Monday, September 28, 2020

Book Review | How Mamas Love Their Babies

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Rating ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

This book and what it attempts to do are both beautiful. Throughout the pages with simple text and captivating illustrations, we see the many ways that Mamas love their babies. Mamas love their babies by taking care of them physically, and working to support them. It also makes the message loud and clear: Mamas can have jobs that society looks down on (manual labor) or has hissy fits over (sex industry), and those Mamas love their babies just as much as Mamas in more 'normalized' job fields.

There are a few problematic things and I want to address them first. This book is beautifully diverse, but I question the choice to include the white mother and child with the 'We shall overcome' sign. I have taken Eleanor to a women's #BlackLivesMatter protest, but I would never have her holding a sign such as that. We are allies, there to support and uplift our Black and African-American Sisters, not to make it about us.

My other issue that I felt could have been explored is the idea of motherhood itself. The book starts off with describing how some mothers care for their babies inside their own bodies...and never comes back around to mothers who become mothers in other ways. Or who have children and are physically female, but do not identify as she/her. And honestly, that may have gone way over the heads of the age-range for this one, but everything else was made simple, and this could have been too.

Now, onto all the other reasons this one is still five stars even with my issues listed above.

Mamas do whatever they have to in order to make sure their babies survive and thrive. This book is a celebration of all kinds of jobs that mothers do in order to make that happen. Not only are a variety of jobs depicted, but so are a variety of women. Mothers of all races, ages, and body types are found within these pages and I think that is truly amazing. There are young mamas, obese mamas, and YES, breastfeeding mamas. As a mama who could not breastfeed for long no matter how hard she tried, I love this inclusion and I am pretty much fed up with all y'all who think women need to cover up in public. Boobs are not for you, they are for nourishing babies, so stop staring like a moron. And if you don't like seeing them, don't look. Not too difficult.

All families deserve to feel validated and I have said time and time again that representation matters. Kids need to see themselves reflected back in the books they read. Can you imagine how far this would go in making families feel valued, especially those families where mama works a job or two that is not considered 'normal'? And I am not just talking about the mama who is a sex worker. I am talking about the mamas who work in fields all day, the mamas who clean homes and office buildings, poor mamas just trying to make ends meet, mamas who work just as hard as any other mama to provide for her children. We see mamas who stay home, mamas who are pilots, artists, office workers, and so much more.

I do want to specifically address the sex worker mama depicted here. She is included in the pages where it talks about the kind of uniforms that mamas can wear while working, and how some mamas 'wear special shoes'. Mamas deserve to be celebrated for being mamas, for working hard to provide for their families. I absolutely want this book in my school library, because even if the children do not know what their mama does for a living, imagine how she would feel seeing herself reflected in a book that her child has brought home from school? Sex worker mamas are mamas and if you have a problem with that, well, you are the problem.

The illustrations did take some getting used to for me, mainly because I think the 70s were weird and awkward so that vibe was not my most favorite. However, after reading through it a few times, I liked how it all flowed together. They are real photographs depicting mamas and their children, along with the effect of crayons over some of the photos.

This is a wonderful book and deserves a place in every library - whether public, school, or home. Kids need to see themselves in the stories they read and we need to include all families in those depictions as well.

Highly recommended.


  1. Replies
    1. Out public library had it! I was very shocked, but our library systems is also secretly pretty progressive I think, give the abundance of materials centered on #BlackLivesMatter alone. Omaha is a purple spot in a sea of GOP red, and the reason that one of our electoral votes for the state went to Obama.

      The author is from Omaha, so that also has to do with it. Her name is Juniper Fitzgerald and she is amazing.

      Not So Fun Fact: I don't know if you have seen this but I know the story went national about how a young Black man named James Scurlock was murdered by a white bar owner downtown during one of the many #BlackLivesMatter protests after George Floyd's murder. The bar owner is a well-know racist and white supremist, and a huge trump supporter (imagine that...) and on the day he was supposed to turn himself in, he reportedly killed himself in Oregon. ANYWAY, Fitzgerald is a cousin of Jake Gardner. She was one of the first people coming out on Twitter to call out Jake's (well-known-in-Omaha) racism.

  2. what a fabulous review. thanks so much for sharing
    sherry @ fundinmental

  3. What a valuable service this book performs in reflecting the various ways that one can mother and the things that mothers do to ensure children are loved and cared for. Excellent review!

    1. Thank you, Dorothy! I hope that all of the Mamas who really need this book have the chance to find it. I wish I could buy a copy for every school library in the city.

  4. This review was amazing! All mothers love their children but some aren't classified as "mums" because we have different skin tones, political views or we're just different from the normal "white woman". This is disgusting. Everyone is human no matter what.

    1. Thank you! I am so in love with this book and I hope the Mamas who truly need to see, get the chance to. Mamas are Mamas, no matter their size, shape, color, job, political leanings, etc. All Mamas need to be valued.

    2. If you get a chance to read this one, let me know! I hope you love it too.


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