Friday, February 24, 2012

Book #55: Mama, Do You Love Me? by Barbara M. Joosse, Illustrated by Barbara Lavallee

Image from OpenLibrary.org

A small Inuit girl asks, “Mama, do you love me?” Her mother answers that she does. But the little girl wants to know how much? How long? What if? Through it all, mama reassures her Dear One that, “Still, I would love you.” All children will occasionally doubt if their parents love them, but this universal story will reassure them that even if they make mistakes, their parents will still love them.

The characters in the book are Inuit and the text and illustrations are filled with cultural references. These are explained in more detail in the glossary at the back of the book. Although the setting is very specific, the emotions and ideas expressed are universal, making this a wonderful introduction to Inuit culture.

Since there are some vocabulary words that may be new to kids, you may want to start off my explaining a few of them so that kids will recognize them when you read the story. Save some of the words to explain as you read through the book, stopping to pause and see if kids can guess what they mean. Afterwards, you can go back through the book and talk about the words one more time to make sure everyone has a chance to commit it to memory.

Joosse has created her own teacher’s guide for grades 2-4, which is a great resource. Although the ideas are targeted for this specific age group, many of them can be modified to be used with younger or older children. The guide also contains suggestions for connections with Joosse’s companion book, Papa, Do You Love Me?

Additionally, the Virtual Museum of Canada provides extensive information on Inuit culture, traditions, games, watercraft, etc. The webpages are meant for older children, so I suggest exploring the website on your own to cull information to share with your group.

This is a wonderful gift for Mother’s Day, a baby shower, or for an older sibling who is having a difficult time sharing mom and dad with their brothers and sisters.

-Amy

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