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A Chair for My Mother (1982)

di Vera B. WILLIAMS

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5,0482401,787 (4.23)14
A child, her waitress mother, and her grandmother save dimes to buy a comfortable armchair after all their furniture is lost in a fire.
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Warning for parents: book contains memories and discussions about a house fire - nobody is hurt, but some children may find it scary or disturbing. Read it first and think about how to approach it with your child before sharing it.

Wonderful story full of great illustrations and opportunities to talk with your kid! I love the theme of saving up money for something you really want/need. Also the community and family support after the fire makes for great conversation and immediately lessens the stress or fear that may occur to small listeners or readers.

( )
  suzannekmoses | May 21, 2022 |
An awesome story! And multicultural to show students that we are not all the same ( )
  karlynnbraddick | Apr 27, 2022 |
This is a beautifully written and thoughtfully illustrated book that reflects the life of hard-working individuals, in a single-parent, multi-generational home, lived in by three women. A family endures painful experiences of love, loss and hard-work, which is naturally and intuitively observed by the young female child. The family works hard to save their money and buy a special chair, an indicator of happiness, and well-being for their sweet family. This is an incredible story to open a window into other home-life experiences, that many children have in lower-income communities, that not everyone is aware of. This book defies stereotypes and the narrative of a single-story by showcasing hard working females, and a community coming together to support a family in need. This book can lead to children’s involvement in their own community by supporting a Habitat for Humanity project, donating to a local women’s shelter, or hosting a lemonade stand to raise funds for a family who experienced a house fire.
This book is inclusive, supports social justice and allows for critical conversations about community support. Some quotes that are memorable are: “We are going to get the best chair in the whole world”, and “Sometimes my mama is laughing when she comes home from work. Sometimes she’s so tired she falls asleep while I count the money into piles.” ( )
  oflanagan.kelsie | Mar 26, 2022 |
Atender knockout—from the author/illustrator of, most recently and auspiciously, Three Days on a River in a Red Canoe. "My mother works as a waitress in the Blue Tile Diner," the little-girl narrator begins—and to the accompaniment of vividly colored, direct, proto-primitive pictures, the real-life-like story comes out. At home is a glass jar, into which goes all Mama's change from tips and the money Grandma saves whenever she gets a bargain at the market. "When we can't get a single other coin into the jar, we are going to take out all the money and go and buy a chair. . . . A wonderful, beautiful, fat, soft armchair." This is because—we see it as she tells it—all the family's furniture burned up in a fire; and though neighbors and friends and relatives brought replacements (a buttercup-and-spring-green spread to contrast with the charred gray gloom just preceding), "we still have no sofas and no big chairs." Only straight, hard kitchen chairs. Then the jar is full; the coins are rolled in paper wrappers, and exchanged for bills; and "Mama and Grandma and I" go shopping for the chair. This last sequence is a glory: Grandma feeling like Goldilocks, trying out all the chairs; the very rose-covered chair "we were all dreaming of," plump in the middle of the floor; the little girl and her mother, snuggled in it together. . . and she can reach right up "and turn out the light if I fall asleep in her lap." It's rare to find so much vitality, spontaneity, and depth of feeling in such a simple, young book.
  CDJLibrary | Feb 23, 2022 |
A little girl tells the story of how she and her mother and grandmother are all saving little by little to buy a large, comfy chair. They have a huge jar that they are slowly filling with change. This seems kind of silly at first until its revealed that the family recently lost everything in a fire. They are forced to live with her mother's sister while they try to rebuild the lives that they lost. Her mother now goes to work all day and has nowhere to rest when she comes home. In that context, a huge, comfy chair could be all the luxury in the world. When the jar is too heavy for the little girl to lift, they take the money to the bank and exchange it for bills so they can go chair shopping. When they finally get the perfect chair and get it home, it seems like a signal that the family is starting to rebuild their lives. ( )
  GIJason82 | Feb 21, 2022 |
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to the memory of my mother, Rebecca Poringer Baker
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My mother works as a waitress in the Blue Tile Diner.
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A child, her waitress mother, and her grandmother save dimes to buy a comfortable armchair after all their furniture is lost in a fire.

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