Reviews /

Is That Your Mama?

Authored by Patrice Lawrence
Illustrated by Diane Ewen
Published by Scholastic

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A book about the uniqueness of families and the love that a little girl has for her family.

Josie’s family all look different – her mum, dad, brothers, sisters and Grandparents – and soon she tires of hearing people asking, ‘Is that your mama?’ when she is out and about. She loves them all but can’t help wondering if they should look the same. When her family discover some of Josie’s drawings, they set out to reassure her that they do belong together. With the help of a colourful globe and some stars, Josie begins to see that her Mama is right and that although they may look different, they ‘shine together’. This sentiment empowers Josie to look beyond people’s questions and to make her own choices around how she responds.

Every family is special, and award-winning author Patrice Lawrence cleverly conveys this message to young readers. The character of Josie comes to life within the pages of the book and is complemented beautifully by Diane Ewen’s vibrant illustrations which serve to capture the family’s differences. Is That Your Mama? is a celebration of love, family, diversity and appreciation of others. The moment Josie imagines every gold star landing on her heart is both beautiful and uplifting as we travel on the journey with her. This is a story that will resonate with anyone who has felt that they may not belong. The powerful message around acceptance and diversity sits well alongside Mama’s innovative way of reassuring Josie that she should be proud of her family just as they are. Not only does it allow children to see themselves represented within the covers of the book, it also conveys to the reader that children have a voice.

A book to open up discussions around diversity, inclusion and authenticity. A celebration of blended families which will enable readers to empathise with the characters. Patrice Lawrence has certainly conveyed a powerful message. Due to the colourful illustrations and simple narrative, I can see this becoming a firm favourite with children in the early years and Key Stage One. Be prepared for well-thumbed pages and requests to read aloud!

Longlisted for the Spark Book Awards 2024 Picture Fiction for Early Readers Category