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MY MOM IS A FOREIGNER, BUT NOT TO ME by Julianne Moore

MY MOM IS A FOREIGNER, BUT NOT TO ME

By Julianne Moore (Author) , Meilo So (Illustrator)

Age Range: 5 - 8

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2013
ISBN: 978-1-4521-0792-9
Publisher: Chronicle

A chorus of children with foreign-born mothers join voices to express their side of the immigrant experience.

Having a mom who’s a foreigner can be tough. “She makes me do stuff foreign ways,” like taking soup to school and kissing people hello. Child and mom don’t always look alike, and her accent—not to mention the silly foreign nicknames—attracts unwanted attention. But “compared to OTHER Moms, / I know that she’s the best.” Moore’s well-meaning book, inspired by her own childhood, is something of a disaster. The rhyming quatrains limp along, forcing scansion to suit the rhyme scheme: “My Mom is a foreigner, / She’s from another place. / She came when she was ten years old, / With only one suitcase.” Amateurish rhyme is just one of this book’s problems, though. Adult and child readers alike would be forgiven for thinking that those four lines are spoken by the same child and refer to the same mother, but they don’t. Seemingly arbitrary changes in typography are clues that the child speaker is changing; narration is shared in five different typefaces among eight or so children with mothers from all over the globe. So’s illustrations, uncharacteristically, do not rise to the admittedly considerable design challenge, failing to provide sufficient clues to let readers know which statements belong to which child until the last few pages, when it is far too late.

A confusing mess. (Picture book. 5-8)