My Dad is a Clown/Mi Papá es un Payaso
Author: José Carlos Andrés
Illustrator: Natalia Hernández
NubeOcho and Egales
Ages: 3 to 8 years old
Two dads; one heals bodies, the other souls.
The other day at school, a classmate got angry at me and said ‘Clown!’ So begins our story and our entry into this black, white, grey and red world created by Andrés and Hernández, where a boy walks us through a few moments in his life and the impact his two dads have had on it.
The question: “What do you want to be when you grow up?” is routinely asked of children; starting from the moment they can string sentences together; perhaps because grownups want to fill the void of awkward silence with something. A fireman, a toll collector (do we still have those?), a teacher are among the most popular (at least they used to be when I was a kid) answers. Nowadays my child’s answer is something with “lasers.” As parents, oftentimes we forget the huge impact we can have on our children’s choices. This story helps us remember; and helps us explain it to our kids.
Unperturbed by his classmate’s attempt at name calling, the boy kisses him on the cheek and continues on his day. You see, one of the boy’s Dads, is a clown; and the boy knows the job is very important because his Dad has the ability to make people laugh. If the story were to end there, it would be mission accomplished. As an important lesson is taught in a friendly accessible way. But, there is more. Much more.
His other Dad, a doctor, says that between both Dads they have two of the most important jobs:
. . . one heals the body and the other heals the soul.My Dad is a Clown/Mi Papá es un Payaso
So, it seems that this very fortunate child is being raised by parents that are exposing him to science and to art. In fact, the bulk of the book dedicates itself to an adventure where we follow Doctor Dad and the child on a mission to see what Clown Dad does on a typical day. In the end, when the child reflects on what he’ll be when he grows up, he still decides on medicine; albeit with a twist–that I will not reveal. Needless to say, he will also be curing souls.
The story is laudable for the casual way in which it treats same sex parents (these could have been any parents, they just happen to be two dads). And, for clear, breezy way in which parental influence is developed through the narrative. It is an easy, short, fun read and provides much needed diversity to the genre.
Please, leave comments! I love a HEALTHY exchange of ideas. After all, critical thinking is essential to life.
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