review by Mara Otterbein
Translation by Rebecca Knecht
The booklet „Wie Lotta geboren wurde“/How Lotta was born (1) tells the story of Lotta, her father Tobias, and his pregnancy. The book was self-published by Atelier 9 ¾ in 2013, and contains texts by Cai Schmitz-Weicht and pictures by Ka Schmitz.
Since the book’s goal is to explain pregnancy and the way Lotta and her father Tobias met to people two years and older, it does not require any (previous) knowledge. Complicated words and concepts like “trans*” or explanations about sexuality and pregnancy which are more complicated than sperm and ovum are not used. In very basic terms, the contents explain that the place in which babies grow – the ‘baby cave’ – is usually something women have, but not always. And that Lotta’s father has one of those ‘baby caves’ as well. Fertilization is symbolized by the exchange of two glowing hearts, and the time of pregnancy by the growing of Tobias’ belly.
What stood out to me and what I really liked was the positive and affirming way in which Lotta’s birth is portrayed. The book talks about Tobias’ life before Lotta and about how happy he was, but that he wanted a child. I sometimes felt like I would have liked a more explicit explanation of trans*, which is probably too much to ask from a children’s book for children of two and up. The most essential message of the book is that everyone was very happy about Lotta – and that is probably the most important thing to its readers.
In comparison with other children’s books, the price of 10 Euros is average. Other pedagogic children’s books, like the ones on the latest GLADT book list (2), cost between 3 and 20 Euros. Considering this, 10 Euros seems like a good price for the – according to its publishers – first German picture book about trans identity.