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A Chair for My Mother

(The Rosa Books #1)

4.21  ·  Rating details ·  25,297 ratings  ·  1,032 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 1982)
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Cassedy Burns Book jacket says Rosa, but I never see any place in the book where they use her name.

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Average rating 4.21  · 
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 ·  25,297 ratings  ·  1,032 reviews

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The artwork looks like watercolors. I loved the colored backgrounds and the flower covered armchair. This is a sweet story of a family saving up to buy a new chair after they lost their stuff in a house fire. The mother is a waitress. It’s a sweet story of hard work paying off.

The niece loved the chair and she thought the story was good. She gave this 3 stars. The nephew didn’t care much for the story. He doesn’t really save money. He gets a little and spends it, so he didn’t notice how long the
Vera B. William's A Chair for my Mother is simply, utterly beautiful, both ascetically and morally, philosophically. Engagingly, with an ever-present but still delightfully 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 that Rosa's mother might also be also a single parent), and has suffered a terrible loss due to a destructive fire that has basically left them without material possessions ( ...more
Oct 29, 2007 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
Katie Carson
Oct 24, 2009 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
Jun 28, 2011 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
Paige Scott
Sep 09, 2016 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
Apr 04, 2012 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
Oct 10, 2007 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... ...more
Reread this favorite to go along with our virtue study of honor. Sweet story of how a little girl honors her hard working mother.
Cortnee Hill
Feb 10, 2016 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
Mar 08, 2015 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 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 23, 2016 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
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 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
Feb 04, 2009 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.

This book was also selected as one of the books for the May 2018 - Bost
Toree Howe
Nov 11, 2007 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
Hayley DeRoche
There are so many things to love about this classic: the portrayal of a house fire and its aftermath and the way neighbors ought to help each other; a family that experiences routine financial tightness; a multigenerational family living together...the list goes on. The story being told from the point-of-view of a child is still compelling and rich, and the payoff at the end is sweet and satisfying. It's a classic for a reason. ...more
Jinya Situ
Apr 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I like this book because we can teach young children how to care about their mother. This book is telling about Rosa ,her mother and grandmother save money for buying a comfortable chair after their house burned in a fire. I think children will say things like this my mommy will lay on our comfortable chair after she finished her job.i would ask children question like this do you love your mother,how you make your mother feel happy.
This is such a beautiful story! This has so many different topics like family, hardships,hardwork, love and generosity.
This family faced a tragedy as they lost their belongings in a fire. Rosa, her mother and grandmother save a their loose change to purchase a comfy chair they can all use. They are so dedicated in restoring their lives after such a tragic event.
Dec 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-aloud, childrens
My daughter received this book for Christmas and we read it aloud together. A lovely story about hardship, tragedy, yet about love, hard work, savings, with an eventual happy ending. We both enjoyed this one.
Shiela Escamilla
Sep 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
A story of a girl who had lost her home and how the family had worked together to save money to buy this new furniture, a soft chair!

This book is a caldecott winning book as it reflects the lives/ experiences of different children from various socio- economic.

The character is relatable to young children that she narrates her experience with so much details of what they were doing previous to the fire, what had happened during the fire and the family plan to buy the chair. Rosa describes how her
Sarah Snyder
Jan 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: educ-542
A Chair for My Mother tells the story of a little girl who lives with her grandmother and her mother. The mother works at a diner and the little girl often joins her, both saving their tips and money in a jar. The reader soon learns that all of their belongings were destroyed in a fire, and though their neighbors helped them with food and new furnishings, the one thing they are missing is a comfortable chair for mama to sit in when she finishes her day at work. When the jar is full, they will bu ...more
Lauren Johnson
Vera B. Williams’ A Chair for My Mother is a beautiful story of the three strong women. The story of hardship and struggle is told by a young girl. The young girl describes to the readers how her mother, grandmother, and herself have been saying money to purchase a chair. We learn that the family lost everything they had in an apartment fire. The family is able to save and finally have “A Chair for My Mother” at the end of the story. This realistic fiction text is so much more than a story of a ...more
Angela Barta
Jan 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This Caldecott honor book, A Chair for My Mother, by Vera Williams, is a wonderful story about a young girl raised to acknowledge, that no matter what adversity you are faced with, there is always hope. After a devastating house fire, the narrator and her single-parent family, experiences the generosity of others. Her mother’s boss gives the family pots and pans, her grandfather gives them a rug, their neighbors give them a bed, while her aunt and cousin give the family home made red and white c ...more
Feb 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books
A Chair for My Mother is a story told from a young girls perspective about how her and her family are saving up money to buy a big comfy chair, after loosing all of their belongings during a fire. This book was awarded the Caldecott Medal in 1983.
I would recommend this book to the lower grade levels, as its story and images really capture the readers attention. This picture book has vibrant images and I feel that if it did not have text, the images would still be able to tell the story. I would
Haley Black
May 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: free-choice-pb
This book depicts the story about 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. I would recommend that children in 1st grade-5th grade read this book because it touches on themes such as family life, saving, hard work, and hardship to an extent.
Susan Wheeler
A story that allows a child to see the hard times that some families go though, and the importance of working through it as a family. The story talks about how a little girl and her mom and grandma lose everything to a house fire, but how they make the best out of it and work hard to get a reclining chair for her hard working single mother.
Esther Soberanis
Text-to Teaching Connection

A Chair For Your Mother by Vera Williams is a great book to teach 3rd-grade Cause and Effect and to discuss need verse wants. It can also utilize as a guided reading book or a read aloud. You can also integrate Math lessons, where students each get a jar with some coins. Students will then sorts the coins by value. Students will then given a worksheet to show how many ways can you make $1.00 from the coins they have. Then students will be asked to total up all the coin
Jul 28, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Life changer. This is one of my favorite picture books because it is one that led me to become a writer of children's books.

I first read it when I was an adult in college. I would sneak down to the back far corner of the college library where a less known section of children's books was shelved. I didn't know they were partly there because we had a course on that topic at the college, but also because of the very small community surrounding the college used it as well. I remember at least three
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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

Other books in the series

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

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