Saturday, December 29, 2007


YES magazine has an online newsletter that provides dozens of resources for teachers interested in Teaching Peace.

It is a wonderful and hopeful resource as we enter a New Year.

Youth Activism in Maine

Last Fall Lewiston Maine became the site for an inspiring youth/adult collaboration; it is called YADA for Youth + Adults + Dialouge = Action. Using materials from Pomfret's Study Circles the groups came together for structured conversation and action planning. I am excited to learn more about the goals they decide upon and how they are implemented.

The Maine Youth Action Network provides an enormous amount of resources for young people interested in becoming involved with established volunteer opportunities or interested in creating their own social change projects. MYAN provides many links and print resources, as well as organizing an annual statewide conference (in November).

Sunday, December 23, 2007

The Mothers Movement Online!

Updates: The Mothers Movement Online
Resources and Reporting for Mothers and Others Who Think About Social Change

December 2007 Edition

By MMO Editor Judith Stadtman Tucker

The Renewal of Possibility, and The Caring Society

"The Caring Society" seems like a timely topic for the holiday season, which -- when stripped down to its essence -- is all about the renewal of hope and possibility. It's also one of those rare occasions when we're prodded to reflect on our common humanity, and allow our hearts to open; to remember that joy comes from giving as well as receiving; to acknowledge that there is too much bad in the world, but also the capacity to do great good; and to act from the understanding that of all human powers, love matters most.


The Caring Society
There are caring people in every society, but not all societies are caring societies.

Democratic Front-Runners Pledge Support For Working Families
Whether through first-hand hardships or as media consumers, Americans are waking up to the significant risks of raising families in a nation where protecting corporate interests takes priority over the well-being of workers and children -- and, at least among Democratic hopefuls, candidates in the presidential primary race are taking note. (Includes side-by-side comparison of the candidates' proposals.)

Camping While Black
I've tried to keep these harsh realities from my son; however, in retrospect, I wonder if that is that wise? As his mother and primary link to black history, culture, pride and pain, I worry I am making a grave mistake. My biggest fear is I'm not fully preparing him to cope in a racist society and thus he may walk straight into harm's way.


-- Social Insecurity:

In US, two-thirds of middle-class families face financial insecurity (plus: related articles); Study finds one-third of Americans are downwardly mobile - risk is greater for African Americans (plus: related resources and articles); Poverty, racial bias contribute to overrepresentation of African American children in foster care

-- Work & Family:

OECD recommends work-life reconciliation policies for family well-being, economic growth; Stressed much? Work, money and parenting are major source of stress for Americans; Business Week: Can you afford to raise kids?; More news and commentary on work, family, and public policy

-- Motherhood & Mothering:

Knocking yourself up, post-partum plastic surgery, and other madness

-- Reproductive Health & Rights:

Candidates on sex ed, more about sex, and other noteworthy items on women's reproductive health



Parentbling Magazines

I have a few complaints to lodge against the mainstream parenting magazine industry.

He Gets/She Gets
We negotiate schedules and chores with general good humor. But will there ever come a time when we won't be keeping an internal tally, an imaginary score sheet of what needs to be done and whose needs take priority?

Essays - we've got 'em. Check out the recent arrivals in the Essays directory:


Through The Looking Glass
I look like Hillary Clinton.

Mother-related Conferences/Call for Proposals

National Association of Mothers Centers
NAMC National Conference:
Mothers ’08™ – Thinking Beyond Ourselves & Beyond Today
April 4-6, 2008, Hauppauge, NY

NOW Foundation
Institute of Women's Policy Research
National Council of Negro Women
Summit on Economic Justice for Women
April 11-12, 2008, Atlanta, Georgia

Association for Research on Mothering (ARM)

Performing Feminist Motherhood:
Outlaw Mothers in Music, Media, Arts and Cultural Expression
May 16, 2008, New York City
Call for submissions: Proposals due 15 Feb 2008


The MMO welcomes reader mail

The MMO Resources section provides descriptions and links to 100+ high quality reports and articles related care & economics, care & politics, family & culture, public policy reform, work/family issues, workplace standards, organizations and more… the list is always growing. Find the information you are looking for.

Please press 'send:' Submissions from new and seasoned writers are oh so welcome. Submit your essays, commentary, book reviews or opinion pieces for publication in the MMO. For more information, visit the submissions page:

Topics and submission deadlines for upcoming issues appear below.


Deadline for submissions is FEBRUARY 1, 2007

Deadline for submissions is APRIL 1, 2007

The 2008 EDITORIAL CALENDAR is now available (in .pdf)

Email for more information.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Stereotyping Toys by Kim Gandy

NOW's Naughty List: Stereotyping Toys

Below the Belt: A Biweekly Column by NOW President Kim Gandy

December 21, 2007

For what I hope is the last time in 2007, I find myself asking: What year is this again?

I'm not talking about abstinence-only education, or Bush's appointment of birth control opponents to high ranking reproductive health positions, or even "purity balls" (although I may have to get to those someday soon). No, I'm talking about toys.

'Tis the season for abundant toy advertising and shopping, so naturally the NOW office has been abuzz about the ubiquitous "Rose Petal Cottage" TV commercials. If you haven't seen these ads, count yourself lucky. Honestly, if I didn't know better, I would think they were beamed in from 1955, via some lost satellite in space. Or maybe it's a deeply subversive parody that a clever (and rich) band of feminists snuck onto the airwaves in heavy rotation.

According to the makers at Playskool, the Rose Petal Cottage is "a place where her dreams have room to grow." And what might those dreams be? Well, baking muffins, arranging furniture and doing the dishes. The voiceover even declares that the toy house will "entertain her imagination" just before the little girl opens the miniature washing machine and says – I kid you not – "Let's do laundry!"

Now, I'm not knocking the important work of housekeeping, but this commercial is aimed solely at females (there are two versions -- one designed to entice little girls and one targeting their moms). Products like the Rose Petal Cottage and the marketing campaigns that accompany them perpetuate the notion that cooking and cleaning are women's work, and girls might as well start getting used to that fact at an early age. C'mon Susie, this scrubbing and ironing look like fun!

Of course the message of the Rose Petal Cottage would not be complete without its flip side . . . the Tonka 3-in-1 Scoot n' Scoop truck. This commercial states its theory right up front: "Boys. What can you say? They're just built different!"

The not so subtle concept is that boys are adventurous and unpredictable. Playing "their way" involves mischievous acts like pulling flowers out of the garden and tracking dirt across the kitchen floor. But thanks to Tonka, a boy can channel "what he does naturally" into sorting shapes and learning to walk. Yup, those sure sound like boys-only activities to me.

The idea that a girl might want to ride on a truck, or a boy play house, well, that's just too radical for most toy manufacturers. They prefer the status quo, thank you very much.

But what about toys that promote learning -- surely their marketing is more forward-thinking, right? Imagine my surprise when NOW received an email from a woman alerting us to the fact that even the Discovery Channel's online store organizes toys by gender beginning at age five. As the email writer explains: "Since the store is a major one for science and technology toys, I worry that it is just another way women are being discouraged from pursuing interest in science and technology at an early age."

Another disappointment is the makeover Dora the Explorer received recently. Yes, you can still buy dolls and products that look like the same Dora you see on TV, but now you can also buy an elongated and glamorous Dora, too. These new Doras are approaching Bratz territory, and that's disheartening. Dora is one of the few positive female role models in cartoons -- a smart, brave, curious girl who doesn't look like a supermodel in the making. Why must she be robbed of her uniqueness?

Take a trip through Toys "R" Us and pay close attention to the kinds of toys that are marketed specifically to girls or boys. The girls' section features dolls, fashion, jewelry, and a few crafts and other items that are best described as decorative. The boys' section contains cars, planes, sports equipment. These toys seem to value action, dexterity and skill. Many boys' toys literally and figuratively encourage them to reach for the stars, while girls' toys urge them to play at being stars, like the troubled pop princesses who rule our celebrity-obsessed culture.

To some folks, I might sound like Scrooge…disparaging decades of toy tradition. Or, this might sound like a pretty silly concern with everything else going on in the world. But the messages we send to kids as they are growing up have the power to influence the rest of their lives. And these toys do send a message about the roles of women and men in our society.

Through the world of toys, girls and boys are given separate dreams to follow. Girls are prepared for a future of looking pretty, keeping house and taking care of babies. Boys are given a pass on that domain, and instead pointed toward the outside world of challenge, physical development and achievement.

A lot of this has to do with making money, I'm sure. After all, if girls and boys don't share toys, families with kids of both genders have to buy twice as many products. But it's also about promoting difference between the sexes. Our society, heck, the whole world, still isn't ready to give up the standards that define gender and all the rules and customs that go with it.

Women will never be fully equal until we, and all of our society, stop restricting our children's aspirations based on their sex, and constantly directing them toward predetermined roles. It starts with pink and blue baby clothes, then dolls and trucks. Next thing you know, boys and girls are being segregated into separate classrooms and schools because they "learn differently." Then, they enter the workplace with an outlook that can only perpetuate division and derision.

Girls and boys both will benefit if we offer them limitless options. They will grow up to be more fully developed people if we give them the freedom to discover who they are, without the stress of tightly patrolled gender borders.

As I write this, 2008 is on the horizon, and it seems like a fine year to expand our vision of what girls, women, boys and men can do beyond our outdated, unimaginative conventions. And we can start with something as innocent-seeming as the toys we buy our kids this holiday season.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Whole Child Initiative

ESR Partners with ASCD on the Whole Child Initiative
ESR has joined the 22 national organizations who have joined with the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD) as partners in the Whole Child Initiative, to engage the public and advocate for a whole child approach to education wherein educators, schools, parents, policymakers, and communities work together to ensure students are healthy, safe, engaged in learning, supported by caring adults, and challenged by a well-balanced curriculum. Please visit to learn more about the initiative.

Connected and Respected Trainings from Educators for Social Responsibility

Educators for Social Responsibility E-News
December 2007

UPDATES! Connected & Respected in the Elementary Classroom Institutes
ESR invites elementary educators to explore Connected and Respected: Lessons from the Resolving Conflict Creatively Program. This curriculum, helps students develop the qualities of character, and social and emotional competencies that are not only vital to their academic success, but to their success in building and maintaining relationships and making positive contributions to their communities and the world.

Registration for the following institutes will open mid-January!
Long Island, New York on Monday, March 10, 2008

Chicago, Illinois on Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Old Lyme, Connecticut on Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Eastern Massachusetts (Marlborough) on Thursday, April 10, 2008

Bay Area, California (Hayward) on Monday, April 14, 2008

San Diego, California on Thursday, April 17, 2008

Atlanta, Georgia on Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Northern New Jersey (Totowa) on Thursday, May 22, 2008

New Orleans, Louisiana and Richmond, Virginia to be determined!

For more information please contact Nicole Day at 617.492.1764 ext. 30 or

Contact Governor Baldacci about proposed budget cuts

Given the horror of hunger in Maine, as well as rising home heating costs, the growing income and wealth gap and the importance of maintaining education and basic social services in our community, Governor Baldacci's proposed budget cuts are terrifying to me. (See the Press Herald article as well).

There are alternative ways to balance the budget (use the comments to share your best ideas ~ I favor raising income taxes on income in excess of $1,000,000) yet almost no alternatives to government for preserving a safety net, maintaining the health of our community and our children.

Send your thoughts to Governor Baldacci!

(See resources at the non-partisan Maine Center for Economic Policy for clarity about the State Budget, taxes, wages, etc.)

Hunger in Maine - Resources for Teaching

Brita, from Born to Read, left a comment about resources for talking with children about hunger (check out her comment in the previous post). There are obviously several dimensions -- talking with kids who are hungry about their experience, problem solving hunger, and talking with kids who are NOT hungry about hunger as a personal and social problem. It is so hard to know what is developmentally appropriate - how to shelter kids from problems too big for them and at the same time empower them to be change agents from the start.

Heifer International offers Read To Feed for kids between the 3rd and 6th grades. They offer lesson plans for teachers, as well as online games and book ideas for kids. (Maine was a Read to Feed state in 2005- 2006 but does not appear to currently be involved.)

Feeding Minds, Fighting Hunger is another site dedicated to global hunger awareness. They provide lesson plans for all ages and a list of great looking links.

Kids Can Make a Difference has a list of "action ideas" for kids as well as more curricular resources.

The Hunger Task Force has an article about teaching hungry children about hunger, as well as links to many resources including a book list for children's books (and adult books and curricular resources) by 2nd Harvest

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Children's Hunger in Maine

Our holiday season has been filled with food, from Thanksgiving to the endless supply of extra cookies and sweets. We've worried about excess calories and too much sugar. Then, while cleaning the kitchen (and feeling slightly bitter about it), I happened to hear a Speaking In Maine program that reminded me what a luxury it is to have too much food and opened my eyes to a somewhat invisible but growing-at-crisis-speed problem in our communities - hungry children, hungry families.

You can hear the show by scrolling down to Dec 18th and listening as a podcast or on your computer:

Panel Discussion: "Poverty and the Two Maines"
Broadcast Date: Tuesday, December 18, 2007

We’ll hear a panel discussion titled “Poverty and the Two Maines.” The discussion was presented by the Harward Center for Community Partnerships at Bates College in Lewiston. The panelists discuss the issue from their perspective and share thoughts about how the problem of poverty in the state can be addressed. Panelists include: Hannah Pingree, House Majority Leader of the Maine State Legislature; Sarah Standiford, Executive Director of the Maine Women’s Lobby; Naomi Schalit, Opinion Page Editor for the Kennebec Journal; and Eric Smith, Congregational Outreach Coordinator, Maine Council of Churches.

The Kennebec Journal has a 7 part series describing the growing crisis Maine families face. Statistics are grim:

With a 3.3 percent increase in the number households experiencing hunger, Maine had the highest percentage growth rate of hungry people in the country between 2000 and 2005. Five years ago, we had 430 food pantries in this state; now we have 600. According to the University of Maine’s Margaret Chase Smith Policy Center, from 2002 to 2005 the number of Maine households receiving food stamps increased by almost 50 percent; nationally, food stamp use increased by only 26 percent from 2000 to 2004.

In the past four years, the proportion of students eligible for free and reduced school lunch increased each year on a statewide basis as well as in most counties. More than one-third of the state’s school children were eligible during the 2005-06 school year for the free and reduced school lunch program. Almost half of all students in Somerset, Washington and Piscataquis counties were eligible.

Maine Students Take on Name Calling

From Teaching Tolerance:

Mix It Up Grants for Students
Earlier this year, 56 students and twelve teachers from Maine's Lincoln Academy participated in an experiential learning day in order to raise awareness and tolerance levels in their school, thanks to a Mix it Up Grant. Plagued by verbal harassment, slurs, and degrading language, students at Lincoln Academy admitted their, "school climate was becoming hostile and confrontational". The smaller group of students and faculty shared their lessons with the entire school throughout the semester, resulting in greater personal responsibility, cross-group understanding and compassion for others.

Students (like you and those at Lincoln Academy) know better than anyone what social boundaries are like in their schools and communities. That's why the Mix It Up Grants Program gives away thousands of dollars each year to student-led activist projects. Get a $500 Mix It Up Grant to support your project!

They also e-mailed a great pep-talk for 2008:

Poet Maya Angelou reveals--

I don't know if I continue, even today, always liking myself. But what I learned to do many years ago was to forgive myself. It is very important for every human being to forgive herself or himself because if you live, you will make mistakes-it is inevitable. But once you do and you see the mistake, then you forgive yourself and say, 'well, if I'd known better I'd have done better,' that's all (1995).

As we reflect on this past year, let's think of our glass as "half full" instead of "half empty." Let us be proud of the accomplishments we made, and forgive ourselves of any faults. Let's learn from our mistakes-as well as those of our friends, families, and even teachers-and make a positive change in 2008!

Sunday, December 16, 2007


Tis the season... and so much of the focus is on buying and getting. In the midst of it, I was glad to stumble on the beautifully illustrated children's book "Mama, I'll Give You the World. by Roni Schotter and illustrated by S. Saelig Gallagher.

The story is about Luisa and her hard-working and slightly sad mother. Luisa's mother reminds her that she is saving money for Luisa to go to college : "Mama wants Luisa to learn everything." But Luisa is smart and listens carefully. She has already learned that mama is a bit lonely and nostalgic for her younger days. Luisa plots with Mama's coworkers and plans a surprise party for her. Although the book is slightly precious and it feels like Luisa is carrying a large load, the author keeps the text light enough and suspenseful enough to engage kids and grown-ups and the ending is so happy and full of mother-daughter connection that it inspires kids and adults to remember how good giving can feel.

[Other books featuring single moms are reviewed at Myrtle Jane Chicken, Literary Maven]

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Healthy Toy Site

(From MomsRising)

Dear member,

Sadly, one of the big stories this holiday season has been an epidemic of "toxic toys" -- exposing children to everything from lead to the date rape drug GHB. We've been horrified, not only at what this says about our national priorities, but also as moms we're left asking: "What toys are safe to buy for my own kids??"

That's why we're thrilled to tell you about a new text-for-info service we've just set up. Our friends at HealthyToys.org1 tested over 1250 toys for common chemicals and have made the results searchable online. Because the time you really want to know which toys contain dangerous chemicals is when you're shopping, we've partnered with them to make their database searchable via your mobile phone. Here's how it works:

Text healthytoys [toy name] to 41411

And we'll reply instantly with whether the toy tested "high" "med" or "low" for potentially dangerous toxins. Try it! Text "Healthytoys Elmo flashlight" to 41411. You'll get a reply right back to your phone with the test results for the Elmo flashlight by Sesame Street. Neat, eh? Take it with you shopping and tell your friends!

Then sign this petition to tell Congress, "We demand safe, lead-free toys for children. Congress must strengthen the agencies responsible for protecting kids from toxic products and remove the bureaucrats who are standing in the way." We should be able to buy our kids toys off the shelf without having to wonder whether they're filled with dangerous chemicals.

Glad we're in this together,

-- Kristin, Joan, Katie, Donna, Roz, Mary and the whole Team

[1] is a project of the Ecology Center in partnership with the Washington Toxics Coalition and: California • Center for Environmental Health • Connecticut - Coalition for a Safe and Healthy Connecticut • Maine - Environmental Health Strategy Center • Alliance for a Clean and Healthy Maine • Massachusetts - Alliance for a Healthy Tomorrow • Michigan - Michigan Network for Children's Environmental Health • Minnesota - Healthy Legacy • New York - JustGreen Partnership • Oregon - Oregon Environmental Council • Washington - Toxic-Free Legacy Coalition • National - Center for Health, Environment and Justice

P.S. SMS text wiz? Try a more complex search:

Text "healthytoys [high/med/low] [toy name]" to 41411 -- to limit your search results to only those toys with a high, med, or low toxins rating -- e.g. "healthytoys low slinky" will only return the Slinky that got a "low toxins" test rating by

Text "healthytoys [retailer]" to 41411 -- to search for toys sold by a particular retailer -- e.g. "healthytoys low costco" will return the toys sold at Costco that got a "low toxins" test rating by

Text "healthytoys [search term]" to 41411 -- to search for toys with that term in their name, description, brand, or retailer. In other words, you can search not only for a toy name but also for Costco, or Leap Frog, or bracelet, or fuzzy, or rattle, or Spider-man, or Disney -- and any toys with those words anywhere in their listing will be returned.

Too many results? Try typing the name of the toy just as it is printed on the packaging -- e.g. "healthytoys Disney Royal Shoes Set".

Webkinz & Advertising

From Campaign for Commerical Free Childhood:, the most visited virtual world for children in the United States, has quietly begun targeting its users with outside advertising.

The site is already commercial - in order to subscribe, children must buy a Webkinz toy that comes with a special code. But apparently using the site to sell millions of Webkinz stuffed animals wasn't enough for Ganz (the makers of Webkinz) and now they're selling their young users to advertisers. To make matters worse, Ganz didn't bother to inform parents, many of whom purchase Webkinz toys for their children expecting that the website will be free of outside advertising and links. By opening the site to advertisers, Ganz is choosing to maximize profits at the expense of parents' trust and children's wellbeing.

Tell Webkinz: No More Advertisements

The "Parents Area" of does not mention that the site now includes advertising. Webkinz is currently marketing the film Alvin and the Chipmunks. In addition to banner ads, the site is encouraging young users to actively engage with the movie by purchasing specially designed chipmunk costumes and food for their virtual pets. Bee Movie - a film that partnered with McDonald's, General Mills and Brachs, and has dozens of licensed products - was promoted in a similar way.

As children spend more and more time on the web, they are increasingly targeted by Internet marketing. Webkinz' decision to take outside ads is reminiscent of Neopets, another popular online destination for children which went from being ad-free to including product placement on their site for McDonald's and other brands as well as launching their own line of cereal.

CCFC is launching a media campaign (including a story in today's New York Times) to inform parents about advertising on Webkinz and to convince Ganz to end it. But we need your help.

Please take a moment to tell Ganz: Stop Advertising on Webkinz.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Talking with Children about Social Class

I have been thinking a lot about the ways that class shapes our experiences, how to deal with the consumption-drive of the holiday season, and how it all feels to kids. The growing income gap distorts consumption for us all (see Juliet Schor's book The Overspent American.) We want products that we can't afford, and both adults and children experience relative deprivation when compared to the media-normal.

Joan Arrowsmith, Lillian Polite and Elizabeth Saenger, all faculty members at an independent school in NY, have written an practical and provocative article about helping schools and children address class in an overt way.
The article contains references for children's books and tips for creating equitable spaces at school and in homes.

Middle and High School teachers can find resources for teaching kids about the income and wealth gap at Teaching Economics as if People Mattered -- resources are all free and they partner with United for a Fair Economy. "Ten Chairs" is my favorite.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Google Phone #s

I am not a particularly paranoid person, but this e-mail from Partners in Ending Hunger seems worth sharing..

You may know this already, but just in case you do not:

Google has implemented a new feature which enables you to type a telephone number into the search bar and hit enter and you will be given the person's name and address. If you then hit Map, you will get a map to the person's house. It's a nationwide reverse telephone book.

If a child gives out his/her phone number, someone can now look it up to find out where he/she lives. The safety issues are obvious, and alarming.

Note that you can have your phone number removed or blocked.

In order to test whether your phone number is mapped, go to Google, Type your phone number in the search bar (i.e. 555-555-1212) and hit enter.

If you want to BLOCK Google from divulging your private information, simply click on your telephone number and then click on the Removal Form. Removal takes 48-hours. "

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Curious City Peace Picks

Kirsten Cappy, extraordinary book event consultant and book-chooser recently shared a few selections with me...

by Jeanne Willis and illustrated by Tony Ross is a lovely picture book reminding us all of the virtue of silence.

Out of The Egg
by Tina Matthews is a small gem -- the pictures are all black and white and red and the book is short and familiar. However, the end has a twist -- when it is time for the slighted hen to get retribution, her young chick scolds her: "Mama, that's not nice. . ." and peace among the next generation gets started.

by Marc Tauss is another black and white book, but for older children. The book is illustrated with marvelous black and white photography that balances fantasy and the potential for the story to be reality nicely. The plot is straightforward (and perhaps a bit too didactic), featuring a young African American boy who saves the playgrounds of the big city.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Totally Wired - Boston - December 12th

Totally Wired:

How Technology is Changing Kids and Learning

A PUBLIC FORUM on how digital media is changing how
young people learn and play, featuring:

Henry Jenkins, Professor, MIT, and author of Convergence Culture, will talk about his latest work on media literacy and skills young people need for the 21st Century.

Katie Salen, Professor, Parsons the New School for Design, and game designer, will discuss the new public school based on design and games she is opening in New York City.

Howard Gardner, Professor, Harvard University, and author of Five Minds for the Future, will talk about the ethical implications of growing up online.

December 12, 2007
5:30-7:00 pm

Brattle Theatre
40 Brattle Street
Cambridge, MA 02138

Too Far Away To Touch - a Children's Book

I stumbled upon the book Too Far Away To Touch by by accident by Leslea Newman (The cover of the book looks like a girl in a snowstorm - really they are stars).

The book is a gorgeously illustrated story about negotiating illness and the potential death of a loved one. Zoe loves her Uncle Leonard, with his booming laugh and fun adventures. Leonard is gay and has a partner, Nathan, who sometimes accompanies them on their field trips. Leonard is also sick, a fact that emerges slowly in the story. Ultimately, it turns out that he has AIDS and Zoe worries that he is dying. Throughout the story the phrase, "too far away to touch, but close enough to see" is used, to describe stars and people who we lost and miss." Few books prompt conversations about loss and grieving without being heavy-handed and although I found myself a bit teary, this was a lovely way to have the conversation without fear.

Newman is the author of Heather Has Two Mommies as well as many other books -- and lucky for us Mainers, she teaches in the MFA program at Stonecoast Writers.

Catherine Stock is the illustrator and the pictures are beautiful.