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Me and Momma and Big John
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Me and Momma and Big John

3.92 of 5 stars 3.92  ·  rating details  ·  86 ratings  ·  27 reviews
Momma is a stonecutter at the cathedral called Big John — and little John and his sisters can't wait to see her special stone — in this luminous true-life story.

"Building a cathedral isn’t a job, it’s an art."
Momma comes home from work, tired and sore from a long day at her job. She used to work on the factory line, but now an early bus takes her across the bridge into New
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published August 28th 2012 by Candlewick (first published August 14th 2012)
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The people of New York City are spoiled beyond belief. Many's the time I've traipsed down the street and glanced at one of the passing skyscrapers or cathedrals thinking "in any other town that building would be considered the pride and joy of the city". Heck, I grew up in Kalamazoo where the Comerica building downtown was, when I was a kid, considered by me to be the tallest building in the world. But even as kids in every city, in every state, in every country pass and glance at the local arch ...more
Me and Momma and Big John written by Mara Rockliff, illustrated by William Low is a wonderful informative story told from the eyes of a boy named John and how his mother works extremely hard all day as a stonecutter. She is one of the many working on the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City. John doesn't understand how or why his mother works on just one stone all day long. One day, John, his mother and siblings take a trip to see the cathedral and the place where their mother's sto ...more
Angela Bailey
Title / Author / Publication Date:
Me and momma and big John. / Mara Rockliff. William Low (ill.). / 2012.

Genre: Fiction.

Format: Picturebook - print.

Plot summary:
"Little John is proud of his mother's work as a stonecutter for a cathedral called "Big John," but struggles to understand the importance of spending so much time on one stone that no one will know Momma cut. Includes a history of New York City's Cathedral of St. John the Divine" (NoveList).

Considerations or precautions for readers advi
This realistic fiction book tells the story of Momma who gets home from work and is very tired and exhausted. She used to work at a factory but now she is a stonecutter at the cathedral called Big John. She wakes up early to catch the bus across the way in New York City for her current job. She works all day on just one stone and little John wonders how momma will get recognition for that one stone, having no proof that momma built it.

Rockliff makes a great tale of a typical working class Afric
Appeal Characteristics: visual art, historical, informative, multi-cultural, New York

I picked up this book not expecting anything...and ended up learning a lot. Since i'm not a native New Yorker, I had no idea who or what Big John was...(I figured they were referring to a Saint). I was definitely educated on the fact that stone cutting is a dying art and the many variety of ways Big John has been used.
Age: Kindergarten - 2nd grade
Family: Mother

An exquisitely written piece of history for a younger age group about one woman's influence on a grandiose building. This book is just asking for further discussion on size and how important our small influence is in the grander scheme of things. Beyond the words, the format is larger than an average picture book, allowing it to be read aloud in a group.
I fell in love with the Cathedral of St. John the Divine's story before I encountered its sacred hymn to the world's humanity. This children's story captures what made the Cathedral both inspiring and magical to me.
Wonderful story. So much here to think about: the nature of art, the nature of accomplishment. Endnote with history & context, describing the apprenticeship program that inspired the book.
St. John the Divine Cathedral in New York has been under construction for 120 years. That's a long time, even by the standards of some of the European great cathedrals. In fact, its interior is actually larger than any of the famous cathedrals of Europe.
The story is about one period in the history of the building project, in which New Yorkers were being trained in traditional crafts, such as stonecutting. The viewpoint character's mother has been one of those apprentices, and one of the few wome
This is the kind of picture book that older readers will enjoy more than younger readers. I read it and I thought it was great to foster a conversation about patience. I liked it quite a bit. I don't know the cathedral that is referenced in the title, but I'm no New Yorker either, so that can be expected. In any case, I liked the story quite a bit
Me and Momma and Big John is a fictional story about a family and their part of the construction of the Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine in New York City. It gives some of the history of this great landmark that started in 1892 within the text as well as in the back of the book.
The Momma in this story is helping with a stone that will be placed on the Cathedral of Saint John in New York City. The story is told from the viewpoint of her son. There is a page at the end of the book that describes the history of the event being written about here. I would recommend reading those two pages first; you will enjoy the story even more when you understand the history. I gave this book 5/5 stars. The story was well written with just enough information to make it interesting and n ...more
A young man tells the story of his mother's job as a stone-cutter for the ever-continued building of The Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City.
Amy Hughes
Me and Momma and Big John is based on a mother who is a stone cutter. Her son and daughter cannot wait to see what their mother has been working. In this book, the mother is the main provider and works hard to provide for her children. The students are proud to see their mothers work.
A story of the slow process of completion of St. John's Cathedral in New York. From a child's perspective, whose mother is a stone-cutter working on "Big John". Positive themes of hard work, persistence and supporting your family. Lovely artwork.
The story is truly nothing special but the illustrations were very interesting. The use of light against dark to convey sunlight in the cathedral was very well done. Yet, it's not enough to overcome a truly ho hum story.
Such an unusual book on an unusual topic.
Covers big and small. Big world, small, distinct family; big cathedral, small important contribution; small hands all together making big, beautiful art.
A beautiful book about contemporary urban stone cutters in New York City and St. John's Cathedral. St.John's has a very special place in my life and heart.
Edward Sullivan
A wonderfully told, superbly illustrated story about a single mom who is a stonecutter working on St. John the Divine Cathedral in New York City.
Beautiful art, and a wonderful story about the "Big John" Cathedral in New York City and the countless people who have built it over the years.
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Creepy hands, dead eyes, inconsistent illustrations, and totally affected prose.
Love the story, illustrations and message. Wonderful book.
Linda Atkinson
Not seeing it. 2013 Charlotte Zolotow Award Honor Book
Meh art with a so so story line.
3 marked it as to-read
Aug 08, 2015
Sam Kyle
Sam Kyle marked it as to-read
Jun 13, 2015
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Mara Rockliff is the author of many books for children, including The Busiest Street in Town and Me and Momma and Big John, winner of the Golden Kite Award. She lives in Virginia.
More about Mara Rockliff...
Mesmerized: How Ben Franklin Solved a Mystery that Baffled All of France Gingerbread for Liberty!: How a German Baker Helped Win the American Revolution The Grudge Keeper Get Real: What Kind of World are YOU Buying? My Heart Will Not Sit Down

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