Cover image for Molly's family
Molly's family
Garden, Nancy.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Farrar Straus Giroux, [2004]

Physical Description:
1 volume (unpaged) : color illustrations ; 25 cm
When Molly draws a picture of her family for Open School Night, one of her classmates makes her feel bad because he says she cannot have a mommy and a mama.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR LG 2.4 0.5 78575.
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
HQ75.53 G37 2004 Juvenile Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks
HQ75.53 G37 2004 Juvenile Non-Fiction Open Shelf
HQ75.53 G37 2004 Juvenile Non-Fiction Open Shelf

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What makes a family?The members of Ms. Marston's kindergarten class are cleaning and decorating their room for the upcoming Open School Night. Molly and Tommy work on drawing pictures to put on the walls. Molly draws her family: Mommy, Mama Lu, and her puppy, Sam. But when Tommy looks at her picture, he tells her it's not of a family. You can't have a mommy and a mama, he says. Molly doesn't know what to think; no one else in her class has two mothers. She isn't sure she wants her picture to be on the wall for Open School Night. Molly's dilemma, sensitively explored in words and art, shows readers that even if a family is different from others, it can still be happy, loving, and real,

Author Notes

Nancy Garden was born in Boston, Massachusetts on May 15, 1938. She attended Columbia University School of Dramatic Arts, which lead to work in community theater and four seasons of professional summer stock. She received a master's degree in speech from Columbia Teachers College. She taught for a while and then became an editor.

Her first two books, What Happened in Marston and a nonfiction book entitled Berlin: City Split in Two, were published in 1971. Her other works include Molly's Family, Endgame, and Annie on My Mind. She received numerous awards including the Margaret A. Edwards Award for lifetime achievement in writing books for young adults in 2003, the Katahdin Award for Lifetime Achievement in 2005, and the Lee Lynch Classic Award from the Golden Crown Literary Society in 2014. She also received the Robert B. Downs Intellectual Freedom Award in 2001 for her work defending Annie On My Mind from an attempt to ban it from libraries in a Kansas school district, and for her anti-censorship efforts in general. She died of a massive heart attack on June 23, 2014 at the age of 76.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

PreS-Gr. 2. When Molly draws a picture of her family for her kindergarten class, Tommy jeers at her that no one has two mommies. At first she is angry and hurt, but with the support of her teacher and her loving parents--Mommy (her birth mother) and Mama Lu (her adoptive mother)--she comes to accept her family. What helps her most is seeing many different kinds of families: Tanya has a mommy, a daddy, a grandma, and two brothers; Stephen has no father; Adam has no mother ("Daddy and me!"); some kids are adopted. Wooding's warm, soft-textured colored-pencil pictures show Molly in her lively classroom and in her happy, nurturing home. Less overtly messagey than Leslea Newman's Heather Has Two Mommies 0 (1989), this will open up discussion in many families. Garden is also the author of Holly's Secret0 (2000), about an 11-year-old with lesbian mothers. --Hazel Rochman Copyright 2004 Booklist

Publisher's Weekly Review

In Garden's (Annie on My Mind) quietly insightful book, questions about same-sex parenting arise when Molly draws a family portrait for her kindergarten open house. "First she drew Mommy. Then she drew Mama Lu. And then she drew Sam, her puppy." When Tommy sees Molly's picture, he challenges it: "You can't have a mommy and a mama." Soon the other children gather to offer their input. One has a traditional nuclear family, another lives with his father but nobody has two mothers. As Molly's body language goes from defiant to anxious, teacher Ms. Marston overhears the debate and sits down to pacify the situation. "Is Mama Lu visiting?... Is she your aunt?" she asks. When Molly answers no, Ms. Marston tells everyone, "It looks to me as if you can have a mommy and a mama." Garden depicts a credible evolution of Molly's feelings. At first, she is shaken and, even after asking her mothers about their relationship that night, she leaves her family portrait at home the next day. Only after reflecting on her parents' love, and noting the "different kinds of families in her very own class," does Molly willingly display her picture again. Wooding, who details the scenes in feathery pencil shading and soft watercolor wash, pictures an everyday classroom and individualizes all the characters. By referring to diverse families and picturing a multicultural classroom, Garden and Wooding suggest that these conversations can take place just about anywhere, in any small town or big city. Ages 4-8. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

PreS-Gr 1-To get ready for kindergarten Open School Night, Molly draws a picture of her family to hang on the wall-herself, Mommy, Mama Lu, and their puppy. After seeing the picture, her classmates tell her, "No one has two mommies." Despite her teacher's efforts to be supportive, the child is still concerned. That night, her parents explain, "we decided we had so much love that we wanted to share it with a baby." Thus, one of them is her birth mother; the other an adoptive parent. Still, Molly leaves her drawing home the next day. With further matter-of-fact reassurance by her teacher and the budding understanding that all families are different, Molly, and indeed the whole class, grows to accept her own family, and she proudly hangs her picture on the wall. While the children in the story are not shy about expressing their feelings, the author diffuses any tension by remaining focused on logic: Molly's family is as she claims. By tying this specific household to the general diversity within all families, Garden manages to celebrate them all. The soft colored-pencil drawings with their many realistic details depict a room full of active kindergartners. There is a squat sweetness to the characters as they work together to make everything look and feel right.-Martha Topol, Traverse Area District Library, Traverse City, MI (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.