Harvard Educational Review
  1. How Would You Feel If Your Dad Was Gay?

    By Ann Heron and Meredith Maran; illustrated by Kris Kovick.

    Boston: Alyson, 1991. 47 pp. $6.95 (paper)

    "How would you feel if your dad was gay?" is the pivotal question in this children's book by Ann Heron and Meredith Maran. Jasmine, a third grader, shares with her class that she has three fathers: her divorced parents have each found male partners, yielding Jasmine's trio of dads. This immediately creates problems in school for Jasmine and her brother, Michael, as they face the taunts of other children and are not supported by passive teachers who don't intervene on their behalf.

    Jasmine and Michael return home to discuss the issue, albeit grudgingly, with their father and his partner. Both men are understanding and supportive of Jasmine's need to share her family situation with her classmates and Michael's wish for secrecy. "If you don't want the kids at school to know your dad and I are gay, you should be able to keep that to yourself" (p. 16), says their father's partner. However, they do take up the issue with the school principal, who arranges to have a "doctor" visit the school and present to the students and faculty a slide show on different kinds of families. The doctor's objective is that the children understand that all the variations on the family are normal. The principal, Mr. Kay, wraps up the assembly with a stern, "It is not acceptable for any child in this school to call anyone names or treat anyone with disrespect" (p. 39).

    Woven into the story is a subplot in which a boy named Noah wrestles with the idea of sharing with Michael the fact that his mother is a lesbian. He never does. Appropriate as a book to read alone or to read aloud for elementary school children, How Would You Feel If Your Dad Was Gay? would be useful for any classroom teacher or parent interested in teaching children about prejudice and different kinds of families. Kris Kovick's black-and-white drawings complement the story and present for the reader a cast of mostly African American characters. Ann Heron and Meredith Maran present a story for children that is forthright and sincere.

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    Book Notes

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