Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Single Mama Christmas Books

I wrote previously about some issues related to the theme of Single Mothers: in baby books, in children's books, and specifically looking for books discussing known sperm donors.  I have a tab at the top of this blog listing some of the products of that research, including suggestions found in lists written by others.

Then along comes Christmas.  I bought several books from Scholastic, we received books as gifts, and I bought some off the $1 rack at Target as stocking stuffers.  We're kindof up-to-our-eyeballs in new books around here.  I love it.

I noticed while reading a few of them the last couple of days .... some are great for the Single Mama theme.  Some, to be blunt, aren't.  And you can't tell from the titles.  One book specifically says "Mommy" in the title, and then has a stereotypical sports-watching Daddy at the end.  One Christmas-themed book just shows a genderless guardian-type figure - perfect for the Single Mama list, and it was merely a free book I got to add to my cart at the last minute because of the amount of my order.

I summarize the information here simply as a sum of my observations.  Some single mamas don't mind a few daddies ending up in their books.  Some single mamas want to avoid the topic like the plague.  Myself, I just want to present some books that show our lifestyle in a positive light, and make us a part of the norm rather than the exception.  This is just what I have read in the books that she received for Christmas gifts.

Another disclaimer:  I make no judgements about the books, I'm just relaying which ones have daddies and which ones don't.  Because you can't tell from the titles, and identifying information isn't always included in the book description.  Some of these books are ones my mom bought for us.  Thank you, thank you, thank you.  We adore them all, they are all on her bookshelf (or will be once the gifts are finally put away), and we appreciate them so much.  Please don't think this is an editorial comment or a judgement of the gifts that we received.  It is simply an observation that a book about "Mommy" in the title may also have Daddy in the content.

Books To Add To The Single Mama Books list:

Christmas With You - this is the book that I ended up picking out from a list at the last minute, because the order total allowed me to receive a free book.  I picked it simply from the title.  It's a beautiful little book, it talks about things people do on Christmas Day.  It shows two mice, a larger guardian-type figure and a smaller childlike character.  It would fit well with many single-guardian situations, not just for single mamas.

The Mommy Book - if you read my Our Mommyhood post on The Family Book then you know that I'm a huge fan of Todd Parr's books.  This one is no exception.  I'm hoping to have the entire library eventually, that's how much I totally heart his books.

Others: (i.e. not just a single mama/parent portrayed)
Bedtime For Mommy - this one SO surprised me.  A mommy, working late at her desk, is given 5 more minutes before time for bed.  Her daughter gives her a bath, puts her in bed, answers her request for a drink of water and to leave the door open ... it's utterly adorable.  Then on the second-to-last page, the daughter says "One down, one to go" and heads into a TV room to tell the Daddy it's time for bed.  It's still going to be a favorite of ours, I can tell.  The story itself is just too cute.  But really, to end the story with Daddy, was that even necessary?

Why is this photo upside down?  I'll have to work on that.
Christmas Wishes - this one is based on a poem that includes "Dad", and the mice family have an obvious paternal and maternal parent mouse figure.  A great alternative version of Twas The Night Before Christmas - and about that long - just be aware of the paternal language and representation.

Counting Christmas - Karen Katz is not single-parent friendly.  All of her books show a mommy and a daddy character.  This one is no exception.  The countdown includes four loving arms - two from mommy and two from daddy.  We have Counting Kisses that she received as a birthday gift.  That book shows a Mommy, Daddy, and Grandmother.  When C reads it, she points to the man and calls him Grandpa (well, "Boppa"). 

I have finally done some editing to the Single Mama Books page.  I'm still working on increasing the repertoire of books on the list that show human families with a single female parent - those are still decidedly lacking.  Most of the books on the single parent list show animal dyads.  I guess it's easier to go single-parent and gender-neutral with mice or bunnies.  If you know of/find any human single mamas, I'm still taking suggestions!!!!


Anonymous said...

My favorite single mama book does have bunnies in it, but I still love it. It's the words that are so meaningful to me.

Jellybean Mama said...

I have to defend Karen Katz because her potty book is a BIG hit in this house, and it's single-mom friendly! Mommy sits beside the little one to help show her how to use the toilet - no dad or mention of one anywhere. And the ending line; 'I'm so proud of ME!' is awesome.

I have to go back and check 'Sleepy ABC' because I can't remember if that one is or not. Although Karen is just the illustrator.

'Peekaboo Zoo' from Lamaze is a super-cute single-mom-friendly baby/toddler book. That's my recommendation for today.

FruitFish said...

Thanks for more book reviews! It's appreciated :)