We have a lot to thank the Brady Bunch for. I don’t just mean cool fashions and the phrase ‘Marcia, Marcia, Marcia’ – rather, the concept of using a ‘blended family’ as the basis for a television show was pretty forward-thinking at the time (though I did always wonder what happened to Mike and Carol’s first spouses…). The importance of representing all types of families in mainstream television, films and books cannot be underestimated – kids are keen observers of other families in action.
There are numerous story books for helping children cope with separation and divorce but what happens afterwards? Author Bronwen Fallens, a single mum to a two-year-old daughter, discovered that there were few, if any, fun stories about single parent families. So she wrote her own – My Super Single Mum.
The first thing you’ll notice about My Super Single Mum is the gorgeous illustrations by the very talented Muntsa Vicente. I really love them – each page bursts with energy, whether it’s the mother changing a light bulb, baking cupcakes or dancing in the lounge room. The slightly cartoon-like quality of the pictures adds to the action.
The story itself is written in rhyme that is sweet, gentle and not forced in any way. It tells of simple, everyday activities in the context of the mother and a daughter –
“My mum can mow the lawn, And change a tyre too, When the light breaks, She knows just what to do.”
Importantly, there is nothing judgemental in the story nor anything that suggests ‘right or wrong’. It’s a perfect starting point for a discussion about family situations.
“It’s just mum and me, And that’s okay, We have lots of fun, Just her and me, every day.”
The book aims to empower single mums and to also normalise and value families of all variations. It is the first in a series of books titled ‘My Family’ in which different family types are explored. Other titles coming later this year include My Super Single Dad, Groovy Gran, My Brother Wheels and My Two Dads.
A special mention about the author, Fallens and the illustrator, Vicente. Fallens is based in Melbourne and Vicente in Barcelona. Their book was created and delivered entirely online after ‘meeting’ through an online artistic community, Lost at E Minor, many years ago. They have collaborated on many projects together but have never actually met in person. How very modern!
My Super Single Mum is available to purchase online at Bronnys Books and costs $15.