My daughter had never heard a story with two mommies. She grabbed at the picture book "Mommy, Mama and Me," and memorized all the words. (The companion, "Daddy, Papa and Me" works for the two-daddy family.) She gravitated to "Heather has Two Mommies" as she got older.
Although her books have been attacked as political, Newman says she doesn't write with an agenda or mission.
"I write to tell a story," said Newman, who remembers reading Dr. Seuss, Curious George, Babar the elephant and "Caps for Sale" as favorites. "I write to find out what I don't know. If pressed, I'd say my goal would be to produce a children's book that would help any child reading that book to feel good about herself."
We're all connected
A sweet summer day in the life of an interracial family is the setting for Liz Garton Scanlon's picture book "All the World," featuring the art of Marla Frazee (who received a Caldecott Honor for this book). The book is about global connectivity, showing families and partners of all ages and races.
As she started writing for children, Scanlon noticed themes of nature and community emerging in her work.
"I also really think about a child's perspective: How would they envision friendship? What would they notice about places or parties or food or trees?" said Scanlon, whose favorite books growing up were "Blueberries for Sal," "Make Way for Ducklings" and "Where the Wild Things Are." "Kids are relatively disempowered. They're just not the big people in charge. So I really try to think about how children's books can give some of the power back to them, just by granting importance to their perspective."
Read about CNN.com staffers' favorite children's books.