Friday, September 27, 2013

In Our Mothers' House - Patricia Polacco

Marmee, Meema, and the kids are just like any other family on the block. In their beautiful house, they cook dinner together, they laugh together, and they dance together. But some of the other families don’t accept them. They say they are different. How can a family have two moms and no dad? But Marmee and Meema’s house is full of love. And they teach their children that different doesn’t mean wrong. And no matter how many moms or dads they have, they are everything a family is meant to be.
Cover photo and summary from author's website,

*Book restricted last year in a Utah school district, read article here

My Review: Patricia Polacco fully captures the love felt in one nontraditional family as the eldest daughter recounts her joyous adventures of growing up in a household consisting of two mothers and two ethnically diverse adopted siblings. The story begins with the narrator’s arrival into her new home and continues to the end of her mothers’ lives; radiating love, laughter, and acceptance throughout. This tale also manages to capture the confusion felt by the children as one neighbor repeatedly snubs the family, a situation tactfully handled by the explanation that some fear what they cannot understand.

The multiculturalism doesn’t end with the unique family dynamic as the Italian grandfather cooks an authentic dinner and the culturally diverse neighbors bring native dishes to a block party. These authentic dishes and names provide additional dimension to the tale but may require a brush up on pronunciation before reading aloud. The mixture of the unfamiliar with the familiar, including a bout of the flu and the building of a tree house, makes the story relatable to most. 

Bright, cheerful watercolor illustrations portray happiness, while the slightly blurry edges depict the recollection taking place within the text. The illustrations are rich in detail communicating the chaos of family life and keeping young eyes busy. All the pictures depict many different cultures yet the universal language of love is communicated through a smile on each and every page. 

The book jacket explains that Patricia Polacco has met many children from households such as the one described in this book and discovered a need to “celebrate these children’s wonderful, yet untraditional, families”. With its realistic tone, In Our Mothers’ House accomplishes this and yet goes further to relay the importance acceptance.

My Rating: 5 Stars

To Sum it up: A highly recommended heartwarming title that aids children in the understanding of cultural differences.

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