A Seminal Picture Book

What's "Drunk," Mama?
Stayin' Alive

Let Me Explain
A Story about Donor Insemination
Schnitter
1994

I will be the first to admit I am no expert on this subject.  Content aside, this book is probably not the friendliest for youngsters given the dense text and scientific vocabulary.  There is also very little story here.  Having said that, is this an area that needs addressing in a youth collection?  Really?  Take a look at some of these pages and please feel free to comment.

Mary

  1. Aside from the bad art and text, the title and recurring motif “Let me explain…” is unfortunate. That’s what you say when you’ve been caught doing something bad. “It’s not what it looks like– Let me explain…”

    As to whether kids need a book about donor insemination, maybe some parents feel the need to tell their children about it. However, it seems like a parent could do a better job with their own spoken explanation, responding to the questions the kid is actually asking.

  2. I’m wondering why the Doctor’s name on the door is not mirrored as it would be on an actual door … that confuses me … just like the rest of this book.

  3. If you look at one of the pictures on the cover, “Happy Mom +” is in one color and “Dad” is in a different color. Is that a subconscious dig at Dad for not making adequate swimmers?

  4. It’s just like riding a bike; once you learn about this book, you’ll never forget. I think the author should be saying ‘Let me explain…’ to the many people who aren’t impressed by this book. I also think the Dr. wanted to be as anonymous as the donor, so he chose Smith as his alias last name.

  5. I think the problem here is, as some have said, this is something that the parents should explain to the kids.

    Having said that, I got my daughter the book “Heather has two Mommies” which explains this same thing as well, but it is just as dense as this books seems to be.

    Perhaps it is just to hard to explain in a children’s book.

    This book, however, is not the one I would use.

  6. “Donor Insemination”

    “Whew, that a mouthful.”

    Ummm, I think you may have missed soemthing in healthclass. It doesn’t go in there.

  7. I guess the name is not backward on the door because that’s not the doctor. That’s the donor. They’re all sitting in the hallway, getting to know each other, before they go in to see the doctor. Or…maybe not…Wait! Can you explain?

  8. Is it a book to explain to parents so they can explain to their children, but be innocent enough so that they don’t have to worry about said children accidentally finding it?

  9. I would wonder about the market for this book, too, if it weren’t for this months edition of Children and Libraries, which has an article/bibliography titled “Where Did I Really Come From?” and this little gem is on the list. However, it also mentions that it’s one of the first in the field of books (and good lord there are a lot), so perhaps there’s one that can help curious kids or nervous parents explain it a little better.

  10. Cassandra – that was awesome. 😀

    The bit that had me laughing hysterically was the bike chain analogy. “Yeah we tried to make a baby, sweetie but my fingers got all greasy and daddy pinched his finger and swore a lot and we found out we didn’t have the right tools – just like when you tried to fix your bike chain!”

    Umm….no.

  11. Cassandra, beat me to it!

    I can imagine that this is something that probably needs some literature out there, especially as more and more people in homosexual relationships conceive. Just as we should explain to children that there are more types of families and more types of love than were ever explained to me in my childhood, there are also more ways to get babies.

    A whole book on it, though? I don’t know who it’s for. A kid who was the result of donor sperm probably has been made aware of it before they reach the stage that they could read this book. Was it written for that kid’s 11 year old best friend?

    Also, I love the juxtaposition between not even daring to call the ova an egg and the caption, “this is what I looked like in Mom’s tummy,” especially when they do actually say uterus.

  12. Actually, my own kid probably would have been happy, when she was younger, to see a book that explored this topic more fully than in the line or two that even very inclusive human-reproduction books like “It’s So Amazing!” provide. She was born through donor insemination, and was and is always excited to see more information about families like hers (though as she gets older she’s grown more discerning). I don’t think it’s unnecessary to have a book like this for kids any more than it’s unnecessary to have one about any aspect of birth or growth, or any sensitive subject, for that matter.

    That said, it looks like the execution in this one isn’t the greatest. Kaeli, I’d be interested in the titles of some of those newer, presumably better books on the topic.

  13. Hmmm. This may have a limited market, but a book like this would have helped my sister in law who was born in the 80s as a result of donor insemination. Her parents had tried to explain ivf to her when she was young but her parents didn’t do a very good job and when she was in high school she was pretty traumatised to realize that her dad wasnt her BIO dad.

  14. this is so exemplary of kids’ books written by people who have never actually encountered a real kid.
    “don’t worry, you don’t have to remember this, there’s not going to be a test.”
    puke.
    are there kids who are willing to read this kind of condescension? because I never was.

    it’s interesting to think about what level of jargon is necessary for this book – for the people with experience: do you think your kids were wanting to hear about sperm, or just that there were other families like theirs?

  15. Els, if you have access to “Children and Libraries,” they have the whole list in there. Since it’s an ALA publication, there’s a good chance any library would have it.