Bestselling author and award-winning actress Julianne Moore pays homage to all the Muttis, Mammas, and Mamans who are from another country. A foreign mom may eat, speak, and dress differently than other moms? she may wear special clothes for holidays, twist hair in strange old-fashioned braids, and cook recipes passed down from grandma. Such a mom may be different than other moms, but...she is also clearly the best. Vividly illustrated by Meilo So, this funny and heartwarming picture book about growing up in ...
Bestselling author and award-winning actress Julianne Moore pays homage to all the Muttis, Mammas, and Mamans who are from another country. A foreign mom may eat, speak, and dress differently than other moms— she may wear special clothes for holidays, twist hair in strange old-fashioned braids, and cook recipes passed down from grandma. Such a mom may be different than other moms, but...she is also clearly the best. Vividly illustrated by Meilo So, this funny and heartwarming picture book about growing up in multiple cultures celebrates the diverse world in which we live.
The New York Times Book Review
- Sarah Shun-lien Bynum
Moore…offers an original twist on the immigrant narrative by speaking in the voices of first-generation children coming to terms with the ways their mothers are different from native-born moms…With insight, empathy and humor…Moore captures the children's complicated mix of feelings: embarrassment, defiance, pride, appreciation and, most palpably, love. She manages to do so while sticking to a jaunty rhyme scheme, and though the text sometimes sits uneasily within the meter, the lilting verses make the book a treat to read aloud. Paired with So's glorious hand-painted illustrations, they send the message that having a "foreign mom" is, above all, a whole lot of fun.
Mothers come in all kinds, but when they are immigrants, children are quick to notice moments of culture clash. Moore (the Freckleface Strawberry books) uses an everykid narrative voice to parse the embarrassments and delights of having a mother who hails from distant shores: “She calls me foreign nicknames,/ wee one, liebchen, bebe./ I tell her all the time/ ‘Those words sound so crazy!’ ” Working in loose, bright watercolors, So (Brush of the Gods) shifts between several mother/child pairs: there’s the stylish French woman who mortifies her son by shouting “Mon petit chou!” at his soccer game; two mothers who prefer clothing with vivid African and Caribbean patterns; and (in an inversion of so many adoption stories) a Japanese mother with a white daughter. The meter is inconsistent, and many rhymes are slant, raising the question of why the book is written in verse at all. It’s a well-intentioned remainder of America’s melting pot past and present, but the delivery is underwhelming. Ages 5–8. Author’s agent: David Kuhn, Kuhn Projects. Illustrator’s agent: Heflin Reps. (Sept.)
From the Publisher
"A vividly illustrated book that celebrates different cultures in our diverse world."--SheKnows.com
School Library Journal
K-Gr 2—Children from many cultures express their feelings about having a mother born in a different country in this confusing attempt to celebrate the immigrant experience. Moore does capture the internal conflict youngsters feel about having a parent who is different; some of the kids love the funny kinds of foods they eat and know all of the parts of the foreign songs their moms sing, while others find the food gross and the strange customs and nicknames embarrassing. Told in a clumsy verse with forced rhymes and an awkward meter, this story unfortunately falls flat. "She talks a little funny./She has an accent: it is French!/She had to learn a new language here/Because her words weren't making sense." Changes in font are distracting and introduce contradictory thoughts in the same paragraph. "We eat funny kinds of foods sometimes./I love it./It tastes gross./My Grandma made it, she taught my Mom./I put it on my toast!" So's bright watercolor illustrations, while full of multicultural characters and ethnic details, do little to clarify the speakers or complement the text. The concept is heartfelt but the author attempts to cover too many details and emotions.—Kristine M. Casper, Huntington Public Library, NY
A chorus of children with foreign-born mothers join voices to express their side of the immigrant experience. Having a mom who's a foreigner can be tough. "She makes me do stuff foreign ways," like taking soup to school and kissing people hello. Child and mom don't always look alike, and her accent--not to mention the silly foreign nicknames--attracts unwanted attention. But "compared to OTHER Moms, / I know that she's the best." Moore's well-meaning book, inspired by her own childhood, is something of a disaster. The rhyming quatrains limp along, forcing scansion to suit the rhyme scheme: "My Mom is a foreigner, / She's from another place. / She came when she was ten years old, / With only one suitcase." Amateurish rhyme is just one of this book's problems, though. Adult and child readers alike would be forgiven for thinking that those four lines are spoken by the same child and refer to the same mother, but they don't. Seemingly arbitrary changes in typography are clues that the child speaker is changing; narration is shared in five different typefaces among eight or so children with mothers from all over the globe. So's illustrations, uncharacteristically, do not rise to the admittedly considerable design challenge, failing to provide sufficient clues to let readers know which statements belong to which child until the last few pages, when it is far too late. A confusing mess. (Picture book. 5-8)
Julianne Moore was inspired to write My Mom Is a Foreigner in memory of her own foreign mom. Moore is the bestselling author of the Freckleface Strawberry series. She is also an award-winning actress and artist ambassador for Save the Children. She lives in New York City with her husband and two children.
Meilo So is the esteemed illustrator of Water Sings Blue. She was born in Hong Kong and now lives in the Shetland Islands with her husband and daughter. Meilo So is herself a foreign mom.