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A Chair for My Mother (The Rosa Books #1)

4.2  ·  Rating Details ·  19,822 Ratings  ·  838 Reviews
After their home is destroyed by a fire, Rosa, her mother and grandmother save their coins to buy a really comfortable chair for all to enjoy.
Paperback, 25th Anniversary Edition; Reading Rainbow Book, 32 pages
Published January 23rd 2007 by Greenwillow Books (first published January 1st 1982)
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A Chair for my Mother is simply beautiful, both ascetically and morally, philosophically. Engagingly, with ever-present but understated emotionality, and thus, without too much exaggeration and pathos, it features both struggle/pain and joy. Rosa's family is poor (and I think Rosa's mother is a single parent), and has suffered a terrible loss due to a destructive fire that has basically left them without material possessions (including a comfortable chair for Rosa's mother to relax on when she c ...more
Katie Carson
Oct 24, 2009 Katie Carson rated it it was amazing
Author Vera B. Williams does a wonderful job telling the tale of a young girl and her mother and their dedication to restoring their lives back to normal following a fire that burned all their possessions in their home. The idea of having your home and catch on fire and losing all your possessions is a fear that many of us have. It's a terrible circumstance that everyone can consider how they would handle and begin to rebuild their life after. This common fear and questioning make this book a pe ...more
Oct 29, 2007 Malbadeen rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: people that detest the phrase "begining, middle
A book about a chair!
It's about a chair!
A house has burnt down and people have jobs and etc, etc, but the book is about a chair and the people that sit in it.
I LOVE this book!
I also love this book because it flies in the face of the ever present argument that we force the "beginning, middle, end" and "first, next, then, finally" format on students.
"HA! SEE, SEE what i mean"?!?! I want to say when i read this book. I want to say it to everyone everywhere. See, even in kids books. It's there, th
Apr 04, 2012 Fjóla rated it liked it
Recommends it for: 6 - 8 year olds, learning about altruism
Maybe this is a necessary read, but it is not a very enjoyable one. I would actually save it until ready to tackle a plethora of social issues with your child. I would have thought the story was more dated, but no, it's only from 1982 (although you could say 30 years is a long, long time) and I suppose we should presume the issues presented in the story are still to date. It is a bit hard to picture though, in this age of everybody buying all their heart's desires in a whim - on credit(!) The st ...more
Jun 28, 2011 Kristen rated it really liked it
A Chair for My Mother
Reading Level: Easy Reader, Ages 4-8
Genre: Fiction, Realistic Fiction

This is a sweet story intended for elementary age students. The story touches on themes such as family life, saving, hard work, and hardship to an extent. The story is told from the perspective of a little girl who lives with her mother. The mom appears to be a single mother with close extended family that lives close by, with the grandmother being one of the three main characters. The story be
Toree Howe
Nov 11, 2007 Toree Howe rated it really liked it
•This story is about a tragedy and how the family is coping with the aftermath. It is about saving for something special and the importance of friends and family.
•Many children don’t have everything they need. I like how this story gives an example of one little girl but focuses on the important things in her life.
•This can be used with children to start a discussion of the important things in their lives and how it is important to do things for others.

Read aloud for 1st through 3rd. Used to le
Oct 10, 2007 Kelly rated it it was amazing
Shelves: kiddies
This is another one of my favorites. For years I dreamed of saving a great big jar of coins. Only now am I actually doing it (with the Staffer of course). Anyway, there's a little girl, and there's a fire, and she lives with her mom and grandma, and her mom is so tired after work and has to sit in a kitchen chair to rest, so they save up all their coins and...
Cortnee Hill
Feb 10, 2016 Cortnee Hill rated it it was amazing
Genre: Realistic Fiction
Reading Level: Early Reader; Ages 3-8; 1st-3rd Grade

This book is filled with images of family and love, accompanied by pages of vivid color and detailed illustrations that truly captivate the eyes of young readers. In short, this book is about a mother, daughter, and grandmother who experience the loss of items due to a fire and how they work together as a family and community to pull the pieces of their lives back together. While this is a simple tale of love between fam
Paige Scott
Sep 09, 2016 Paige Scott rated it really liked it
Shelves: book-summaries
1) This book is about a little girl that has been through a lot in her life so far. The house that her, her mother, and her grandmother lived in burnt up, and they lost everything. All of the neighbors were kind enough to bring them everything they could for their new apartment, however they still had no chair. Therefore, the mother and daughter collected a big jar and would fill it with coins everytime they got some, and everytime the mother would come home from work with money. The jar finally ...more
Mar 08, 2015 Tavia rated it really liked it
A Chair for my Mother by Vera B. Williams, is a story about a little girl, her mother, and her grandmother. The story is told in the little girls point of view. She begins by informing the reader how hard her mother and her work to save money, and grandma often chips in. The narrator continues to explain why they are saving their money in a giant jar for a special chair. She begins to tell the story of how her family home burned down. She reveals that after the unfortunate fire several people th ...more
Sherrie Gallagher
Sep 01, 2013 Sherrie Gallagher rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 23, 2016 Laurie rated it it was amazing
I believe this is a great diversity/realistic story to read to young children. It talks about a family that home caught fire and they lost everything inside. Although neighbors and friends were donating things for them the family decided to come together and save to buy themselves a big comfortable chair. They really wanted it for the mother because she works all day in a diner standing and the grandmother and daughter really wanted her too come home and relax on something very comfortable. So t ...more
Carolyn Cirasole
Sep 11, 2015 Carolyn Cirasole rated it really liked it

Vera B. Williams set the tone of love and comfort in this descriptive children's book about a mother and daughter who experience the loss of matericalistic things. She vividly describes how the character, the little girl, remembers that particular day her house went ablaze. She remembers the order of events leading up to the fire and she remembers her feelings and concerns for her Grandmother's whereabouts during this chaotic time. What I especially enjoyed about this story was h
L-Crystal Wlodek
A Chair for My Mother is for kindergarten-third grade students and is a Caldecott Honor book (1983). This book is about a girl named Rosa, her mother, and grandmother who live together and live from paycheck to paycheck after their home and possessions were destroyed by a fire. They decide to save any extra money in a big jar until they can afford to buy one big comfortable chair that all three of them can enjoy.

This story is heartwarming and tender and has themes of love, family, strength, and
Christi Dukette
May 16, 2016 Christi Dukette rated it really liked it
After a devastating fire in their last apartment destroyed many of their belongings, leaving nothing but piles of ashes, a single mother and her daughter begin to rebuild. Friends and neighbors have helped them by bringing them the basic furniture and things they need to their new apartment. Because her mother works so hard, on her feet all day, the little girl wants her mother to be able to rest in a soft, comfortable chair after long days at the Blue Tile Diner. Grandmother collects the change ...more
Catherine Miner
Nov 14, 2016 Catherine Miner rated it it was amazing
A Chair for My Mother is a realistic fiction children’s story about a little girl named Rosa, who lives with her mother who is a waitress. Rosa goes to her mother’s restaurant and helps out to earn money to add to a jar they have at home. The previous year, there was a fire in their apartment and Rosa and her mother lost all of their possessions. Their neighborhood came together to help replace most of their belongings, but they still did not have a chair for her mother to relax in after a long ...more
L12_luisespinoza Espinoza
This is a heartwarming story about a little girl, her mother, and grandmother that live together in an apartment. A fire destroys their apartment along with all their possessions and when they are able to move into a new apartment, their neighbors bring them furniture, food, and kitchenware. After all the donations are given, they decide to save coins from her mother's tips from working at the Blue Tile Diner to purchase "A wonderful, beautiful, fat, soft armchair". The little girl also contribu ...more
Sarah Jane
Nov 12, 2016 Sarah Jane rated it really liked it
After a fire burned up their home, Rosa, her momma, and her Gramma have to work hard to get back on their feet. But now their feet are tired and they need a nice new comfy chair to relax in. Little by little with each coin dropped into a jar, Rosa, her momma, and her grandmother get closer and closer to buying a brand new comfy chair for their new apartment.

This realistic children’s picture book teaches children about the importance of working together and saving toward a goal. When Rosa, her m
May 14, 2015 Jorge rated it really liked it
“A Chair for my Mother” a beautifully written and illustrated realistic fiction picture book by Vera B. Williams. It was awarded the Caldecott Honor by the American Library Association. It is a story about family who experienced an unfortunate event where they lost everything in their home due to a fire. A mother works as a waitress doing all she can to make ends meet. She brings home the tips to place into a jar in hopes to one day buy a big comfy chair for the family. What makes this book real ...more
Matthew Ciccarone
Nov 13, 2016 Matthew Ciccarone rated it liked it
A chair for my mother is about a girl who works with her mom and saves their tips up in a jar. They are saving for a chair, because mother gets tired and wants a good chair. They lost most of what they had in a fire but were assisted in relocating. Finally, they save up enough to buy the chair they were dreaming of. The story takes place mostly in the girl’s home, and the idea of saving up for something new is very realistic and relatable. They find significance and purpose through their hard wo ...more
May 08, 2016 Jenny rated it really liked it
A heartwarming story of a young girl, her mother and grandmother. They have lost nearly everything in a fire and so they begin saving all their extra change to buy a chair. It takes a long time (and a lot of dedication and, I'm certain, a lot of self control) to save enough money to buy the perfect chair.

This has colorful illustrations that complement the story perfectly. I love that it shows a warm, loving relationship between the girl, her mother and grandmother. It also shows a caring communi
Kendall Hagerty
Nov 15, 2016 Kendall Hagerty rated it it was amazing
A Chair for My Mother by Vera B. Williams is a story about a family whose house burned down in a fire which forced the daughter and her mother to move in with their family members. Because of the fire, the small family does not have many valuables. The mother and the daughter decide to save their coins for a brand new comfortable chair. The girl has the exact chair in mind of what she wants and the color it will be.

I think this story relates to realism because of the event that happened. This fa
Nov 27, 2010 Laura rated it it was amazing
This book is enjoyable for so many reasons. A young girl is trying to help her mother save up coins in a jar to buy a comfortable chair for her family. This book is perfect for my school. Children from low income families can relate to the fact that things don't always come easy and some things we have to work hard for. The family also looks hispanic. This also suits my community. Often children have a hard time relating to books without someone from their own culture. How nice to see a positive ...more
Nov 06, 2016 Emily rated it really liked it
Shelves: rdg-4050
1. This book is about a little family, a chair, and a big jar. This family, composed of a little girl, her mother, and the girl's grandmother, have experienced a house fire and are trying to save up for a nice comfy chair instead of the kitchen chairs they have right now. The little girl's mother is a waitress, and every afternoon, she comes home and they count her tips and put them in the big jar. When the big jar fills up, it's chair time.
2. Ages 4-8
3. Money, Family, Carpet Read
4. I think any
Reading Level: Preschool -2nd grade
Audio/video format - Part of the Reading Rainbow video series. An authentic video representation of the original story and pictures without unnesessary animation.
A young grade-school aged girl narrates this story about her family losing their home to a fire. Family and friends come together with donated items for their new home and then the girl, her mother and grandmother work together to save and raise money for a comfy chair. The illustrations are a perfect
Nov 10, 2016 Brittany rated it it was amazing
A Chair For My Mother is the sweet story of a child recanting the story of how her mother, grandmother and her lost their home and all of their belonging in a fire. All the little girl wants to do is help to find a new chair for the three of them to share but mostly for the comfort of her mother and grandmother.

While I was reading this story I just kept thinking about how my 3 year old daughter always wants to help me do things, this is something she would want to do as well. I think that Vera W
Aryiel Vopalensky
Nov 12, 2016 Aryiel Vopalensky rated it it was amazing
In A Chair For My Mother a young girl and her family save up coins in hopes of buying a new chair. After their old apartment burned down they were left with no furniture but with the coin jar they were finally able to afford their dream chair. The story is a realistic perspective of financial troubles as the family is forced to start over in a new apartment. With the help of friends and family they could start a new life and eventually they got their rose covered chair. The art style has thin li ...more
Feb 04, 2009 Dolly rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: parents reading with their children
This is a fantastic story. It's a heartwarming story with a lot of depth for a children's book.

It teaches about saving without being too preachy and it also is a great example about giving generously to those who need it. Our girls enjoyed this story and I loved it.

This book was selected as one of the books for the May 2016- Caldecott Honors discussion at the Picture-Book Club in the Children's Books Group here at Goodreads.
When I get to the end of A Chair for My Mother, I want to immediately flip back to the beginning and read it over again. There is just something about the story, of a little girl and her mother saving up--slowly--to buy a chair to replace the one they lost in a fire that destroyed their house, that gets right into my heart. It would be an excellent choice for a discussion of needs and wants, as well as describing levels of community (e.g. family, friends, neighborhood). The vibrant illustrations ...more
Pablo Coppola
Nov 15, 2016 Pablo Coppola rated it it was amazing
This story exposes real-world situations through the lens of a child. This realistic fictional story centers around a family in financial hardship seeking to purchase a new chair. Throughout the story, the author brings you inside the mind of a child through her narration. As a children’s book, it focuses on the optimistic mindset one should have when encountered with difficult situations. The illustrations are relatable to the reader as they expressed ethnicity. The multicultural literature wil ...more
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Goodreads Review 1 1 Nov 15, 2016 07:19PM  
Realistic Fiction 1 2 Jun 03, 2016 08:40PM  
MCC Children's Li...: A Chair for My Mother 1 1 Apr 04, 2012 06:48PM  
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Graduate of Black Mountain College, North Carolina, where she majored in graphic art. In her own words, she has "done graphic art, school teaching, children-raising [she has two daughters and a son], has run a bakery and been a cook in schools and restaurants." (from back flap of book)

Vera B. Williams is the winner of the 2009 NSK Neustadt Prize for Children's Literature.

You can read much more ab
More about Vera B. Williams...

Other Books in the Series

The Rosa Books (4 books)
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  • Music, Music for Everyone
  • A Chair for Always

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