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No Mirrors in My Nana's House Hardcover – September 1, 1998


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 5 and up
  • Grade Level: Kindergarten - 4
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Harcourt Children's Books; 1st edition (September 1, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0152018255
  • ISBN-13: 978-0152018252
  • Product Dimensions: 11.2 x 8.6 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #220,406 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

"There were no mirrors in my Nana's house / no mirrors in my Nana's house / So the beauty that I saw in everything / the beauty in everything / was in her eyes / like the rising of the sun." So begins the young granddaughter's joyful paean to her Nana in Dr. Ysaye M. Barnwell and illustrator Synthia Saint James's ebullient picture book, packaged with a CD of the song "No Mirrors in My Nana's House." The song itself, the heart of the book, was composed by Barnwell and sung by world-renowned a capella quintet "Sweet Honey in the Rock" for years. This soul-warming tribute in upbeat, five-part harmonies (deeply rooted in the spirituals, hymns, and gospel of the black church) enhances the book-reading experience a hundredfold. The CD's second track is a spoken-word recording of the story's text, voiced in rich, soothing tones and inflections. And just when you find yourself thinking, I want to listen to that again! the song begins anew on the CD's third track.

Nana's house had no mirrors to reflect her granddaughter's clothes that didn't fit, or "the things that she missed." When the girl viewed the world through her Nana's eyes she saw love and beauty, not poverty or racism. Saint James's artwork is colorful and stylized--the characters have no faces, but their movements--arms outstretched, exalted; a loving embrace between the grandmother and granddaughter--communicate plenty of emotion. Saint James has illustrated several other picture books including The Gifts of Kwanzaa and Neeny Coming, Neeny Going, which won a Coretta Scott King Honor Award. This gorgeous book and CD package would make a wonderful gift for any youngster--and the melodies, rhythms, and bold, bright images promise to linger in the minds and hearts of children long after the book is closed. (Ages 4 and older) --Karin Snelson

From Booklist

Ages 4^-8. "There were no mirrors in my Nana's house . . . / so the beauty that I saw in everything / the beauty in everything / was in her eyes / like the rising of the sun." A young black girl is inspired by her life in which no mirrors constrict her view of herself and where she is intrigued by the cracks on the walls and "tastes with joy the dust that would fall." The sentiment that children can rise above their environment is reassuring and uplifting; however, several lines take the concept a bit far ("the trash and the rubbish just cushioned my feet"). Saint James illustrates the text in acrylics, but the effect is of collage. Shapes of pure colors become people, furniture, apartment buildings, boom boxes. This wonderfully eye-catching mix will work for individual readers or groups. Barnwell is a member of Sweet Honey in the Rock, an a cappella rock group; a CD of their song version of the text is part of the package. Ilene Cooper

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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See all 30 customer reviews
Love the text, love the music, love the illustrations.
K. Singleton
My grandkids love that they can follow the CD as they "read" the book.
Faye Green
I bought this book to use in my elementary music classroom.
D. McCabe

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By "lucky-angel" on May 14, 2001
Format: Hardcover
The story is so simple and the message is so necessary. What do we use a mirror for? Look for wrinkles, check for stains, is there a hair out of place, WHAT'S WRONG WITH US? Where do we get to see what's right in us? The reflection of ourselves in the eyes of a loved one. I have a special relationship with my nana and when I read this story, my relationship is celebrated. But what makes this book really special is the CD that accompanies it. The music just wraps itself around you and you find yourself singing the song long after it is done. Between two recordings of the song, the story is read. I teach middle schoolers. Perhaps because at this age, so many of them see what is wrong with themselves and so many experience the cruelty and sting of their peers' criticisms,I have found that this book speaks powerfully to many of them. It is a very popular book in my classroom library. They love this book. As I do. It's powerful, it's magical, it's beautiful. Buy it! You'll enjoy it over, and over again!
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By J. Chan on November 21, 1999
Format: Hardcover
A wonderful book intendend for children but I often give it to adults as gifts. It's simple and profound message touches all who read it. In today's society we are so obsessed w/looks. This book reminds us to look at our inner beauty. If you're able to get the accompanying CD - get it! Music and author's reading of story enhances story even more!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 29, 1998
Format: Hardcover
I read this story to my Two year old daughter, and she loved it, she also loved the CD that accompanied it. It teaches a very important lesson of loving yourself. When people say mean things that's not important your strong pride in yourself and your family should override all else. I hope to by more books by this wonderful Author.. May these lessons live on through these wonderful stories and through the education of our childrens hearts and minds..... Thank You. Lori Shigley
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 29, 1998
Format: Hardcover
Blown away by the story line which shows the universal depth and importance of self worth and personal esteem. Methaphors for adults and children showing where riches really matter; within. Brilliant illustrations grab and hold you even after the book has been read and put away.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 29, 1998
Format: Hardcover
My 3 year old son and I both enjoy this book, marvelling at the gorgeous, simple art, and our ability to listen to the cd songs. While I don't fully understand the meaning of the entire poem (who ever does of any poem?) I found the depth of its attraction to be textured and rich.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By D. McCabe on February 26, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I bought this book to use in my elementary music classroom. However, I shared it with my 3-year-old niece who adored it. She was fascinated by the pictures, wanted to know what things meant, and loved the CD. We had to listen to it over and over and over again. It definitely inspired learning, sharing, and dancing in the kitchen!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By music teacher on March 19, 2006
Format: Hardcover
"No Mirrors in my Nana's House" is great to have in your collection of musical books. The kids love the song that tells the story and it sends out a great message and shows diversity.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Patty Demant on January 18, 2006
Format: Hardcover
This is no less than you can expect from Sweet Honey. The story is wonderful, real and no less than a work of art. Thank you so much who ever is responsible for it's creation!
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