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Finding Acceptance and Bravery in Fiction

A Recommendation for Mom: This Is How It Always Is by Laurie Frankel

Earlier this summer, Laurie Frankel’s novel This Is How It Always Is came up in my Kindle store recommendations and I could not be happier that it did. In my opinion, Frankel’s fiction was a thoughtful and honest portrayal of the big stuff of parenting and families.

Rosie and Penn are a doctor and a writer, and loving parents to a big family of boys. Five boys to be exact. When their youngest, Claude, turns five, he tells his parents that he wants to be a girl when he grows up. On his own, Claude begins changing into a dress after school every day. One day, Claude decides he is ready to wear his dress to kindergarten. Frankel takes us through this family’s journey as Claude moves through elementary school and becomes an adolescent. During this time, Rosie and Penn grapple with how to best to let their young child express himself, while ultimately trying to protect him from others who may not understand.

I won’t give away what happens, but I will say that I found this book to be intensely poignant and interesting. This Is How It Always Is asks so many of the questions that keep parents up at night. Who is my child? How do I help my children love and appreciate their unique gifts? How do I keep my children safe when the world isn’t always a kind place?

While the author, Laurie Frankel, does have a transgender daughter in real life, the themes in this novel transcend gender identity or gender expression. No matter where someone falls on the issues, this novel ultimately tackles how and why families keep secrets, face fears, and either conform or create new ways of being in the world.

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A Recommendation for the Kids: Giraffes Can’t Dance by Giles Andreae (Author) and Guy Parker-Rees (Illustrator)

Gerald is a sweet, gangly, and adorable giraffe who just wants to dance. The only problem is that he’s got four left feet and, according to some critics: Giraffes. Can’t. Dance. But Gerald doesn’t let anything stop him! True, he feels sad when others call him “weird” and “clumsy”, but ultimately Gerald finds his groove when he is reminded that anyone can dance, if they just change their tune.

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In the craziness that is motherhood and business ownership -- and all those other parts of life as I know it -- sometimes I like to sit back, quiet my mind, and just remember what brought me to this crazy beautiful happy place. I remember when I tried my first class and made my first neighborhood mom friends. When I first met the mom down the street who would later become my business partner. I remember the moms who came, who saw, who conquered; those who have been with me since the start and those who have moved away. All that remembering leads me right back to today. I thought I'd share some of these moments through pictures and a little story-telling.

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