Chris Soentpiet illustrator & author of childrens' books
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Chris K. Soentpiet-Profile-author, Illustrator of childrens' books
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Momma, Where Are You From? (Children's Book)
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Price: $16.95

In answer to her daughter's question, "Momma, where are you from?", a woman answers indirectly by poetically evoking her own happily remembered childhood: "I'm from Monday mornings, washing loads of clothes in the wringer washer" Soentpiet's bold, realistic watercolors depict small-town African-American life in what appears to be the '40s or '50s. They match the mother's strong recollections of greeting the neighbors, ice-main, or fish-man; helping out with ironing and food preparation; and gathering the evening for fish fries and dancing to old Duke Ellington and Count Basie records. However, these memories also include the school bus taking her brothers and sisters way across town to schools "where all the children were brown-some light, some dark, some in between," and living just past where the sidewalk ended. Glowing in her mother's smile, the little girl asks if she can go there and is assured that they can travel in memories any time. While the time period of the mother's childhood is unspecified but clearly not contemporary, the family's love is always in evidence. In the illustrations, people's faces radiate light and joy, and the interiors and clothing are rendered with loving details. This one's a keeper. -SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL, April 2000