Sometimes My Mommy Gets Angry


Some mornings, Annie's mother's smiles are as bright as sunshine as she makes pancakes for breakfast and helps Annie get ready for school.

But other days, her mother doesn't smile at all and gets very angry. Those days Annie has to be a big girl and make her own breakfast, and even put herself to bed at night. But Annie's grandma helps her remember what to do when her mommy isn't well, and her silly friends are there to cheer her up. And no matter what, Annie knows that even ...

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Some mornings, Annie's mother's smiles are as bright as sunshine as she makes pancakes for breakfast and helps Annie get ready for school.

But other days, her mother doesn't smile at all and gets very angry. Those days Annie has to be a big girl and make her own breakfast, and even put herself to bed at night. But Annie's grandma helps her remember what to do when her mommy isn't well, and her silly friends are there to cheer her up. And no matter what, Annie knows that even when Mommy is angry on the outside, on the inside she never stops loving her.

A little girl learns coping skills with the help of her grandmother, neighbors and school friends, when her mother's mental illness disrupts her daily routine.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In a prefatory note, Campbell (Your Blues Ain't Like Mine) explains that she wrote this book "to address the fears and concerns of children who have a parent who suffers from mental illness." As her insightful, moving tale opens, narrator Annie eats pancakes with her buoyant mother. At school, the African-American girl draws a picture of this breakfast scene: "This is my mommy and me.... We have pancakes inside us and sunshine all around us." That sunlight disappears in an instant when she returns home to a much-altered mother who shouts at her. In a touching scene-made all the more so by Lewis's (The Other Side) accompanying picture of Annie crouched in a corner, behind a closed door-Annie phones her grandmother and tearfully reports on her mother's mood. Her grandmother reassures her that she did nothing wrong, that her mother "hasn't gotten the help she needs." Together Grandma and Annie review clearly well-worn plans for coping with the difficult evening (and morning) ahead. Throughout, Lewis's lifelike artwork underscores the story's intense, real emotions as the paintings creatively manipulate light and shadow as well as juggle interior and exterior views. This book amply fulfills Campbell's stated mission and, while it is likely to spark questions from a more general audience, it is equally likely to invite their compassion. Ages 5-up. (Oct.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
Annie is a little girl whose mother suffers from a mental illness. Sometimes she's giddy with happiness; sometimes she's consumed with anger. At those times, she lashes out at everyone around her and leaves Annie to fend for herself. When her mother is angry, Annie calls her grandmother, who helps Annie remember where to find her "secret snack," how to get herself ready for bed and ready for school the next morning, and what to do if she gets scared. One must applaud Moore Campbell and G. P. Putnam's Sons for tackling this issue and for treating it in a positive, compassionate way. But there are a few areas in which the book could be much stronger. For example, the mother's illness is not named. Instead, the reader—and Annie—hear only that she has "problems." If this were a book about a parent with cancer or diabetes, would the author shy away from naming those diseases? Why should mental illness be treated differently? Why can't we be told that Annie's mother has "bipolar disorder," or whatever it may be that she has? Labeling this illness as "problems" negates the fact that it is a "real" illness and implies that Annie's mother could get over it if she'd just try a little harder. Also, this is a book that demands discussion. Yet many of the family members, counselors, and educators who will share this book with children may have little experience or knowledge of this subject. Suggestions for a guided dialogue after the story would have been quite helpful. Yet for all that, this book is a welcome introduction to this difficult subject. 2003, G P Putnam's Sons, Ages 6 to 9.
— Barbara Carroll Roberts
School Library Journal
Gr 1-3-When Annie wakes up in the morning, her mother is making pancakes and cheerily asking, "Who wants hot, golden circles?" The woman proclaims the breakfast "yummalicious" and Annie's purple dress, "Beautastic." But when the little girl returns home from school, her mother greets her by shouting, "STOP ALL THAT SCREAMING-.GET IN THIS HOUSE NOW!" An author's note explains that this is how life can be for a child living with a mentally ill parent. When Annie's mother gets upset, the girl knows that she should call her grandmother, who reassures her and reminds her that her mother loves her, even when she's yelling. The child has the option of going to a neighbor's house and waiting for her grandmother to come for her. In spite of these safety valves, she deals with the situation on her own-getting a snack, snuggling with her teddy bear, and going to bed. Annie realizes that she can't stop the dark clouds inside her mother, but that she can find sunshine in her own mind. Lewis makes excellent use of light and shadow in his watercolors, evoking both the sunny glow of a happy kitchen and the foreboding gloom of a dark porch with equal skill. The multicultural cast is depicted with realistic sensitivity. The author's goal is to offer children resilience by introducing coping strategies and helping them to understand that they are not to blame for their parents' difficulties. A skillful treatment of a troubling subject.-Anna DeWind Walls, Milwaukee Public Library Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Campbell addresses the frightening and depressing effects a parent's mental illness can have on her child and subtly presents coping strategies for the youngster. Annie describes her morning with her cheery, smiling mother as she makes breakfast and helps her off to school. The girl, however, is also aware that mother isn't always happy and can be nasty, yelling and withdrawing to her bedroom for long periods of time. It's then that Annie must act grown up, make snacks and meals for herself, pick out her clothes, and get herself to school. The child's friends, teacher, and grandmother serve as a support system that offers helpful opportunities to contend with her feelings. Thinking happy thoughts, reading a silly book, and calling on a reliable adult relative are realistic approaches clearly explained in this plotless vignette. Expressive watercolors reflect the various bipolar moods of the mother and Annie's resigned look of troubled concern, counterbalanced by her upbeat playful disposition. Carefully designed to lend subtle support to families and counselors as well as to the child with a limited understanding of the situation. (Picture book. 7-10)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780142403594
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 10/6/2005
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 5 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.52 (w) x 10.46 (h) x 0.13 (d)

Meet the Author

Bebe Moore Campbell was a bestselling author and a journalist. Her nonfiction work has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Ms., Essence, Black Enterprise, Ebony, Working Mother, USA Weekend, and Adweek, among other publications. She was a regular contributor to National Public Radio.

Bebe Moore Campbell was the author of such national, critically acclaimed bestsellers as Brothers and Sisters, Singing in the Comeback Choir, Your Blues Ain't Like Mine, and What You Owe Me as well as the award-winning children’s book, Sometimes My Mommy Gets Angry and the recently published Stompin’ at the Savoy.

Campbell was born and grew up in Philadelphia and graduated from the University of Pittsburgh, where she earned a bachelor of science degree in elementary education. She taught elementary and middle school for five years. She is survived by her husband, Ellis Gordon, Jr., her daughter, the actress Maia Campbell, and a son, Ellis Gordon III.

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Read an Excerpt

Sometimes My Mommy Gets Angry



Copyright © 2003 Bebe Moore Campbell
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0399239723

Chapter One

When I wake up, Mommy is making pancakes. She flips them high in the air and sings, "Who wants hot, golden circles?"

"I do! I do!" I say.

Mommy raises the shade in the kitchen. "A great big yellow ball rolled in to see you, Annie." My mommy speaks very fast.

She nibbles a pancake and sips black coffee while I stuff my face. "Annie, are those golden circles yummalicious?" she asks.

"Super yummalicious!" I say.

When I finish breakfast, Mommy helps me to put on my clothes. "Beautastic!" she says when I am dressed all in purple.

She gives me a kiss and a big smile. I hope that she is still smiling when I come home. Sometimes my mommy doesn't smile at all.

Carmen and her big sister Jasmine are waiting outside to walk with me to school. "Hey, Annie Fannie, Wannie, Pannie, Mannie," Jasmine says. "You look cute today. Except, what's that green stuff dripping out of your nose?"

When I reach for my nose, Jasmine laughs. "Got you good, like I knew I would!"

In school my teacher, Mr. Perez, passes out crayons and paper. He watches my friend Kevin. "Draw something happy," he tells the class. "Kevin, take your seat!" Kevin tries to sit still but he just can't.

Kevin draws a funny picture. He brings it over to me. "This is Trash Can Boy. He eats trash from my room so I never have to clean it," he whispers. "Trash Can Boy, eat Annie's nose!" Kevin says. I giggle.

"Kevin, go to the time-out chair," Mr. Perez says. I feel sorry for my friend.

"Excellent job, Annie," Mr. Perez says. "Tell the class what you drew."

"This is my mommy and me," I say. "We have pancakes inside us and sunshine all around us."

When I walk home, the sun is hiding. Carmen and I fling our hair from side to side. "Oh, no," Jasmine says. "Madam Baby Sis, three of your braids just fell on the ground. Oooh, what's Mommy gonna say?"

When Carmen stops to look behind her, Jasmine laughs so hard, she almost chokes. "I can fool ya, because I rule ya!" Carmen makes a face.

"Mommy! Mommy! Come see my picture," I call. My neighbor Mr. Simms waves at me. I say good-bye to my friends, but they wait for my mommy to let me in.


Excerpted from Sometimes My Mommy Gets Angry by BEBE MOORE CAMPBELL Copyright © 2003 by Bebe Moore Campbell. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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