On the Day I Was Born

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Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 1-A story told in the voice of an African American child that imparts the joy, love, and preciousness of his birth. His father holds him up to the light of the moon and introduces him as his firstborn son. The family delights in the infant, crowding around him with warm smiles. He is wrapped in a soft cloth, crowned with a kofia, blessed by Uncle Preedy, named by Aunt Alma, and presented with his first booties by Grandma Imani. His relatives share a meal, memories, and photographs. He is presented with a piece of kente cloth that he will wear on his 12th birthday, and his father tells him, as he faces the heavens, ``Behold the only thing greater.'' Realistic, full-color illustrations depicting contemporary characters complement the text, which is framed with African Adinkra symbols. A glossary of these symbols and their meanings is provided. An excellent collaboration.-Barbara Osborne Williams, Queens Borough Public Library, Jamaica, NY
Susan Dove Lempke
An African American family welcomes the new baby in a variety of ways. Some are universal ("There was lots of talk of who I looked like" ), but most represent the trend toward incorporating African symbols and traditions into current American family life, as in Kwanzaa. The baby is given a "kente" cloth and a "kofia", or crown, and most importantly, held up to the light of the moon by his father, who says, "Behold the only thing greater." Chocolate says in her author's note that she based the book on her own family's welcoming ceremonies (developed after watching "Roots"), and Rosales, in an artist's note, explains the Adinkra symbols she has incorporated into the illustrations. She uses the symbols to border the text and, in a clever and touching move, places them in the sky along with the stars and moon. Her pictures focus tightly on the jubilant family, making them pop off the page against the plain, brightly colored backgrounds. Use with Margy Burns Knight's "Welcoming Babies" (1994).
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780590476096
  • Publisher: Scholastic, Inc.
  • Publication date: 10/1/1995
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 5 - 9 Years

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