Groundbreaking LGBT Kids Book Gets Awesome Update

by Emma Cueto

When the children's picture book Heather Has Two Mommies first came out in in 1989, books with visible LGBTQ representation for kids were virtually non-existent. But a lot has changed since then, and to reflect that, an upcoming reprinting of Heather Has Two Mommies will add wedding bands to Heather's moms' ring fingers. Because it's not 1989 anymore and gay marriage is no longer a pipe dream. In fact, it's possible for more than 70 percent of people in the U.S.

"I don't specifically say that they're married but they are," author Leslea Newman told the AP. "I don't know where I could have smoothly inserted that into the text. That's not what the story is about. The story is really about Heather." Nevertheless, now that same sex marriage is becoming the norm, it's great that Heather's family can reflect that change and continue to be relevant today.

When Newman's book first came out more than 25 years ago a lot was different. The self-published picture book was one of the only books for kids to include LGBT representation, and it quickly drew national controversy. Towns across the country tried to ban it, and some critics even burned copies. It was even used in Congress in 1994 as evidence supporting an amendment banning federal aid to school districts that "carry out a program or activity that has either the purpose or effect of encouraging or supporting homosexuality as a positive lifestyle alternative." The amendment passed.

Nowadays, though, the world is definitely changing for the better, and Heather Has Two Mommies is no longer alone when it comes to kids books about LGBT families — take And Tango Makes Three, for instance, a picture book about a penguin chick named Tango who is being raised by two dads. Although it too has faced censorship battles, the simple fact that more and more people are embracing such titles is a sign that progress, slow though it may be, is happening.

Heather Has Two Mommies has been out of print for some time now, will be re-released by Candlewick Press this month with updated illustrations, including wedding bands for the moms. Because the book is all about showing a normal LGBT family, and today, that thankfully can include married parents.

Image: Candlewick Press