In a few weeks, Little Liam Reid will be turning three. No, he doesn't want a Leapster or even a Thomas the Tank Engine train table for his birthday.
Everyone knows that if you want to give a book instant notoriety, all you need do is ban it. Still, that hasn't stopped the Utah school district from pulling a children's book about lesbian parents from its library shelves.
In order to get their hands on a copy of “In Our Mother’s House” by Patricia Polacco, kids in the Davis School District, north of Salt Lake City, will need a signed permission slip from their parents.
The premise, according to the author's website: "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. In Our Mothers’ House is the perfect book to teach the wonders of love and the importance of family."
Unless you're in Utah, that is, where love clearly comes in a very different form. Polacco, who has penned over 50 children's books, got the idea for "In Our Mothers' House" after an incident in a class where students were reading essays they'd written about their families. One little girl was apparently told to stop reading and sit down because she wasn't "from a real family."
As you can imagine, said little girl then approached Polacco in tears, asking if the author would write about families like the one she'd described. Even though the book was published in 2009 and found its way into five of the district's 50 elementary schools in June 2010, no one objected until recently.
One dissenting mom then prompted the committee to make the book "accessible only to older children, in grades 3 through 6," even though the book's intended audience was children in grades 1-4.
Dissenting mom still wasn't happy. She came back with a petition, signed by some 25 parents. The beef: state law says schools can't have anything advocating homosexuality in its curriculum, or with sexuality in its title. For now, the book seems destined to stay hidden behind the library counter.
Already the book has been banned in other districts, including Texas. All this, despite the fact that, according to the 2000 U.S. Census, 250,000 children were being raised in same-sex households. In 2008, more than 3,800 same-sex couples lived in Utah, 30 per cent of whom are raising children.
Clearly, not everyone agrees with same-sex households. But they exist nonetheless. Don't children have the right to learn about different dynamics, including their own, very real families?
Health Canada and the CPSC have jointly recalled various crib tents and play yard tents made by Tots in Mind, Inc. due to risk of strangulation and entrapment should the dome invert into the crib or play yard.