[Lit Crit] What Makes A Baby

This is the first of what will be a regular-ish feature of queer book reviews. This one is a book written for kids from a queer (well, sort of; you’ll understand in a bit) perspective, and there are a handful of those I’m going to review. Hopefully, I will also look at books for adults from a queer parenting perspective. It seems like a lot of parenting books, even those written for an LGBT audience, buoy a binary that just doesn’t apply to some families. I’m going to be looking at them, however, and trying to find awesome ones (and not so awesome ones) for the benefit of all of us! If you have suggestions, please leave comments, or contact us through one of the methods on our About page.

What Makes A Baby was my first Kickstarter. Though Kickstarter launched in 2009, up until recently I was definitely too poor to throw my money at amazing projects. So What Makes A Baby is kind of special in my heart, because, d’aww, your first Kickstarter. Kind of like your first social network site, but without the tragic aftertaste of Myspace. Or Livejournal.

It is ALSO special because it’s flawless.

Jetpack Helped with the Photos

Jetpack Helped with the Photos

It’s really pretty.
silverberg dance
It’s well written
silverberg firstpage
And my 3-year-old loves it.

Honestly I was planning on reserving it in a closet until he was a little older. But it came in the mail, and I opened it, and I couldn’t stop myself from reading it once. And Jetpack LOVES it. I don’t mind, because it’s actually pretty appropriate, despite him being a year younger than the target age.

What Makes A Baby hits my queer buttons, too. It completely avoids gender pronouns in a way that is fluid and composed. It avoids quantity of parents, too. The overall arc is that “a sperm and and egg meet in a uterus and make a baby, and then that baby comes out of the uterus, and then you’re here! You’re pretty special.” So it’s appropriate for single parent families, triple parent families, families of all sorts of genders, and even heterosexual, monogamous families. The thing about What Makes A Baby is that it’s flexibly oriented and full of gaps—gaps that the family and the child can fill in, in order to understand and elevate their own family unit.
silverberg hipster
The hipster on the right is Jetpack’s favorite drawing in the whole book. He loves him. This may be indicative of the adults in his life. Maybe.
silverberg last page
This is the last page, and I love it so.

I cannot more highly recommend What Makes A Baby. Here’s a link to the website, where you can still purchase it (I think). It’s being picked up by a larger publisher and re-issued in May, so if they at some point sell out, sit tight and you’ll be happy soon enough! And (I’m personally more excited about this) the absolutely fabulous author Cory Silverberg and illustrator Fiona Smyth plan on writing a second book geared towards older kids (7-11), with a lot more specifics. Personally, I’m going to be first in line to buy one. Fingers crossed that it’s out in less than three years, because my kid is growing fast!

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3 thoughts on “[Lit Crit] What Makes A Baby

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