Blog Tour Stop – What If Wilhelmina

Today we’re doing something a bit different! I am thrilled to have the privilege to take part in Publisher Spotlight’s blog/Instagram tour celebrating What If Wilhelmina by Joseph Belisle!

Title: What If Wilhelmina
Author/Illustrator: Joseph Belisle
Publisher: Blair Publisher
Published: March 2, 2021
Format: Picture Book

What If Wilhelmina is Joseph Belisle’s debut picture book, following a young girl and all the emotions she feels when her cat Wilhelmina runs away. One morning when the young girl’s dad opens the door, Wilhelmina darts out, chasing after a squirrel. Despite the family’s attempts, no one can catch her. The daughter worries about Wilhemina and her imagination runs wild thinking of all the awful things that could happen. Luckily, as our young protagonist worries, the illustrations tell a different story.

What If Wilhelmina is a great selection to open the door to conversations about anxiety and worries. I also love that there is queer representation with two fathers, though that isn’t the primary focus of the story.

The illustrations tell the story wonderfully, but I really appreciated all the nods to various famous works of art hidden throughout. This sneaky addition creates for fun rereads, and opens up conversations about art and art history.

A portion of the proceeds for What If Wilhelmina will go to Kids In Crisis, a nonprofit in Cos Cob, Connecticut providing emergency shelter, crisis counseling, and community education programs for children and families facing crisis.

You can purchase your own copy wherever books are sold, including Bookshop and Amazon. (Please note: Some links provided are affiliate links. Affiliate links allow me to receive a small commission for recommendations at no cost to you. This commission is used to maintain this site and to continue bringing content to you. I always appreciate your support!)

About The Author:

Joseph Belisle draws and paints, teaches art, is husband to David and father to Faith, and with the debut of this book becomes a children’s book author and illustrator. Belisle proudly runs Lighthouse, the LGBTQ+ teen group at Kids in Crisis. He grew up in a big family in a small New England town and currently lives in Fairfield County, Connecticut, where it is also his job to keep up with the real-life Wilhelmina.

You can find Joseph online at: Instagram: @belisleart Twitter: @belisleart Website: belisleart.com

Don’t Miss The Rest Of The Tour!

Follow along at: @blairpublisher @belisleart @averyqueerbookclub @publisherspotlight

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Daddy & Dada

When Ryan Brockington and Isaac Webster started looking for books for their daughter showing families with two dads (like theirs), they discovered the massive hole in the market for LGBTQ+ representation in children’s books. Fortunately for all of us, they decided to address the issue by writing their own book, Daddy & Dada, and I’m thrilled to share it with you all today.

This sweet picture book follows a young girl named Rumi as she introduces us to her family, including her two dads, baby brother, and dog. Rumi narrates in a straightforward, conversational voice (like most four-year-olds would) and highlights a number of diverse family structures, creating both a window and a mirror for young readers. Just in time for Father’s Day and Pride Month, Daddy & Dada is a wonderful celebration of all families, and the many combinations of people that make a family.

The illustrations by Lauren May are absolutely adorable. The bold colors reminded me of Saturday morning cartoons during my childhood. Lauren truly captured the love of a happy family and brought the warmth of a happy home to the pages.

Daddy & Dada officially releases tomorrow, but you can preorder your copy today wherever books are sold, including Bookshop and Amazon. (Please note: Some links provided are affiliate links. Affiliate links allow me to receive a small commission for recommendations at no cost to you. This commission is used to maintain this site and to continue bringing content to you. I always appreciate your support!)

To learn more about Ryan, Issac, and their family, be sure to follow them on Instagram: @rybrockington and @realisaacwebster.

Lauren May is a freelance illustrator based in New England. Please visit her website at monstertea.party to learn more about her and her work.

Ryan and Isaac’s story really spoke to me, because it reminds me of my journey to create Mutually Inclusive to make a space for all families to find themselves in books. So I want to make sure I thank both Little Brown Books For Young Readers for providing me with a review copy of Daddy & Dada, and Ryan and Isaac for creating such an inclusive book for children to see their families in. I’m so happy to “meet” their family and to share Daddy & Dada with families looking for representation in children’s books.

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(M)other – A Picture Book About The “Other” Mothers

Originally written as a poem, which was shortlisted for the CBC Poetry prize in 2018, (M)other, by Sanita Fejzic was adapted into a children’s book in March. The poem is paired with beautiful illustrations by Alisa Arsenault, creating an unforgettable children’s book that discusses the relationship between a boy and his “other” mother.

In the book, we learn of the unique challenges faced by families with two mothers, and no father. Written from the perspective of the “other” mother, we hear of the pressure this mother receives to provide a father figure for her child, and to conform to the societal expectations of what a family “should look like”. From birth certificates, to principals, to children at school, there always seems to be a challenge to their family structure.

With more emotion than I thought possible in 26 pages, (M)other is a tender look into the lives of a loving family.

If, like me, you would like to ensure your child has an understanding of diverse family structures from a young age, I would highly recommend this book. It would also make an excellent gift for the holidays, especially for those families with “other” mothers.

I would like to thank Bouton D’or Acadie for providing me with a copy of this book to review. It was an absolute delight.

Have you read (M)other yourself? Be sure to leave your thoughts below!

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