“Have you have ever missed someone or something? Have you have ever missed someone or something and it almost felt like a physical ache? Have you have ever missed someone or something so much that when you were reunited the feelings of missing crashed into the feelings of joy and created a giant heap of tangled feelings? You have? Me, too! I’m so excited to share Mama and Mommy and Me in the Middle with you.”
As this book was introduced to a class of children, enthusiastic “Me, too” hand signals waved frantically in front of their bodies, and hands were raised high and urgently waved in the air. Stories were bubbling up and out and the class paused to turn and talk about these experiences before beginning the read-aloud.
Missing is a universal feeling we all know.
In Mama and Mommy and Me in the Middle, we meet a young girl whose Mommy is going away for the week on a business trip. The story is told via small moments across each day as the young girl and her Mama pass the days while Mommy is away. On Monday, there is a trip to the family’s favorite cafe.
Tuesday shares a moment of missing in the classroom and watching a movie outside under the stars.
Wednesday there is a call from Mommy that feels good in the moment, but then leaves an ache when it is over… and the week goes on.
At the end of the story, the family is reunited, and it’s a moment with both expected and unexpected emotions.
The children wanted to talk about this. They knew the feelings in this book and there were so many things they connected with… family members who traveled, what it feels like to be home when someone you love is not, and how ordinary things feel different when not everyone is there. And although many would select this book as a read-aloud to honor a diverse family structure… for these children that is not what was front and center as they discussed this book, how it connected to their own lives, and what it meant to them.
Kids know what it is like to miss someone or something, and Mama and Mommy and Me in the Middle provides an excellent opportunity for children to talk– and write about these feelings while simultaneously sharing a beautiful portrait of a diverse family structure. This book is a gem, and I highly recommend adding it to your read-aloud stack.
To read more about author Nina LaCour visit her website at www.ninalacour.com.
To see more of illustrator Kaylani Juanita’s work, visit her website at www.kaylanijuanita.com.