The Longest Shortest Time

EPISODE #178: Stuff We Love

Stories about family are some of the richest, most riveting stories that you can tell. We invited three panelists to our studio to talk about their favorite TV shows, movies, and books about and for families.

Our panelists are poet, memoirist, mom of three, and past guest Rachel Zucker to talk books for grown-ups; Janet Manley, a senior features editor at Romper and mother of two little kids — to talk kids’ books; and Aisha Harris, an assistant TV editor for The New York Times.

Tune in to hear The New York Times’s Aisha Harris, poet Rachel Zucker, and Romper’s Janet Manley tell us what’s hot in storytelling about parenthood, what’s missing, and what we can expect in the future!

And we have extra picks from everyone here!


Better Things
“The show has covered getting your period to wanting to date boys or wanting to have a party without her mom. Every episode doesn’t end the way you think. And there’s moments of quiet and weirdness and there’s dance sequences. It’s very much Pamela’s show, and I can’t recommend it highly enough.”

“There are all these different types of parenting that are happening throughout. You have obviously Edna Turnblad, the mother of Tracy Turnblad. Edna is not a perfect mother by any means.”

“It would definitely be in my top five Spike Lee movies. There’s five kids, they’re all kind of close in age: four boys one girl played by Zelda Harris. They live in this beautiful brownstone, and the first part of the movie is just about them like living amongst the people in their neighborhood. To my mind, there hasn’t been a TV show, at least not a major network or cable network TV show, that was specifically about like young black girl adolescence.”


Lucía the Luchadora And The Million Masks by Cynthia Leanor Garza, illustrated by Alyssa Bermudez
“It’s a story about sibling rivalry and your poor little sister who just really looks up to you. It really took me back to how I felt having a little sister who was constantly borrowing my things accidentally ruining my toys.”

Square by Mac Barnett, illustrated by Jon Klassen
“It has a very definite kind of meta-level that you can read it at: this sort of fear of failure, this fear that we’re all like jokers and imposters. It’s so relevant to my life.”

Drawn Together by Minh Lê, illustrated by Dan Santat
“So the story begins with a young boy. He’s dropped off at his grandfather’s house by his mother who drives away for the day. The grandfather does not speak English, and the boy does not speak Thai. They start creating these pictures together. When you have kids, you want your parents to connect with your children. There’s a kind of grief in losing that connection between one generation and two generations later. I find it super super moving when I read it to my kids.”


Midwinter Day by Bernadette Mayer
“This book is really unusual. it was written all in one day on December 22, 1978. When Bernadette was writing this book she was living in Lenox, Massachusetts, she had three young children, she was married to the poet Lewis Warsh, and the book is sort of about their day.”

Are You My Mother? by Alison Bechdel
“Alison Bechdel did not have children. And I find it to be incredibly important to read authentic deep complicated stories about motherhood by women who are not mothers. I feel that they have a perspective that is deeply important to me.”

Of Woman Born: Motherhood As An Experience And Institution by Adrienne Rich
“I read this book before I became a parent, and then I read it again after my kids were born, and then I reread it again recently, and I am full of gratitude for Rich for writing about the experience and institution of motherhood and for shedding light on the way in which motherhood has almost not been written about it all.”

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