Archive for August, 2009
Title: “Momma, Where Are You From?”
Genre: Children’s (Ages 5-12), Afro-American Fiction
Author: Marie Bradby
Illustrator: Chris K. Soentpiet
Publisher: Orchard Books, New York: New York. 2000.
“We can travel roads in my memory…”
I absolutely love “Momma, Where Are You From?”. This book gives life and color to Black history, its rich traditions in American life and beckons the reader to remember their own stories…and pass them down.
“Momma. Where Are You From?” is not read like a book—it quickly envelopes you until you forget the pages beneath your fingers, and feel like you are curled up on “Momma’s” lap, hearing the family stories.
Momma’s stories circle the events of her life—growing up in a small town, shelling beans for dinner, facing discrimination during the Jim Crow era, and finally sitting on the porch with her daughter, sharing memories. “Momma, Where Are Your From?” is particularilly powerful in that it gives the message that our stories are worth telling, and that our children will cherish and grow from our memories.
Combined with the stories, the illustrations are beautiful, no detail is missed; each picture in itself imparts a story. There is history within these pictures—the segregated schoolhouse, the children doing domestic labor to help make ends meet, the family gathering to listen to music and share a meal. These are stories we can all relate to—the wondering “Where are you from?” and how the answer inevitably connects the past to the paths of our own lives.
I highly recommend “Momma, Where Are You From?” It is a dignified retelling of Black history and also a vivid portrayal of the struggles, joys and faces of family.
In Our Hearts, 2009.
Marie Bradby’s Site: http://www.mariebradby.com/
Chirs Soentpiet: “Momma, Where Are You From?” Include Activities to do with your children when reading this book.