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Mama’s Nightingale, A Story of Immigration and Separation

Written by: Edwidge Danticat 
Illustrated by: Leslie Staub
Approximate read time: 9 minutes
Age group: 5 – 8
Rating: B+

Start at the back pages with this one. Reading the author’s excerpt at the back gives an important and helpful perspective for the story, as it was inspired by first-hand experience.  The first few pages were puzzling and it was hard to gauge the direction of the story; you have to read a bit before getting to the heart-warming and teachable content. It might be a challenge for the everyday reader to engage their child in the plot, but it is a worthwhile investment. The read time is about 8 minutes. The story has a tentatively happy resolution, but plenty of struggle leading up to it. Readers may not consider it a highly-repeatable read, but it is a valuable change-up, and it serves a dose of reality that many parents and children are dealing with in today’s world. 

If you read this book, let me know how your child reacted to it – was there sadness, joy, concern?

“Suddenly the room is filled with Mama’s wind-chime voice singing about the soursop and the nightingale. At the end of the song, Mama tells me a new bedtime story, one she made up herself. It’s about a mommy nightingale who goes on a very long journey and is looking for a rainbow trail in the sky so she can return home to her baby nightingale.” 

Other information:
National Book Award finalist
Published by: Dial Books
Number of pages: 32
Language: English

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