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In Our Mothers' House

4.30  ·  Rating details ·  1,255 ratings  ·  314 reviews
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 ...more
Hardcover, 48 pages
Published April 28th 2009 by Philomel Books
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Average rating 4.30  · 
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 ·  1,255 ratings  ·  314 reviews

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Lisa  (not getting friends updates) Vegan
Dec 19, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: children in families with 2 mothers or 2 fathers, inter-racial families, adoptive families
In the back of the book in the author biography section (where I finally see a photo of her) it reveals that Polacco wrote this book specifically for children she met during her speaking engagements at schools, children from untraditional families, because she saw the need for a book such as this. I concur, and I think she did a remarkable job with it. The fictional family she writes about here are residents of Berkeley, California. I’m sure there are plenty of books with this subject matter but ...more
May 07, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Such a wonderful, beautiful book! I am generally a huge fan of Polacco's work and I think this is one of my very favorites.

First and foremost, this is a story about family love. It is utterly heartwarming. Oh, how I longed to visit the family--sit by that special fireplace, play with the new puppies, enjoy some of grandpa's gnocchi, laugh during that Christmas celebration. It's about supporting one another, children learning from their parents, and parents growing as a result of having children
Krista the Krazy Kataloguer
The first thing I noticed about this book was that the people are so happy in it-- they're smiling on almost every page. The story is about a lesbian couple who are raising three children (one white, one black, and one Asian), and their positive impact on the children and on their community. A lovely, lovely story, though not without the presence of a neighbor who dislikes them and causes a few uncertain moments. My favorite picture is toward the end, where the 2 women are sitting together in a ...more
Randie D. Camp, M.S.
*Updated review.

In Our Mothers’ House

Polacco, P. (2009). In our mothers’ house. New York, NY: Philomel Books.

Genre: Children’s Picture Storybook

Polacco stepped aside from her usual books based on personal experiences and heritage to write a book for children and families that she has met in schools, at speaking engagements, etc. In Our Mothers’ House is the story of three adopted children and the love and devotion they received from their two mothers in their mothers' house. Polacco’s story hig
Jun 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
I recently read 2 Patricia Polacco books in a row that didn't make me cry, so I became overconfident and read this to my daughters in a bold, animated voice. By the time Ms. Polacco's precious illustrations depicted the aging moms and the confident, once-adopted children all grown up and in their own adult homes, I was one hot mess.

I cried all over the final pages, which made my youngest daughter chuckle with laughter and my middle child well up with tears. (Everybody's different, which is, iron
Feb 10, 2020 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Those Seeking Children's Stories About LGBT and/or Interracial Families
Recommended to Abigail by: Lisa (not getting friends updates) Vegan
With three children, two mothers, and two cats, Marmee and Meema's house was always filled with joy and laughter. Holiday visits from the children's gnocchi-making Nonna, homemade costumes and family trick-or-treating at Halloween, and exciting block parties with their diverse neighbors, filled their days with fun. Most of all, the care and attention of two very different mothers filled the children's lives with love.

In Our Mothers' House is a lovely book, written, according to the little biogra
Jan 18, 2015 rated it did not like it
Shelves: children-s
In our attempt to find children’s literature featuring lesbian representation, Zsuzsi and I picked up In Our Mothers’ House, the story of an interracial, adoptive family headed by a lesbian couple. Both from a literary and political analysis, the picture book proved a disappointing read.

Storywise, author Patricia Polacco’s book was slow and dull. There was no plot, and it felt like a string of dull, domestic events to show that lesbians are, in fact, people. In this tiresome narration of everyth
May 31, 2012 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: parents reading with their children
This is a wonderful story of a loving family. They cook together, dance together, laugh together and live life with joy. Their family fills the house with love that extends for many generations.


Like Kathryn, I wish that was all I had to say about this story. But the simple fact remains that this is a tale of two women who live together as a married couple and choose to adopt three children of different ethnic and racial backgrounds. That this story doesn't make a big deal of these 'fact
N_Allie l
Oct 22, 2010 rated it really liked it
At first glance of this book, you might not notice anything different. Take a closer look and you will see In Our Mother's House is about a family with two mothers raising three young adopted children. Written and illustrated by Patricia Polacco, this realistic story takes you through a modern families journey. From raising adopted infants to marrying off all three of their children, this incredibly realistic story can pull at your heart strings.

The two main characters, lovingly known as Marmee
Jul 03, 2014 rated it it was ok
This book, published in 2009, has two morals:

1) Same-sex couples can be loving and fun-loving

2) Opponents of same-sex couples are fearful, cold-hearted bigots

It was published in 2009. In 2014, that message is almost preachy. It represents the liberal conventional wisdom. In fact, considering all of gay marriage's recent court victories, it almost represents the conventional wisdom period! The opponents of gay marriage are losing badly.

The message was so overly simplistic that I was reminded of t
Mary Ann
Aug 26, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Marmee and Meema and their three children fill their lives with the of joy of new puppies, holiday meals and homemade Halloween costumes. They cook together, laugh together, dance together. Their lives are like any other family in their town. And while one of their neighbors doesn't accept them because they are different, Marmee and Meema handle it with gentleness and grace, focusing instead on the support they feel from the rest of their neighborhood.

Patricia Polacco has created a portrait of a
This was great and I loved it! I read one of Polacco's books before and I didn't like it, but this book!!! It was amazing and I really appreciated her capturing the diversity of the family not just in the parents, but also in the children. It was amazing to read and I'm not going to lie I definitely got a little teary eyed towards the end. ...more
Patricia Polacco has many wonderful books to her credit, this one is no exception. This is a lovely book showing a family with same sex parents who adopt three children, the oldest child has dark skin, the second child is of Asian descent and the third baby is a red head.

The oldest child narrates as she recalls what it was like growing up within the love and comfort of her family's home. She describes the differences in her mothers' parenting styles and personalities. She remembers the way their
Maddy Gebhardt
Mar 22, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: controversial
"In Our Mothers' House" Patricia Polacco tells the story of a seemingly normal, loving family. This family, however, is different in the way that there are two mother figures instead of a mother and a father. The two mom characters are called Marmee and Meema. While other families may not accept a family consisting of two moms’, this particular family operates like any other family would. The moms’ in the story live their lives according to their own rules and values and teach their children tha ...more
In Our Mothers' House by Patricia Polacco is the story of a loving family with three adopted children that is headed by two women. The tale is narrated by the oldest child, and follows the family over many years.

Polacco's illustrations were created in pencils and markers. Body language and facial expressions are well rendered. I loved the dog and cat illustrations. My favorite images are kitchen cooking, dancing, puppies, making gnocchi, on the stairs, food court, weddings, and last 2 images.

Jul 26, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This story is absolutely heart warming. It deals with two qualities of unconventional families. Same-sex parents and adoption. There could not be more love in this family. I believe this story is a creation of Polacco's reaction to hearing a 4th grader begin to talk about her family to her class. She was told to sit down because her family wasn't a real family. I am so glad Polacco took on the responsibility to tell the world that these ARE real families with real love and real issues. I am so g ...more
Summary: One of my new favorite books about how love makes a family strong, no matter who the members of a family are. A young black girl narrates about her two caucasian mothers and how they adopted her, her asian brother, and her red-haired baby sister. The story is about how Marmee and Meema will do anything to make their children happy and even gain the love of the entire neighborhood, with the exception of one prejudiced neighbor who doesn't approve of their relationship. The book includes ...more
Molly Clemens
Nov 05, 2017 rated it liked it
In Our Mother’s House by Patricia Polacco portrays a controversial theme because many families do not accept them due to two females raising a family. Most people would not find such a lifestyle normal; however, the author portrays the overall theme of acceptance.
This family knows they are different but they have accepted their differences and now live a wonderful life. After this family overcame all the discouragement and hate they made their home full of love. Marmee and Meema have taught t
NS - Cami Houston
Oct 09, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
This book brought a tear to my eye. Controversial, tender, and sensitive, you get a true feeling how the adopted children of two lesbian women must have felt growing up in a house with so much love. The children were Black, White, and Asian, and their mothers were White women. They were full of affection for the children. They were supportive and loving, and although the text was very strong of itself, the picures were magnetizing. This book did not win the Caldecott Award and I am wondering why ...more
Cole Hoffman
Oct 22, 2014 rated it it was amazing
In Our Mothers' House is a story about three adopted kids growing up in a household where they had two mothers. Page by page different heartwarming memories from the eldest child's point of view are shared and you receive a sense of how much all the children were loved. There is a scene where all three children get sick at the same time, so their mothers buy them two puppies to make them feel better.
This is a endearing book that will have you grinning ear to ear while reading it. It is extremel
Fumi Agboola
Apr 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: elm-335
REALISTIC FICTION: This book was resticted in a Utah School District because the book is about a Lesbian family. ( The book starts out explaining how Marmee and Meema adopted their oldest child, an African-American girl. It illustrates how they fill their home with love and care for their children. I would love to use this book in my classroom because it shows that no matter what your family looks like, your home can be filled with love. This would be a ...more
I know this is a slightly older title, so maybe the things that disappointed me can be cut some slack -

1) Having just one person in the town represent all homophobic people - and then the anger she feels toward the family is just blown off. Maybe just a little bit of explanation?

2) All three adopted kids (of various races, which I did like) end up happily married to someone who looks a lot like them. In a family and community as blended as this one seems, that feels unlikely and oddly stifling.
Jul 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is a great book for teaching about different family structures! This story incorporates adoption, same-sex marriage, and different races all into one family, and it is an incredible story! There are moments where the family is discriminated against because they are not a "normal" family, but in these moments their community comes together to support and accept them. I think this is a great book to use in both lower and elementary classes because it teaches about acceptance, community, famil ...more
Denise Choate
Dec 16, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Fiction: Patricia Polacco's In Our Mother's House 2009 Is a story of 3 adopted children being raised by two mom's. A very well written story!! I thought this book was not only well written and illustrated as all Patricia Polacco books are, but it really portrays some of the mean spiritedness children with two mothers have to go through as children. I thought this book was not only good for children of two moms to read, but of children of all parental bases.

Emily Cseh
I really like this book because it is not overly direct in the message it is trying to get across to the readers. That message being explaining and normalizing gay parent homes. The book doesn't go overboard in description of what is happening. Instead, it tells a story of two lesbian women raising a family. I would recommend it to teachers of lower elementary who want to familiarize their students with diverse family structures. ...more
Emma Bleakman
This is a good book for older elementary kids as there are aspects of adoption and same sex marriage. Sometimes people don't accept them as a family but inside there family there is lots of love. It shows kids that families are sometimes not the same as our own but as long as there is love, then it can still be a family. ...more
May 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing
So beautiful, and it covers so many topics—adoption, gay parents, grandparents, racial diversity, how to handle people who treat you badly. It's a little long and wordy for small children, but for kids who relate, it would probably be fantastic. ...more
Renee Doucette
Jul 20, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2015-reading
This was an intimate look at a nontraditional family. Polacco addressed the unjust and hateful attitudes that some have toward homosexual parents, but the author focused on the love that can exist within a family no matter the makeup.
Hannah Groeschen
Oct 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
I thought this was a fantastic book! It does a great job describing what it's like growing up with two mothers, what it's like to be adopted, and what it's like having adopted siblings. The illustrations were great too! ...more
Jun 08, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
*sniffle* Patricia Polacco is an expert at writing picture books that make me cry!
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Patricia Polacco is a New York Times bestselling author and illustrator with around seventy beloved and award-winning books to her credit, including The Keeping Quilt, Pink and Say, The Blessing Cup, Chicken Sunday, and Thank You, Mr. Falker. She resides in Michigan.

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