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How Mamas Love Their Babies
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How Mamas Love Their Babies

4.06  ·  Rating details ·  182 ratings  ·  58 reviews
Illustrating different ways that mothers provide for their children—including dancing at a strip club—this children’s book is the first to depict a sex-worker parent. By introducing and normalizing the idea of bodily labor, it provides an expanded notion of working mothers overall, and challenges the idea that only some types of work result in good or appropriate ...more
Hardcover, 36 pages
Published February 13th 2018 by The Feminist Press at CUNY
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Average rating 4.06  · 
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 ·  182 ratings  ·  58 reviews

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While I appreciate the intention here, the execution is clumsy.
It starts out well with "Babies love mamas...and mamas love babies" against two picture collages of mothers and their young children. It goes on to explain how mamas love their babies and a few pages in, it says "Some mamas care for their babies inside their own bodies" and then begins to explain how mothers, many pictured doing things with their kids who have had protest signs drawn into their hands, do many other things for their
Mar 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-book
Hoo boy, rev up those intellectual freedom defense engines, friends! This baby's going to get challenges.
Apr 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
I read the reviews before buying this book and I will say I contemplated not getting it because I know that the line “Some mamas dance all night long in special shoes. It’s hard work.” was going to get me a lot of grief. I am glad I didn't let my lesser self talk me out of the purchase. Honestly, the book is lovely and gentle and uplifting. I'm glad I added it to the library. And, yes, I still expect to have some tough conversations about this book and I'm prepared to say that maybe this book ...more
This book is fully feminist. Not even thinly veiled. Just straight up teaching kids about how hard women of all races and ethnicities work, in various ways, both at home and at jobs, to care for their kids, because of how much they love them. The book depicts protest signs and mentions of sex workers/ strippers, as well as a photo of breast feeding. I think it's a great way to teach your kids early to respect and value the bodies and contributions of ALL women, but your appreciation may differ ...more
Feb 11, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: picture-books
I love the combination of old photos with crayon coloring, though some of the images are a little difficult to make out. This shows a great diversity of mamas, though Fitzgerald has one line about "some mamas care for their babies inside their own bodies" but no corresponding "other mamas care for their babies grown in someone else's body," which seems like a missed opportunity to show a less traditional example of mama-hood.
Mar 27, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: picture-books, dewey
I wanted to like this book. I like what it stands for, but the execution wasn't there for me. It didn't really flow, and the art was weird.
Oct 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The bookstore displayed this book with the sign "Quietly, the most revolutionary book in the entire store," which is such a lovely description. I bought it impulsively after flipping through it briefly. The collage work is delightful (toddler love pictures of other babies, almost as much as pictures of themselves). There is a repetition and rhythm to the writing that makes it good for reading out loud, even without rhyming, and 'mama' and 'baby' are definitely words very small children like. The ...more
Scott Moore
Apr 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Confession: I teared up a little while reading this.
Jul 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
Until a better executed book comes out that deals with an even more inclusive range of mamas' roles, this is valuable enough to get four stars. This isn't just about the (exotic) dancer; it's also about that dangerously obese woman, and that very young woman, and that breast-feeding woman. And it should be about adoptive mamas (I did look, there are some images that are ambiguous, but text is important when using this art technique) and some dads too, imo.
Mar 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: children-s-books
I love the pictures in this book. It reminded me of a book I had as a child called Black is Beautiful

I also love the social issues in this book (it even gave a shout out to mamas who might sex workers but it didn't name them as sex workers).

Devon Ashby
Jan 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I've truly been leveled by The Discourse, I guess, because I found myself reading this illustrated children's book and becoming totally immersed in an elaborate and emotionally fraught calculus of trying to determine whether the book was leftist-feminist enough.

Sure, the book celebrates mothers who are undocumented and/or work low wage jobs, but is the book also anti-imperialist? Should that white mom and her kid really be holding up a protest sign that says "We shall overcome"?

The answer to
Apr 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
Collages with pictures and colors (pink and orange!) from the 60s illustrate that mamas (of all races) love their babies in all kinds of ways, whether they work at home, or wear a uniform, or "dance". This is the 1st book I can recall that celebrates blue-collar and poor mothers, and the work they do to love and support their babies. Some parents may object to strippers being in a picture book, but everybody deserves to see that their mother loves them, no matter what their job is.
Feb 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I found this book to be more powerful and emotional than I expected. It is a simple picture book about the different ways Mamas love their babies. It shows how love is present in the lives of mothers in all walks of life. Love is not limited by class, color or occupation.
Tibby (she/her)
I already hear the arguments about not having this book on the kids shelves in libraries. And they’re all nonsense. Parents who work to provide for their kids deserve to be celebrated no matter how they do that. If you’re uncomfortable reading about a mother who dances to put food on the table and care for their children, you should look long and hard at your biases.

I loved the book because it celebrates mothers who work and mothers who stay home, and the myriad things mothers do to care for
Mar 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I enjoyed the graphics in this book and really appreciated that they included mothers who dance aka strip to take care of their kids. Mom's who have unconventional jobs need love too and work just as hard as us sitting behind computers all day. Well done.
Mar 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
A mother's love is celebrated in this picture book that doesn't shy away from incorporating controversial but realistic portrayals of what they do to take care of their kids.
Jinya Situ
May 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I like this book because this teach children no matter where you are from ,what kind of color skin you have ,we have the same love for our mother. When children heard this book m,they may say I love my mother because she always take care for me .when I read this book for young children I will ask them question like this ,do you like your mommy?
I am unsure what the intended audience is for this book.
The art is beautiful. I love the combination of collage and crayon.

The text is about all different kinds of moms with different jobs, including sex work. The first time sex work comes up, I was a little surprised but thought it was pretty cool that this was being addressed in an matter of fact but still age appropriate manner. Then it was mentioned a couple more times. Four pages focus on mamas who dance, so it felt like the rest of the book existed solely to bring up mamas who dance, and I was
I like the idea of this book. I love the different depictions of mothers, children, care, and love. Indeed I think this is a daring book for depicting breastfeeding moms and stripper moms. In my estimation, however, I think the execution and mechanics of the art take away from the importance and "story" of the book. The art/illustrations work too hard to be clever and distract rather than enhance. Nor will this book speak to the parents and children I see on a daily basis. I can see grandparents ...more
Jun 06, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2018, picture-books
The writing's uneven. The art choice is odd (70's picture collage?) But it includes representation that I've never seen in children's lit before so it's a start.
Jul 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
Love the premise, love the art, love everything about this.
Apr 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books
This picture book talks about how different mothers love their children. The text is simple and straightforward but the examples are what makes this book stand out. Mothers use their bodies to care, like breastfeeding their babies. Mothers protest for better worlds for their babies. Some mothers stay home with their children while others work. Some mothers clean houses, others watch other people’s children, others work in government, others work in the fields. Some mothers wear uniforms and some ...more
Mar 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books
This beautiful picture book celebrates Mamas and how we use our bodies to support our children. Creative and beautifully rendered collage adorn making each page a stand alone work of art. The story pulls in every kind of child and working Mama because Mamas work both inside and out side of the home. The inclusive text credits Mamas from all walks of life who use their bodies to support their children in blue collar and professional occupations. Mamas can find themselves here and so may their ...more
May 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This was a really interesting book. I LOVE that it is pro-breastfeeding and that it strives to show that while mom's may be different outwardly, they are still moms, and everyone diserves respect.

(view spoiler)
WONDERFUL book put out by Feminist Press utilizing zine-like collage of archival photographs and illustrations. With simple text and vivid scenes, this book talks about the different ways mama's and parents at large provide for their families; from cleaning, doing more office like work, to dancing (shows "special dance shoes" that normalized sex work), to protesting in the streets and doing simple emotional labor/caring things for yung'ins. This book was a hit at one of my children's story times ...more
Jessica Brown
Mar 27, 2018 rated it liked it
I wanted to like this more, but I don't really know how to feel about the "We shall overcome" being held by a white, blond-haired child, and how that even fits in to what's being said on that page? Or the depiction of a mom about to fly a military jet...I do like the inclusion of sex workers as moms that care just as much about their babies as any other mom, but this feels like the old Taylor-Swift-brand of white feminism that tries to be ~edgy~ and tries to dodge that by adding in some pictures ...more
Feb 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I LOVE this book! A gift from a queer librarian to my son, this book is now one of my fave books. The vintage photo collage art is so lovely, relatively diverse (I always wish there was more disability representation), and fun. The are a few that I wish I had hanging in my house! The story respectfully highlights ALL kinds of mama's (blue and white collar, strippers, nontraditional careers, stay home, etc.) in such a casual way, with the repetition of love. I love this book so much and it will ...more
Aug 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
4.5 stars -- I'm not a mama, (well, maybe a fur-mama) and I'm not particularly partial to babies (unless they're fur-babies), but I adored the 1970s photo collage illustrations in this book, and I was unaccountably happy to see the representation of working class people in its pages. (Including mothers who do work that society might rather not think about, or even shame their children about.)

Women who do work such as cleaning houses and dancing at clubs are given just as much respect as those
Apr 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is a wonderful book about how all mommas, working or stay at home, do what they do to take care of their babies.
The illustrations were collage style, with a 70s vibe, which was cool. I also appreciated the normalization of strippers. As my wonderful co-worker put it, it's good for all kids to see themselves in picture books, and some kids' parents are strippers, and that's okay.

5 groovy stars.
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