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What Momma Left Me
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What Momma Left Me

4.02 of 5 stars 4.02  ·  rating details  ·  106 ratings  ·  31 reviews
How is it that unsavory raw ingredients come together to form a delicious cake? What is it about life that when you take all the hard stuff and rough stuff and add in a lot of love, you still just might have a wonderful life? For Serenity, these questions rise up early when her father kills her mother, and leaves her and her brother Danny to live with their kind but strict ...more
ebook, 240 pages
Published July 1st 2010 by Bloomsbury U.S.A. Children's Books
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This is tough, but wonderful book for tweens.

Serenity's home life is an urban tragedy. When she moves in with her grandparents she tries to manage the situation at school, her personal interests and the demons of her past. Serenity struggles with all of these making some understandable, but wrong-headed decisions. Serenity's strength and growth as a character are written beautifully. Watson's narrative makes use of biblical phrases, poetry, and charm that fully absorb the reader.

Don't let the co

Ana’s Take:

I was not prepared for this book. The cover of What Momma Left Me is adorable and as such it is perhaps too misleading as the contents of this story do not match the lightness of the cover at all. This is a novel that features very heavy topics such as abuse, murder, suicide and paedophilia all bundled up in a coming of age story that manages to uplifting and hopeful despite all this tragedy. What Momma Left Me is a wonderful book.

There are certain stories that just pack a power
I really enjoyed this book it was very uplifting.
Well-written, but oh, so realistic (depressing).
It was sad that Ricky died awww
Right away you know this novel is going to put a unique and heartbreaking twist on the motherless child story. Serenity's father killed her mother. Serenity and Danny know that he did it but they think maybe he doesn't realize that he actually KILLED their mother and that's why he hasn't come back. They keep hoping their father will come back for them. I was taken by surprise by what happened concerning their father.There are signs that Danny is turning into his father, always angry and heading ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Laura de Leon
This book is a simple but beautiful story of a thirteen year old girl struggling to make sense of her life after the death of her mother.

The book is very readable, with a main character (Serenity) that struggles with all the issues of being a teen, as well as the bigger challenge of her mother's death.

I really enjoyed the bits from Serenity's journal at the beginning of each chapter as she uses something from her writing class to begin to develop a voice as a writer.

Serenity struggles with her
Mostly a very sweet book about a 13 year old girl and her 12 year old brother who lose their mother and go to live with their grandparents. I liked a lot of things about this book. The people in the book are African American - but with no self-consciousness - they simply are people and oh, yes, they are black. I rarely find books that treat race so offhandedly and easily. The people in this book are religious, but again without any self consciousness. It would have been really easy for me to be ...more
Renee Watson hit a home run with this book. It takes a very disturbing situation (the murder of Serenity's mother) and explores the emotions and impacts of the event on the girl, her brother, and her mother's parents. Disney would have said this book has "heart". Lots of poetry explored in the guise of a school assignment where Serenity starts chapters with a different type and example of poetry and figurative language. Serenity struggles to find a semblance of normality and to keep her younger ...more
When I first picked up this book I thought it was a juvenile book because of the cover art, but it's a intense read. It's the story of Serenity who is 13 yrs old and the tragic secrets she keeps for her family and friends. My description is fairly mild because going into more detail gives the plot away. It's based in Portland, OR and steeped in Christian faith. The religiousness is a bit much but not necessarily distracting. I really liked it but I would have a hard time recommending it to a tee ...more
This book has it all: A story of meaningful suffering that anyone (ten or older) can appreciate with clever poetry and endearing characters. It's about the strength that's there even when you cannot protect yourself, and the strength to speak your truth for the one who taught you to keep secrets. The references to Maya Angelou heighten the wisdom that the protagonist, Serenity, endures to understand and forgive some of the most awful yet typical experiences of a lot of kids. I would love to shar ...more
Loved it. There was so much love in a time of great lost.
Serenity's world is torn apart when her mother dies and her father disappears. She is forced to live with her grandparents, who run a church. Serenity is faced with tough decisions at school, as she lives in a rough neighborhood.

This is a great, honest book for middle schoolers. Watson integrates poetry terms to help the readers learn about poetry while they read. I can see this as a great book for middle school teachers to use while they teach a poetry unit. It gives concrete examples of writin
Linda Jackson
My eleven-year-old daughter read this book first, and she couldn't put it down. She read it within 24 hours. After I began reading it, I saw why she couldn't put it down. The storytelling is wonderful. I really enjoyed this book and the way Ms. Watson tells the truth in her writing. She doesn't hold back. She allows her characters to have tragedy, feel pain, fall in love with the wrong people, make mistakes, etc. This is a great book and I highly recommend it for middle-school kids, boys and gir ...more
Serenity doubts that God listens and loves after her father kills her mother and her brother starts making bad choices. Serenity's loving grandparents, with their strong faith, are her anchor during this tumultuous time. I liked the honest questioning of faith, Serenity's attraction to Jay, the "bad boy," and getting a glimpse into Jay's difficult life. Serenity's decision to intervene and help save her friend from sexual abuse adds another dimension to this poetic, issue-filled story.
Too bad the girl on the cover looks so young: this book is really for the upper end of the middle grade spectrum. It deals with some tough issues -- abuse, death of a parent, hustling to get by and more. But it's also about the love between families and friends, and about a girl discovering poetry. Serenity is an amazingly strong and relate-able character who you keep rooting for the whole way through. Super well written, I loved this one.
The cover on this book is really unfortunate - it makes the book look like it's for 4th or 5th graders when I think the target audience should probably be 7th or 8th graders. Despite the cover, I really liked the book. Definitely some tough issues in the book (murder of a parent, domestic violence, sexual abuse, shoplifting, etc.). There's also a lot about church so it definitely has a Christian bent to the book.
Kristina Evans
I really enjoyed this book because it followed a young teenagers who has lost her mother and her father and her brother is following a life of destructions. She falls for this boy that is setting her brother on these ways but yet she finds herself and The Lord and learn the importance of family and friendships. I suggest that you read this book.
Serenity has a whole life full of secrets, most of them hard. Now that she and her brother are living with their grandparents, is there any way for their life to get better? Martine has losts of hard questions which are delt with well in this book of growing up and making choices.
In this story 13 year old Serenity struggles with the reality of her mother's death, was it at the hands of her father? Her life with her grandparents teach her about love and trust and family. Personally, I thought the text was predictable and simplistic.
Good book for middle grade readers. There are quite a few heavy themes in it that, though never explicit, could be a lot for some readers. For readers who have experienced similar things, it could be good bibliotherapy.
Overall this book just didn't grab me the way I thought it would. However, I do think that Serenity's story of how she starts over after loosing her mother would appeal to the author's intended audience.
Brenda Kahn
Wowzers! This one caught me by surprise. Picked it from deep inside TOM, not knowing anything about it or what to expect. Started out liking it, then wham! What an understated yet powerful story.
This was a very sad but amazing book. I read it in two days it was so amazing. Mrs.Watson gives great emotional detail in this book and I had a hard time putting it down
One of those books that tugged on my heart. I felt so sad for Serenity and Danny and so thankful they had people to lean on.

Recommended for 6th grade
Check out my blog on June 24th to see what I thought of this book and which novel is advancing in the Nerds Heart YA tournament!
Edward Sullivan
Moving story about coping with loss.
This book is very sad
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Renée Watson is the author of the children’s picture book, A Place Where Hurricanes Happen (Random House, June 2010), which was featured on NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams. Her middle grade novel, What Momma Left Me debuted as the New Voice for 2010 in middle grade fiction by The Independent Children's Booksellers Association.

Renée’s one woman show, Roses are Red, Women are Blue, debuted at N
More about Renée Watson...
Harlem's Little Blackbird This Side of Home A Place Where Hurricanes Happen Rethinking Popular Culture and Media Clinical Trials Explained

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