Me and Momma and Big John
"Every page is infused with
golden light, quiet pride, and soaring hope."
Weekly *STARRED REVIEW
Golden Kite Award Winner
Charlotte Zolotow Honor Book
Junior Library Guild Selection
New York Public Library "100 Titles for Reading and Sharing"
Bank Street College of Education 2013 Best Children's Books of the Year
is the rare children’s book that shows how a building is built with
less of an emphasis on cranes and bulldozers and more on the difficult
work of laboring hands. But it’s not only about the grueling hardness
of labor; “Me and Momma and Big John” is also about the rewards of a
labor of love, and of a job well done." —The New York Times
"Rockliff’s lyrical text
celebrates collaboration and communion. . . . An intriguing examination
of the inside story of one of New York City’s most important and
piece of work made all the better by the hardworking multi-ethnic cast
populating its pages. . . Rockliff gives kids the key to
understanding that every monument, no matter how large, was formed by
real people with families. And the world feels that much more human and
—Betsy Bird, "A Fuse #8 Production""Me and Momma and Big John is a quietly excellent children's book that deserves attention as one of the best of 2012."
—Teaching for Change
From the jacket:
comes home from work, tired and sore from a long day at her job. She's
a stonecutter now, helping to build "Big John"--the Cathedral of St.
John the Divine in New York City. She works for weeks on just one
stone, and her son John wonders how she does it. When at last Momma's
stone is finished, John can't wait to see it. But when he arrives at
the cathedral, he can't believe it is just one plain stone--where is
Momma's name? How will all the people know this is Momma's art?
This touching story, inspired by one of the first women in the United
States to learn the traditional craft of stonecutting, lovingly shows
how having pride in one's work, and one's momma, comes with great grace
and dignity. Gorgeously illustrated with the illuminated artwork of
William Low, the transcendent beauty of Saint John's Cathedral radiates
with warmth and dignity. As Momma tells John, "Building a cathedral
isn't just a job. It's an art."
From the author's note:
apprentice program lasted twenty-five years. Then
the money ran out again, and construction stopped. But life went on
inside Big John . . .
One of the
apprentices was a young mother, Carol Hazel, who inspired Me and Momma and Big John. "Stonecutting
is in my blood," she says today. "The cathedral is a beautiful thing,
and beautiful people helped build it."
ME AND MOMMA AND BIG JOHN
by Mara Rockliff
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