Needed, but there is still lots of room for better books to come.

MY TWO MOMS AND ME

A new board book about babies and toddlers with pairs of moms.

This title will help address the dearth of materials for young children with depictions of two-mom families. First-person, affirming text is delivered in a matter-of-fact voice detailing moments in the daily routine of a young child with two moms. “At the pool, my moms bounce me in the water. What a life!” reads a representative spread. The accompanying illustrations don’t follow one child and their parents, however. Instead, each spread shows a different child (or in some spreads two children) interacting with their moms. This opens up possibilities for racially diverse representation, and many impeccably dressed families depicted in the retro-style art by fashion illustrator Zenou appear multiracial. Diversity doesn’t include depictions of people with visible disabilities (apart from two moms wearing glasses), and adults appear uniformly slim and mostly cisgender. The companion title about children with two dads is similarly executed with a first-person child’s voice, racially diverse characters, and limited representation of other diversity. It is a pity for the baby and toddler audience that the illustrations do not embrace the blank backgrounds of cover art and instead fill every bit of space. Both titles will undoubtedly be scooped up by families seeking queer representation in board books.

Needed, but there is still lots of room for better books to come. (Board book. 6 mos.-2)

Pub Date: March 26, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-58012-6

Page Count: 22

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: July 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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A wonderfully charming tale of family and sisters that anyone can bond with.

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SISTERS

Two sisters who are constantly at odds take a family road trip that covers more ground—both literally and figuratively—than they expect.

After begging her parents for a sister, Raina gets more than she bargained for once Amara is born. From the moment she was brought home, Amara hasn’t been quite the cuddly playmate that Raina had hoped. As the years pass, the girls bicker constantly and apparently couldn’t be more unalike: Raina spends her time indoors underneath her headphones, and Amara loves animals and the outdoors. The girls, their mother and their little brother all pack up to drive to a family reunion, and it seems like the trip’s just going to be more of the same, with the girls incessantly picking on each other all the way from San Francisco to Colorado. However, when the trip doesn’t go quite as planned—for a number of reasons—the girls manage to find some common ground. Told in then-and-now narratives that are easily discernable in the graphic format, Telgemeier’s tale is laugh-out-loud funny (especially the story about the snake incident) and quietly serious all at once. Her rounded, buoyant art coupled with a masterful capacity for facial expressions complements the writing perfectly. Fans of her previous books Smile (2010) and Drama (2012) shouldn’t miss this one; it’s a winner.

A wonderfully charming tale of family and sisters that anyone can bond with. (Graphic memoir. 7-13)

Pub Date: Aug. 26, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-545-54059-9

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Graphix/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2014

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Some readers may feel that the resolution comes a mite too easily, but most will enjoy the journey and be pleased when...

ASHES TO ASHEVILLE

Two sisters make an unauthorized expedition to their former hometown and in the process bring together the two parts of their divided family.

Dooley packs plenty of emotion into this eventful road trip, which takes place over the course of less than 24 hours. Twelve-year-old Ophelia, nicknamed Fella, and her 16-year-old sister, Zoey Grace, aka Zany, are the daughters of a lesbian couple, Shannon and Lacy, who could not legally marry. The two white girls squabble and share memories as they travel from West Virginia to Asheville, North Carolina, where Zany is determined to scatter Mama Lacy’s ashes in accordance with her wishes. The year is 2004, before the Supreme Court decision on gay marriage, and the girls have been separated by hostile, antediluvian custodial laws. Fella’s present-tense narration paints pictures not just of the difficulties they face on the trip (a snowstorm, car trouble, and an unlikely thief among them), but also of their lives before Mama Lacy’s illness and of the ways that things have changed since then. Breathless and engaging, Fella’s distinctive voice is convincingly childlike. The conversations she has with her sister, as well as her insights about their relationship, likewise ring true. While the girls face serious issues, amusing details and the caring adults in their lives keep the tone relatively light.

Some readers may feel that the resolution comes a mite too easily, but most will enjoy the journey and be pleased when Fella’s family figures out how to come together in a new way . (Historical fiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: April 4, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-399-16504-7

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: Feb. 1, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2017

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