- Hardcover: 240 pages
- Publisher: Bloomsbury YA; Reprint edition (January 8, 2019)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1547601736
- ISBN-13: 978-1547601738
- Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 1.2 x 8.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 8 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #317,629 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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What Momma Left Me Hardcover – January 8, 2019
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“A heartbreaking and intense young adult novel. . . . Deftly conveys raw and accessible emotions. Thoughtful character development turns stereotypes on their head.” ―Foreword Reviews, starred review
“Warm, rich, and satisfying.” ―Kirkus Reviews
“The author is a natural storyteller. . . . While the events, setting, and characters of this story are definitely contemporary, the tale is timeless.” ―VOYA
“Serenity Evans is a strong African-American character who will resonate with girls who are facing transitions of their own, large or small.” ―School Library Journal
“Timely and timeless.” ―Jacqueline Woodson, National Book Award-winning author of BROWN GIRL DREAMING on PIECING ME TOGETHER
“Watson, with rhythm and style, somehow gets at the toxicity of sympathy, the unquenchable thirst of fear, and the life-changing power of voice and opportunity, all wrapped up in Jade.” ―Jason Reynolds, New York Times bestselling and award-winning coauthor of ALL AMERICAN BOYS on PIECING ME TOGETHER
“An important and deeply moving novel. Highly recommended.” ―John Green, New York Times bestselling and award-winning author of THE FAULT IN OUR STARS on PIECING ME TOGETHER
“Renee Watson is a top-rate storyteller about what impacts young women today.” ―Meg Medina, award-winning author of BURN BABY BURN on PIECING ME TOGETHER
About the Author
RENÉE WATSON is the Newbery Honor and Coretta Scott King Author Award-winning author of the novels Piecing Me Together, This Side of Home, What Momma Left Me, Betty Before X, co-written with Ilyasah Shabazz, and two picture books: Harlem's Little Blackbird and A Place Where Hurricanes Happen. Renée is the founder of I, Too, Arts Collective, a nonprofit committed to nurturing underrepresented voices in the creative arts. She lives in New York City.
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This book is a beautiful story of a young girl coming to terms with her mothers death and dealing with the resulting changes. Each chapter begins with Serenity's journal writings where she writes about everything from her questioning faith in God, her own poems and the voice of Maya Angelou. As Serenity adjust to her fated circumstances she deals with issues many girls do; crushes, new friends and questions about her future.
Yes there is a Christian edge to this story but for those of you who usually avoid Christian fiction, please don't disregard this story....the overall theme is about a girl coming to terms with the tragedy in her life (her mothers death isn't all Serenity has to deal with) her faith is simply part of her recovery process.
A simple, heartwarming, well written story of love, loss and healing. Serenity learns to be true to herself and that a complete life consists of both happiness and heartbreak. Don't let the "childish" cover fool you...definitely a middle grade book and older. I loved it and totally recommend!
When I finally picked up What Momma Left Me, I quickly realized how wrong I was. I really really enjoyed this story and loved Serenity's voice. Thirteen year old Serenity and her younger brother 12 yr old Danny move in with their grandparents after their mother is dies. The two are trying to find a new home with their grandparents.
To cope with her loss Serenity writes in a journal. At Serenity's new school, her English class will be studying poetry. The students are required to write a poem in whatever style they learned that week on Friday.
Mrs. Ross, 1 st Period
List Poem: a form of free verse poetry. Write a list poem about ten things you know
10 things I know
Even Jesus wept
Everything tastes better when it's homemade
Passing notes in class will get you in trouble
Nobody likes to be made fun of
True friends come back to you
Saying "I'm sorry" is never easy
A touch from a boy can set your soul on fire
People who pass away
visit you in your dreams
Sometimes doing the wrong thing
is the only way people know how to survive
death is a sneaky thief,
stealing life when you don't expect it.
Each chapter begins with one of Serenity's poems in its own font. The poems were a wonderful surprise and another way to feel connected to Serenity.
Serenity's grandfather is a pastor and she finds herself going to church more than she ever did before. Serenity makes a new friend at Sunday school, Maria. Watson's seamlessly blends faith into the story. Serenity and Maria gossip, talk about boys and go to church on Sundays. Some young readers will be able to relate to their not so perfect behavior at times, talking a little to loud and passing notes in the pew.
Serenity has a crush on a boy names Jay, even though she knows he's trouble.
"Jay gets up and sits at the table. Mr. Nelson takes his math book and opens it to page twenty-five. "Let's start the year off right, " Mr. Nelson says. When Mr. Nelson turns his back to write on the board, Jay closes his book. He reaches into his pocket and pulls out a stack of bills. He counts them. The green is moving so fast in his hands, I can't keep up with how much money he has. He must feel me staring at him because he looks across the aisle at me. I try to play it off, like I wasn't just looking at him, like I don't see all that green in his hands. Our eyes meet. I get hot all over and look away. "
Serenity is very vulnerable and here is this attractive badboy ready to sweet talk her. I really enjoyed watching this storyline play out. Waston doesn't ignore Danny, he's also going through it and getting caught up with a bad crowd.
Serenity's father killed her mother. The author doesn't say that Serenity's mother's was murdered or who was responsible until about midway in. This slow reveal worked very well. The information was held back not to tease the reader but because Serenity isn't ready to share or think about what happened to her mother. The first person Serenity tells is Maria. Serenity's mother loved to cook as does her grandmother. Cooking runs in the family. Serenity has fond memories of helping her mother in the kitchen. What Momma Left Me is well layered and very good. Watson is offically on my read it as soon as it comes out author list. ages 10 up