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Coming on Home Soon (Caldecott Honor Book) Hardcover – October 7, 2004

4.4 out of 5 stars 18 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Starred Review. Kindergarten-Grade 3–A beautifully written and illustrated story from the creators of The Other Side (Putnam, 2001), set during World War II. Ada Ruth waits for the return of her mother, who left home in search of a job. "They're hiring colored women in Chicago since all the men are off fighting in the war." Perfectly matched words and illustrations masterfully bring to life all the emotions that the girl is experiencing as she, her grandmother, and a stray kitten that has come to stay all try to comfort and console one another. As snow continues to fall, the large watercolor pages are filled with scenes of wistful longing–looking out the window, bringing in firewood, giving the kitten some milk, knitting, listening to news on the radio, and capturing the disappointment when the postman passes without stopping. Finally, a letter arrives and, with it, some much-needed money. The first line of the letter reads, "Tell Ada Ruth I'll be coming on home soon." Now, images convey a warm sense of anticipation. The final painting shows a woman with her back to readers approaching a house… home. A tender, heartfelt story that will touch readers.–Mary N. Oluonye, Shaker Heights Public Library, OH
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* K-Gr. 3. As in their award-winning picture book The Other Side (2001), Woodson and Lewis tell a moving historical story of longing and separation. The setting here is the home front during World War II, and Ada Ruth's mama leaves to find work in the city ("They're hiring colored women in Chicago since all the men are off fighting in the war"). At home with Grandma, Ada Ruth holds on to memories of Mama's love and writes to her. Times are hard, and for a long time "no letter or money coming." Ada Ruth takes in a stray kitten, and even though Grandma says they can't keep it, Ada Ruth does, and its purring softness is big and warm on her lap. The race, class, and gender struggle is part of the larger drama ("A colored woman working on the railroad!"), but for Ada Ruth, it's the waiting, quietly expressed in her simple, poetic first-person narrative. Lewis' beautiful watercolors establish the setting, not the South this time, but a spacious rural landscape with snow and icy storms, and inside, the loving portrayals of the women in warm, neat rooms with an empty chair. Period and place are wonderfully specific; the yearning is timeless. Hazel Rochman
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 5 - 8 years
  • Grade Level: Kindergarten - 3
  • Lexile Measure: 550L (What's this?)
  • Series: Caldecott Honor Book
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers; First Edition edition (October 7, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780399237485
  • ISBN-13: 978-0399237485
  • ASIN: 0399237488
  • Product Dimensions: 8.8 x 0.4 x 11.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #306,891 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Jacqueline Woodson's awards include 3 Newbery Honors, a Coretta Scott King Award and 3 Coretta Scott King Honors, 2 National Book Awards, a Margaret A. Edwards Award and an ALAN Award -- both for Lifetime Achievement in YA Literature. She is the author of more than 2 dozen books for children and young adults and lives with her family in Brooklyn, New York

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
There it is again. That old familiar cynicism that comes when I see a virtually unknown book win a prestigious award. In this particular case I'm referring to "Coming On Home Soon" by Jacqueline Woodson. A touching intimate portrait of a girl suffering a separation from her parent, the book won the enviable Caldecott Honor. So does it deserve it? Which is to say, does it deserve to be remembered, in some part, for decades to come? Well, let's just say that my cynical first viewing of the story revealed this to be a surprisingly sensitive picture book. This is one of those perfect meldings of picture and language. A truly touching and lovely work to enjoy.

In the midst of World War II, black women have an unprecedented chance to work various jobs up North in Chicago while the men are away fighting. So Ada Ruth's mama is off to take a chance. She's leaving her daughter with Grandma and will be back when she's made enough money for the three of them. This is hard on her little daughter but she writes regularly to her mother and hopes for the best. She even finds a kitten to adopt, though Grandma keeps telling her not to get too attached to it. Through the rain, then the snow, as the months pass and time goes by Ada Ruth keeps track of the time and is finally rewarded, one day, with a most precious letter.

It's odd for me to write out the plot of the story. Having read through it, I was under the distinct impression that it was a deeply involved story. And to some extent, it is. But it's not easy to summarize. Maybe that's because Woodson's prose is so deft and practical. She peppers the story with emotional moments and unconscious details of what it was like to live in the past. There are gutsy choices in the text as well.
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Format: Hardcover
I purchased this book because The Other Side is by far my favorite book to teach my elementary students with. We read it at least five times a year and each time we are able to gain a deeper understanding. Jacqueline Woodson and her illustrator have created another book I will use over and over. Coming On Home Soon is a great story that will allow me to discuss history, letter writing and many comprehension strategies with my students!
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Format: Hardcover
Coming on Home Soon is a wonderful story about a young girl Ada Ruth dealing with separation from her mother. The story is set in a time of war and her mother leaves to find work in Chicago. Ada Ruth meanwhile stays at home with her grandmother and they both miss mama very much. While waiting for a letter from mama saying she is coming on home soon a small surprise arrives at their door. This surprise helps Ada Ruth and grandma cope with the emptiness they feel in their hearts. Finally Ada Ruth and grandma receive a letter that mama is coming on home soon.

This story is heart breaking because you can feel the sadness in Ada Ruth's heart. She misses her mother terribly and she waits so patiently for her return. Finally when mama returns home the story becomes a heartwarming reunion.
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Format: Hardcover
This marvellously written and invitingly illustrated picture book is already a favorite. The spare, meaningful story coupled with the expressive paintings tell a story that is at the same time filled with tension and uncertainty, along with love and assurance. We know that Mama's decision to journey up to Chicago to work on the railroad was a hard one to make, and we know that Ada Ruth and Grandma will have a hard and uncertain time in her absence. We also know that Mama will return, and that there will be joy in their tiny home when she does. The final illustration, showing Mama's back as she heads toward the house, warms the heart; you can almost feel the hugs that will begin as soon as she walks in the door.

Jacqueline Woodson knows just how to tug at the heartstrings. When Mama's letter arrives, after so many days of the mailman bypassing the house, there is almost breathless anticipation as Grandma whispers, "Thank you, Lord." At this point as I'm reading the book to my kids, I have to stop and compose myself. This is a powerful book that demands to be read again and again. My daughter is constantly asking to read "the book where Mom gets a job." I eagerly pick it up and pull her onto my lap. And we hug. "Thank you, Lord."
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Format: Hardcover
Gorgeously illustrated, beautifully and simply narrated, effectively conveys the emotions of the lead character, captures the everyday life of women of color during World War II.
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Format: Hardcover
Even though this is a children's book, it's not a 'storybook' but yet one that addresses issues of loneliness and wonder and having to have hope when you feel there isn't any left. Ms Woodson teamed up with E.B. Lewis and together this is a fabulously beautiful story. Ms Woodson's story mixed with Lewis' art just amazing.

This book was written during the war, when men have all went off to fight leaving home the women and children to make ends meet when sometimes there wasn't but just very little to make ends meet with. And the characters are black making it that much more harder, in a time when blacks weren't allowed to do as much as whites.

The little girl's mother has to go away to find work, and she does working on the railroad. The little girl has to stay with her Grandma. Just the two of them day in and day out. Trying to hold onto any type of memories to help them hold onto hope while they wait for the mailman to bring a letter. Time passes and it seems there will never be a happy ending...

This book is a nice one to be able to read with your older child to help them understand loss, and loneliness and having hope that things will work out. And how life was back when there wasn't television, phones, or electronic devises
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