Traditional Thursdays: A Chair For My Mother

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A Chair For My Mother by Vera B. Williams, first published in 1982, is about a family who works hard to save money to buy a beautiful chair covered in velvet with roses all over it.

The daughter, Rosa, helps her mother out at the Blue Tile Diner after school. Her mother comes home exhausted most days and in need of a place to rest. Her grandmother is old and needs a spot to prop her feet up. Rosa, her mother, and her grandmother all work hard day after day, saving their coins and adding anything extra to a big jar. Once the jar is full, they will shop for a new chair!

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Rosa tells the reader about how, about a year before, her family had lost everything in a fire. They had to start over completely. Thankfully, they were welcomed graciously by their new community. The neighborhood came together to provide spare furniture for their family – extra chairs, a bed, a table, curtains, a rug…everyone was so kind.

Finally, after saving and saving, the jar was full! Rosa, her mother, and her grandmother were finally able to buy their beautiful chair. 

f49299a2a7f65dcb55c3bce8b08874c0This book was written for children 4-8 years old, but it can be enjoyed by both children and adults. This touching story contains some darker themes such as loss and stress, but also emphasizes the importance of community, family, kindness, and love. This book features a more diverse family experience compared to most children’s books; this family is a blue collar family, the mother works at the Blue Tile Diner, and Rosa often helps out with the family chores after school. It is important for children to be introduced to different family experiences and to see families like their own in literature.

This picture book has beautiful illustrations and was awarded a Caldecott Honor award. The illustrations are detailed, colorful, and bright. They are whimsical and appeal to the eyes of a child, but are not messy. The image of the chair covered in velvet with roses all over it is memorable and meaningful. The chair symbolizes a family’s love and the comfort of a home. This story is touching and beautiful, and it can be enjoyed by children ages 4-99! I highly recommend this wonderful story to any family.

-Madi Goeringer

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