We’re kicking off our Summer Reading for 2013 with a picture book that’s perfect for Father’s Day. Oh, Oh, Baby Boy! is a picture book by Oakland artist and author Janine Macbeth, who is herself a Hapa of Asian American, African American, white and Native American heritage. The book doesn’t focus so much on ethnicity, but on the celebration of little boys — and their fathers. Like most picture books, there are only a few words on each page, beginning with a beautiful illustration of a newborn boy, and following him through childhood mischief until he becomes a father himself. The unique thing about this book is that the pictures depict a man doing many of the care-taking roles, such as holding an infant and cooking dinner. This is the kind of book you might like if you are trying to provide your kids with images that show dads in non-traditional roles.
Macbeth says Oh, Oh, Baby Boy! is based in her own experiences as a mother working full-time outside the home (her husband also works full-time at an office job):
People rarely talk about it, but motherhood has the very real potential to disenfranchise moms — socially, economically, and professionally. As a mom, I’m lucky to experience the power of a father’s genuine and loving involvement. It is because of him that I can be a working mom, pursue my dreams after hours, and be an engaged and loving mother to my boys.
Just one warning for those of you whose kids think babies come “from the stork”: there’s one illustration that shows an abstract rendition of a baby being born. Don’t worry, it’s nothing graphic, but it might prompt some curiosity from your little ones.
I received a copy of Oh, Oh, Baby Boy! for review, but you can purchase a book for $15.95 through AK Press.