In Cozbi A. Cabrera's heartwarming Me & Mama, a young child speaks about her mother and their rainy day spent together. Readers of this gentle story may find themselves thinking fondly of the adults in their lives with whom they have strong bonds.
Cabrera uses simple items to draw parallels and highlight differences between the child and her beloved mother: a china cup and a sippy cup, a big toothbrush and a little toothbrush, dresses designed for their different shapes. The realistic acrylic illustrations depict the different skin tones of mother and daughter--Mama darker skinned than her child--allowing Black children to see themselves and/or their family members represented accurately and appealingly. As she did in her 2018 picture book My Hair Is a Garden, the author celebrates natural hair with vivid illustrations portraying texture and precise depictions of hair types and styles common among BIPOC. One illustration is particularly evocative: the young girl holds the comb up to Mama's hair, showing a comforting ritual between mother and daughter.
Cabrera's poetic writing shares the child's love for her mother in detailed bite-sized chunks: "Mama reads to us./ I read to Mama./ I begin each story with Sometimes./ Mama laughs. She throws her head back and shines her teeth./ I laugh too." While Me & Mama offers a canvas onto which all children can draw their life experiences, it is primarily a beautifully celebratory mirror of Black life and family. Gentle and soft, Me & Mama is a loving bedtime story or a soothing read-aloud. --Kharissa Kenner, children's librarian, Bank Street School for Children