|One thing that makes people think the GLBTQ community is “other” is that it does not “look normal” when it comes to families. However, that is a bunch of meadow muffins! Because as we learn in these two books, we see that parents and families can look like anything, as long as there is the love to hold it together.|
Families take on all sorts of shapes and sizes. I believe I have read and reviewed Papa, Daddy, & Riley before, but I had the chance to read it again. Seamus Kirst tells us that families look different but what makes them a family is love. That might be a bit on the cheesy side, but really, it is true. It does not matter if the family you have has two moms or two dads, or one parent, or aunts and uncles or foster parent or parents. And Devon Holzwarth takes on the challenge of illustrated this with all types of diverseness. We see different races and religions, all types of shapes and sizes. And with Kirst telling us that Riley can be both a Princess and a Dragon to her Daddy and Papa, we see that we too can have both, some, or something different, but still have all the love. Perhaps my favorite part is how we see how Riley came to be with a “belly mom” instead of her parents giving birth to her.
Probably my new favorite book is My Maddy. This picture book starts off with that sometimes Daddies are boys and Mommies are girls. But we quickly learn that sometimes they are both or neither. And our young character and their parent, their Maddy, shows us how things that are “in between” can be the best of them all. Maddy likes getting up early to see the sunrise because it is not night nor day, and rainbows are great because they are neither wet or sun (and you need both). And we see all the things that Maddy does for the narrator, things that we can all relate to, such as taking us to school, hugs, and fun times. We never see if Maddy is transitioning or is non-binary, but we do see that there is a lot of love to go around. The afterwards for parents/caregivers/even teachers is also a must read. Violet Tobacco’s sweet, happy, and detailed images support everything about the text and is its own character as well.
Papa, Daddy, & Riley tends to lean towards the slightly younger to about age seven crowd, where My Maddy feels like it might be aimed a little higher. But of course, you can adapt both for most ages.