In Our Mothers’ House

Written & Illustrated by: Patricia Polacco

For ages: 6-10 years

Language: English

Topics Covered: LGBT Family, Acceptance, Community, Love.

Summary: This story details the family life of Marmee, Meema, and their three children. They happen to be the only family with two mothers on the block, but that’s hardly noticeable to their children.  The two women adopted three children from three different places, and the book details all the ways they create a close-knit community and family.  They sew their own family halloween costumes, put on neighborhood events, and take care of the kids while they’re all sick.  There is one family that doesn’t like them, but the kids can’t put their finger on why.  The reader knows it’s because they’re an LGBT family, but very little attention is paid to the hate.  The house the family lives in is at the center of their lives, even when the kids grow up and move away.  One of the kids lives in it after their mothers pass away.  The strength of love and family runs through this book, keen to highlight the ways in which these women care for their children and support them throughout their lives.

This book is warm, inviting, and portrays a family that values each other and their community above all else.  It focuses on the good, rather than the potential hatred LGBT families can receive from others.  The family is diverse in race, temperament, and careers but that does not stop them from embracing each other and working as a team to put on numerous community events and activities.  A beautiful portrayal of a family!

Reflection Questions:

  • What is special about your family?
  • Why do you think that some people don’t like other families that don’t look like theirs?
  • Would you like to live in the same neighborhood as this family?

Continuing the Conversation:

  • Have your own version of one of the events that the family puts on in the book.  Who will you invite?  What do you think will be difficult about planning a large event for your community?
  • Learn about different family structures.  At the base of them all, is love.  Families come in all shapes a sizes, even within your own classroom!

About the Author & the Illustrator:

polaccoPatricia Polacco was born on July 11th, 1944 in Lansing, Michigan. Her mother’s family were Jewish immigrants from Russia and The Ukraine. Her father’s people were from The County of Limerick in Ireland. Both cultures valued and kept their history alive by storytelling.

Patricia is the mother of two grown children; Steven, a tenured professor at Dominican University in San Rafael, California. And a daughter, Traci who has made a career in the medical field and also lives in California. Patricia lives on her farm estate in Union City, Michigan.

Patricia has earned a Bachelors, Masters, and Ph.D. in Art and Art History. She has studied in the U.S., England, France, Russia and Australia. She is a guest lecturer in many universities and has been awarded numerous honorary degrees in Arts and Letters. She has a distinguished record as an international advocate for the rights of children. She has also established literary and art courses of study for young people both nationally and internationally. She has traveled extensively to Russia and has established an art camp in Losovough which thrives today. She has been honored by heads of state both at the Kremlin and the White House.

She is a member of the National First Amendment Rights Coalition and has fought tirelessly for this cause. She is also known as a champion of classroom teachers in our country, a cause sharpened by her association with Sandy Hook School in Newtown, Connecticut as a guest author and artist in residence. The tragic loss of both members of the faculty as well as children on December 14th, 2012 affected her life profoundly. The shock of this event caused her to collapse, be hospitalized and undergo open heart surgery to save her life. The grief of this set her on a path of establishing a series of lectures designed to raise the awareness of the plight of our classroom teachers as well as encouraging students to reach out to each other and include those who are perceived to be “different”. She has also designed an anti bullying campaign that has earned her national recognition. Patricia conducts school visits all over the country. She is known as a natural storyteller and is highly praised for her work with people of all ages.

To date she has written and illustrated over 115 books for children,. She is also a playwright and is in the process of penning for adults. She is a much sought after lecturer and keynote speaker and is considered one of the most inspiring speakers of our time

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