Saturday, August 16, 2014

A Picture Book a Day for a Year: Day 119

Picture Book: A Chair for My Mother
Author & Illustrator: Vera B. Williams
Summary: After their home is destroyed by fire, young Rosa, her mom, and her grandmother live in a small apartment. Although family and friends donate, their rooms are mostly empty. Rosa’s mother works hard as a waitress at a diner. Sometimes Rosa helps there too and gets paid. In a big jar at home, Rosa puts half of her earned money in the jar while her mother puts in all the coins from her tips. They are saving for “the best chair in the whole world” so that Rosa’s mother can be comfortable after she works so hard. Finally the jar is full so they roll the coins and take them to the bank. Shopping for the perfect chair involves trying out many chairs in 4 different stores. When they find the chair of their dreams, they are relieved that they have enough to purchase it. The chair is shared by all the family members throughout the days, but when Mama is home from her exhausting work, the chair is for Mama.
Hanna’s Comments: This compassionate story works on the surface as a beautiful story of a daughter’s pride in her hard-working mother and wish for her mother to be comfortable. In a deeper sense though, the desire for this chair is symbolic of their hope and determination to be resilient after such a devastating loss. Healing, like saving for a chair, can be a slow process. One of the best places to have conversations about loss and hope is within our faith communities. This inspiring book will offer a great deal for children and adults to consider, especially regarding issues such as homelessness, poverty in general, the cultures of the working poor. Other issues that you might want to explore include having pride in hard work, treatment of those who work in service industries, careful consumerism, patience, compassion, and resilience.
Publisher & Date of Publication: Greenwillow Books, 1982
Age & Grade Appropriateness: 4 and up, Pre and up
# of Pages: 32
Available in Spanish? Yes
Formats other than Book: Video, audio download
PBT Category: Award Winner (Caldecott Honor), Pre 2K
PBT Topics this Book Connects with: action, adaptation/assimilation, babies/children, challenges, change, choices/decisions, comfort, commitment, death/loss/grief, dependence/interdependence, difficulties, disaster, dreams/aspiration, family, grandparents, helping, home, homelessness, joy, labor/work, money, mothers, new home/relocation, parents/parental love, participation, partners/teamwork, patience, perseverance, possessions, poverty, pride, problems/problem solving, purpose, sharing, victims, waiting
Scripture Connections: But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength (Isaiah 40:31); rejoice in hope and be patient in tribulation (Romans 12:12)
Idea(s) for Application: Read this book at your faith community’s family retreat and encourage your families to consider how they deal with loss and how their faith and scripture stories inform their hopeful responses.