Leslea Newman

Lesléa Newman Reflects on Trailblazing Children’s Book 30 Years Later

There’s no time like Pride Month to celebrate the thirtieth anniversary of Heather Has Two Mommies and the brilliance of Lesléa Newman who penned the book so many years ago. Coming out in 1989, it was an immediate source of controversy, landing itself on banned book lists and even on Congressional records. It was ultimately meant to spark a wave of acceptance, showing that a family with two same-sex parents is no different than a family with parents of opposite sexes. Truth be told, any family where a child is loved by two parents regardless of gender is beautiful, and that is just what Newman was trying to say.

 

Heather Has Two Mommies Cover Image

image via entertainment weekly

Heather went through many rounds of transformation over the years. On its original querying process, Newman didn’t include how Mama Kate and Mama Jane conceived Heather, but some publishers felt it was important. After all, the world knows two women cannot make a baby together. Additionally, at the time of its publication same-sex marriage was still not recognized under the law, but by the time the twentieth anniversary edition rolled around Mama Jane and Mama Kate were featured with wedding bands.

Lesléa Newman sat down with Lacey Vorrasi-Banis from Entertainment Weekly to discuss these details and more. When asked about how her book ended up in the Congressional record, Newman gave an answer I was not quite expecting. According to Newman:

Senator Bob Smith of New Hampshire read parts of the book [on the Senate floor] as evidence of the destruction of western civilization as we know it. What really was the worst part of the whole thing is that he read in such a sarcastic voice dripping with hate. It was the opposite of what I was doing.

Newman goes on to mention how she struggled to get the book published because of the title alone. While some publishers did point out what could be corrected, like the conception issue, she says that on name alone many turned it away without even reading it. It was an uphill battle many of us are glad she faced because it paved the way for acceptance even through all of the controversy.

Newman closed her interview by saying “there definitely needs to be more” books that feature families like Heather’s.

featured image via toledo blade