Sarah's Reviews > A Chair for My Mother

A Chair for My Mother by Vera B. Williams
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Jul 07, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: literacy-course

Lexile: 640
Age level: Upper elementary
Genre: Picture book, contemporary realistic fiction
Award: Caldecott Award

-Main Characters: Rosa, her mother, and her grandmother
-Point of View: from Rosa
-Setting: New York, the diner, and apartment

A Chair for My Mother tells the story of a young girl who is raised by a single mother who works long hours at a diner called the Blue Tile. She often visits her mother, helping to wash the salts and peppers and fill up the ketchup bottles. She is compensated for her work, but quickly puts her earnings into a large jar that her and her mother keep at home. Any time the girl finds money or is given a coin by her grandma, she puts the money in the jar. At the same time, her mother empties all of her tips into the jar as well. It is revealed that as the girl and her mother were walking to their apartment one day, there was a large fire that ruined their entire home. When that happened, the community and family came together to donate household items such as rugs, tables, chairs, and beds. They surrounded her and her mother with love and support, but still, the girl and her mother did not have a large, comfy chair to recline in after a long day's work. So, her mother had the idea of putting any extra change into the large jar, and as soon as it was full, they would cash it for dollar bills and go to the furniture store to pick out a soft chair with pretty roses on it. The grandmother, the girl, and her mother diligently emptied any money they acquired or any money they were able to save into the jar, and eventually it filled up to the brim. The story ends with the family going to pick out their anticipated comfy chair, and the mother is finally able to relax after long days of being on her feet.

Main ideas:
This story emphasizes themes of community, persistence, and family

-Recommended/Not recommended… Why? / Personal Reaction
I recommend this book, but I might suggest a writing activity where students write an alternative ending. I like the book because it is relatable and stresses the importance of community.
I do feel, though, that it's lacking depth in some ways. I would have liked to see the story extended with more details.

Satisfying concluding statement: I recommend this book for lessons that discuss community presence and perseverance.
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