It’s Monday, What are You Reading is a meme hosted by Jen from Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing Readers (new host of Monday reading: Kathryn T at Book Date). Since two of our friends, Linda from Teacher Dance and Tara from A Teaching Life have been joining this meme for quite awhile now, we thought of joining this warm and inviting community.
Mommy Sayang [Amazon | Book Depository]
Written and Illustrated by Rosana Sullivan
Published by Disney Press (2019)
ISBN: 1368015905 (ISBN13: 9781368015905) Borrowed from Overdrive. Book photos taken by me.
I first read this book a year ago, along with La Luna (Amazon | Book Depository) by Enrico Casarosa – another Disney Pixar picturebook title. I do applaud Disney’s attempts to diversify the narratives they create – about time, really.
This picturebook is inspired by Rosana’s relationship with her mother and her Malaysian roots. I loved seeing Mommy Sayang’s kampung, reminding me of Singapore. The girl in this story is called Aleeya and it is clear how much she adores her mother.
While the father is alluded to visually (Aleeya appears to be a biracial child), it was really Aleeya’s mother that filled the pages. There is joy here that spills out of the pages:
When Aleeya’s mother fell ill, it was a difficult time for Aleeya whose every waking moment is usually spent with her vibrant, fun-loving mother. I especially loved reading the Author’s Note in the end when Rosana shared a bit of her background and what her mother means to her.
Me and Mama [Amazon | Book Depository]
Written and Illustrated by Cozbi A. Cabrera
Published by Simon Schuster Books for Young Readers (2020)
ISBN: 1534454217 (ISBN13: 9781534454217). Literary Awards: Caldecott Medal Nominee (2021), Coretta Scott King Award Nominee for Illustrator (2021). Borrowed from Overdrive. Book photos taken by me.
I have been a fan of Cozbi A. Cabrera ever since I read her My Hair Is A Garden (Amazon | Book Depository). I was so thrilled to find this title on Overdrive and was not surprised to see it receive all them awards quite recently.
I want to be everywhere Mama is.
Just that line alone is enough to make me fall in love with this book. I was, and still continue to be, an unabashedly Mama’s Girl. I would like to think that my daughter is, too. There is anticipation of joy here; and a snug, warm, comforting feeling that can only be felt by one who is loved with such absoluteness.
There is Black pride and beauty in this book that did not have to be explicitly articulated – it simply is. It reminds me of this recent post I have just read on the significance of books that center Black joy. This book is clearly one of them.
The author also played with imagery and metaphor in this narrative, undergirding a level of complexity that suggests a respect for the child’s intelligence and a capacity to appreciate the obscure and the abstract. While there are delicious details and specificity that are also surfaced in both text and astounding art in this story, there is also subtlety – and much much joy and love. Find it and hug your mama.
#SurvivalStories2021 Update: 25/26 out of target 100