Review of Mama’s Home

Mama’s Home Mama’s Home
by Shay Youngblood; illus. by Lo Harris
Primary    Make Me a World/Random    40 pp.
10/22    9780593180228    $18.99
Library ed.  9780593180235    $21.99
e-book ed.  9780593180242    $10.99

A brown-skinned girl with her hair in two afro puffs hugs her mother goodbye before Mama boards a plane, which she does often. The young narrator feels lucky to have seven “Big Mamas”—enough for a different one to take care of her every day of the week. On Monday, Nurse Louella looks after her, teaching her to ride a bike without training wheels. As the week progresses, each Black mama has a special passion that inspires the girl to pursue a particular profession or live a certain way: she wants to be a pilot, a singer, a chef, a writer, an entrepreneur, and someone who has a heart “big enough to love everybody who needs love.” On Sunday, everyone gathers together and brings a dish to a feast composed of delicacies from across the African diaspora. Harris’s colorful digital illustrations showcase the curvaceous mamas, who all sport their own hair and clothing styles. Youngblood’s cheerful semiautobiographical picture book (an author’s note explains the connections to her life) checks deficit-based thinking at the door and celebrates a female village that raises a confident and creative Black girl. A rich chosen-family story of love, care, and community.

From the January/February 2023 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Dr. Michelle H. Martin
Michelle H. Martin
Dr. Michelle H. Martin is the Beverly Cleary Professor for Children & Youth Services in the Information School at the University of Washington in Seattle.

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