Tuesday, May 25, 2021

The girl and her mama

Tuesdays at TWT!
 "Can we read girl and her mama?" Rainbow places a chubby little hand on my knee and gazes up expectantly, locking her blue eyes onto mine as if she's trying to channel maximum cuteness.

"Ummm, which one?" There are way too many books that fit this description.

"Girl and her mama! It's new! It's a present..."

"Ummm..." New? Is there a story about a girl and her mom in one of the most recent issues of one of their Spanish magazines? I want to figure out what book she wants, but I can't come up with one...

"The name is a song?" She crinkles her eyes.

"OH! Yes! Your Name is a Song! I got that for Sis for her birthday! You want to read Your Name is a Song?" I got that for your sister because her name is beautiful and often mispronounced, but sure, of course!

"Yeah! Yeah! Yeah!" she squeals in increasingly high registers as she hop-gallops in place in excitement. I pull her onto my lap and she runs her tiny fingers across the front cover. "There's the girl! And mama!" She spins halfway around to gaze up at me again with that crinkly smile. "Like Mama and [her name]!"

"That's right, honey bun, just like Mama and you." I give her a squeeze and kiss her hair.

She loves the cover & all the illustrations! <3

Settling back against me in her floppy reading position, she narrates the wordless first pages herself. "There's the kids, playing. There's the girl. She's not playing." Then she happily points out whenever the mom and girl are together, little finger shooting out in delight. "There's the girl! There's the mama!"

When the names come, she tries out the first few, grinning and wiggling as if savoring them in her mouth as we tap our feet to their rhythm together. "Olumide! Kotone!" She smiles when I pat her chest and tries out "Ahlam", then giggles when I poke her in the belly for Ngozi. 

The singing part gets her cackling and squealing as we sing "Miizzz Annnnnndersonnnnnnn," Bawawawab!", and "Kooooraaaaa Jalimuuuuuso" together. 

After we read it, she demands to see the video of the author pronouncing the names, which we'd watched after the first time we read it. "Hear the names, on Mommy's phone?" She tries out a few more names as we listen, and often interrupts to ask, "The girl? the girl?" When Kora Jalimuso comes, I point it out and rewind so we can hear it again.

That night, as she talks herself to sleep in her crib, I can hear her trying out names from around the world. "Bilqisss! Ju-long!"

And a couple mornings later, when I can't quite figure out what she's saying in a singsong voice in the monitor, I'm astonished when I realize that she's singing, "Koooraaa Jalimuuso" to herself. 

Nearly every day since, she's toddled over at some point to ask again. "Can we read... the name is a song?! It have the girl and her mama!"

And every time we read it, she interacts with it in nearly the same way: loving the pictures of the girl and her mom and connecting them to us. (One day, she even points out to me that the girl and her mama have matching flowers on their bags!) Trying out the new sounds in her mouth. Dancing and wiggling, smiling and giggling. Delighting in the rhythm, the musicality, the pride, the joy, and the beauty of kids of different colors and names with different sounds. 

Definitely music to the ears of this mama and her girl. 

Kora Jalimuso's name song moment!
(the explanation for this name in the back matter just takes it up another level!)

Thank you, Jamilah Thompkins-Bigelow, for such a beautiful story honoring and lifting up the children (like my students and Rainbow's big Sis) who are tired of their names getting "stuck" in others' mouths. Thank you, Luisa Uribe, for bringing so much beauty into the illustrations, from the vibrant body language to the matching flowers my 2yo noticed before me, the hair details, and the whispered thread of"salaams" stretching between the girl and her mama's mouths before school. I'm grateful to see my girls delighting in a book that is so rich in so many ways. 

1 comment:

  1. That books is a treasure!

    My son's name, Ari, is Hebrew. I never realized a three-letter name could be so mispronounced. It's beyond frustrating. I forsee a life of him correcting people (unless we move to a more Jewish place) when they mispronounce it.


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