, and Ms. Newman's motives were good, namely to show a positive portrayal of a two-mother family for children of gay parents
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LibraryThing member SaraColvin
I enjoyed this book because it pushes the reader to think about a topic that might not be discussed very much so it broadens their perspectives. I liked that the setting took place in a school because this is where children will experiences different issues and different types of families when they
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interact with their classmates. This is a good time to address differences so children are more accepting of each other. I liked that the teacher and the students were the ones having a discussion about it since teachers are often role models to the younger children and have to address some tough questions that may be brought up in their classroom. The illustrations were all black and white, which I did not like at first. Then I realized that it actually enhances the story because it allows you to focus on the message and not the pictures. It also shows that we may think a topic, like family, is just black and white, but in reality isn’t. I enjoyed the book because it developed the plot well with each child having a different type of family. For example, Heather had two mommies, and someone had two dads, just a mom, an adopted family and so forth. Every type of family was listed and discussed so that no one was left out. The big message was that everyone has a different family. However, everyone is loved and it doesn’t make them less of a family just because they are different from yours or what you have seen before.
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LibraryThing member liss2
This book is about a girl named Heather who has lesbian mom's. She learn's that it is okay to have two mom's and that it doesn't make her different then the other kids in her class. This is a great book to teach about diversity and acceptance. Good for a 2nd grade class.
LibraryThing member EmilySadler
I had mixed feelings about this book because the plot was respectful of the gay community and different types of families, however the illustrations were stereotypical and did not fairly represent lesbian mothers. I really liked how the author compared each mother and the different activities
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Heather likes to do with her moms. Heather’s life is basically normal, despite having a different kind of family. Towards the end of the book, Heather’s daycare class colors pictures of their families. Some have no mom, some have divorced parents, and Heather has two mommies. Showing the different types of families gives the reader respect for all differences. The illustrations really bothered me because it portrays the mothers as very manly, whereas many lesbians are not. For example, one mother has very short hair and is a carpenter. She practically looks like a man. I think it would have been better showing the feminine qualities of the mothers because they are women. This book was about accepting differences in families and that having two mothers is perfectly fine. I would not have this book in my classroom library, however I would recommend it to a child in that type of family.
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LibraryThing member CarolinePfrang
“Heather has Two Mommies” follows the story of a very young girl who for the first time realizes her family is different than other families and struggles with accepting that in her own way. This book enforces that love is the most important thing in a family and that even if your family is
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different than a typical family if you love each other that’s all that matters. In the beginning of the story, the author goes through all the things that Heather does on a regular basis and makes her out to be a very normal girl. Then the author states that she has two mommies. I liked how the author waited until the reader could understand that Heather lived a normal and loving life before they mentioned she had to mommies. This was the first way the author showed that their family isn’t different. On Heather’s first day of school she quickly realizes that she does not have a father while many other kids do and gets upset. The teacher realizes this and has all the kids draw pictures of their families. It is then that Heather realizes that some kids have no moms, or no dads, or multiple parents. The author then shows all the kids loving the make-up of their families, including Heather. I found this to be an amazing way to show that all make-ups of families are wonderful and normal, including having two moms. The illustrations showed what the kids in the class drew of their families which was a fun way to yet again enforce that message. Finally, in the end Heather draws a picture of her family to give to her moms. I thought that this was a great way to show Heathers appreciation, acceptance, and love for her family at such a young age.
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LibraryThing member emmalune
Heather Has Two Mommies is a story about Heather's family and has been challenged many times at the Bellingham Public Library. While the story is loving and centered on the fact that families don't all look the same but are equally as loving and good, Heather Has Two Mommies is not a book I would
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recommend. It's written in first person with a lot of text and the black and white illustrations are not very dynamic. I agree with the message of the story and I believe it's important to have books like this available. However, the writing style and illustrations detract from the wonderful message.
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LibraryThing member arodri13
This contemporary realistic fiction picture book addresses a controversial family dynamic which is ever present in today's society. This story presents a family in which a girl, Heather, has two mothers. The underlying meaning of this story is that all that is needed to make a family is love.
LibraryThing member Madison94
I really enjoyed the content of the book but disliked the black and white illustrations.
I enjoyed the content because it really showed how kids are accepting of each other. Heather was concerned because everyone was talking about their mom's and dad's but she has two moms. That made her think
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something was wrong but as it turned out some other kids in the class had two dad's or separated parents. It really made me glad to see they made a book to help those who a part of the LGBT community.
I disliked the illustrations because they were very boring. I felt they did not contribute to the book and if they were in color it would have been more enjoyable to read.
The overall message of the book was that family is the most important and everyone's family is unique in their own way. No two families are alike.
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LibraryThing member kbartholomew1
Just like the title of the book states, Heather has two mommies. Having two mommies seems normal to Heather, until she hears about people having daddies at her playgroup. It seems as though none of the children have the same family dynamics. Some children have step parents, one has adopted
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siblings, one only has one parent, another has two daddies. No matter the dynamics of the family, the only thing that matters is that everyone in the family loves each other. The focus of the book was not solely based on Heather having to mothers, instead it's about loving and accepting the family that you have. Although I love the book and its' message, I would not read the pages of how Heather was conceived to young children.
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LibraryThing member syumru
A girl who named Heather was adopted by the lesbian couple. Heather has two arms, two legs and also two mommies.. This book supports that children can look the other lives from a mirror.
Age: 4-8
Sources: Pierce College Ft. Steilacoom
LibraryThing member cjfox73
Thoughtfully written to help children understand a potentially difficult thing. The story is gentle and lovingly told, and all families are honored.
LibraryThing member adaq
One of the first "two mama" books. Dedicated mostly to setting up that the little girl has an ordinary life with two mamas. Pretty good for that sort of explicit "here is a type of family" narrative. Useful if paired with books that similarly address different kinds of families in an explicit
Show More
fashion, but this should not be the only two-mama or two-papa book in a library or family collection. If you have this one, consider getting "The Different Dragon" or "The Dragon and the Doctor" to show a two-mama family where the same-gender aspect is backgrounded, not foregrounded.
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Original language


Original publication date


Physical description

32 p.; 10.56 inches


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