Mama I’ll Give You the World by Roni Schotter

 

Children

Mama, I'll give you the World Mama, I’ll Give You the WorldRoni Schotter; Schwartz & Wade Books 2006WorldCatReview by Molly (20+ years classroom teacher)

Luisa remembers when her Papa lived with her family. That was when Mama loved to dance. Now that Papa is gone Mama does not dance. Now she works at Walter’s World of Beauty. Luisa visits the shop everyday after school. Mama doesn’t often smile, she seems lost in her memories of a time when she danced. Tomorrow is her birthday and Luisa has a secret. She has whispered her secret to each of the patrons there at the beauty shop. And for her birthday Mama dances.

My resident critics enjoyed the book. The kids take their job as critics seriously. Settling down to listen to the story they eyed the book with nods of approval. They liked the pictures and they liked the narrative. They did ask whether Luisa’s papa had died or if he had gone away. I’m sorry the story did not make clear why papa is not with his family. Several of the students in my class, 4th grade, come from one parent homes and they were especially compassionate when expressing their thoughts concerning Luisa and her mother. And, they agreed that it is likely that Papa died, although they did not delve into why or how that had happened.

Mama, I’ll Give You the World has proven to be a true discussion starter. The children agreed that the illustrations are great, the narrative is interesting. They felt the book may be aimed at a target audience of 4 – 8 year olds, but the actual reading will be done by adults or by perhaps 4th graders as they read to younger siblings or go to read to the Kindergarten students for cross grade reading activity.

The real discussion centered around the circumstances of Luisa. Writer Schotter has taken a subject well understood millions of children in the United States, 13 million + are living in single parent homes, others live in a home having two parents, however the two parents are not necessarily their own parents. I think the children in my class may have chosen to believe that Luisa’s Papa had died rather than face a bleak notion that she, as many of them feel abandoned by a parent who is no longer there. It is sometimes easier to have hope for one child, even one on paper than it is to admit the feelings of abandonment that a children may harbor when parents choose not to be together.

Mama, I’ll Give You the World is a story of hope and love and compassion. The book is a good addition to the class library shelf, the personal reading list and the school library. It is a read -to book for the younger set: 3 – 6, read-with-help for strong age 7 – 8 readers and read-alone for the 9 – 11s. This is a book I will be keeping for my classroom. I was sent a hard cover copy for review.

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