As 2013’s Freedom to Read Week in Canada draws to a close, I want to include a book that speaks gently to an issue that is contentious for some. I believe it is of vital importance to show children that families come in all varieties, and that this is something to rejoice in and celebrate, as this book does.
Title: Mom and Mum are Getting Married
Author: Ken Setterington
Illustrator: Alice Priestley
Publisher: Toronto: Second Story Press, 2004
Genre: Picture book, fiction
Audience Age: 5 to 9 years
Themes/topics: weddings, flower girls, family celebrations, same-sex marriage, dealing with disappointment creatively
Opening Sentences: You should have seen her. Mom was dancing around the living room. In the afternoon. On a school day! Nobody else was with her. There wasn’t any music. But she wore the biggest smile I ever saw.
Synopsis: Rosie’s two mothers, Mom and Mum, are getting married. They have been living as a family for as long as Rosie can remember, apparently, and at first she wants things to stay the way they are, until she remembers one of her friends was a flower girl when the friend’s dad got married. This, however, will be a small wedding, no flower girl. Rosie finds a way, finally, to be a special part of the wedding party, and saves the day in her own unique way.
This book focuses on Rosie and her wish to be a flower girl, and simply accepts the fact that two women are getting married without question. I appreciate this, as it shows children that this is just another normal kind of family and marriage. It may raise questions for children, though, and parents, caregivers, teachers, librarians need to be ready to answer children’s questions without moralizing.
Activities/Resources: There are resources for all school age groups at Safe Schools Coalition. Rainbow Rumpus is an online magazine for kids with LGBTQ parents. The LGBTQ Parenting Connection provides many resources, as well.
For a video interview with the author talking about the book in the context of Freedom to Read Week, click here.
Availability: Readily available in hardcover.
Every Friday, bloggers join together to share picture book reviews and resources, thanks to author Susanna Leonard Hill’s brainchild, “Perfect Picture Book Fridays.” Susanna then adds the books (and links to the reviews) to a comprehensive listing by subject on her blog. Find the entire listing at her “Perfect Picture Books.”