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The parents' guide to what's in this book.
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What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Saturday is author-illustrator Oge Mora's highly anticipated follow up to Thank You, Omu!, which won a 2019 Caldecott Honor. This book, featuring Mora's characteristic saturated color collages, is about Eva and her mother and their nearly ruined Saturday together. Children will learn about a calming practice the two characters use when they face disappointment, anger, or frustration. And it's full of positive messages about supporting each other, focusing on the positive, and being creative. Eva and her mother are a working-class, single-parent family living in a diverse urban setting. The repetition in the rhythmic text makes it a good choice as a read aloud, especially for younger kids.
What's the story?
SATURDAY is about the super-special routine Eva and her mother share on her mother's only day off work per week. They go to story time, get their hair done, share a picnic in the park, and this Saturday, they are also going to a one-night-only puppet show. They get ready and zoom off to the library, only to discover that story time has been canceled. They are disappointed, but they take a moment to pause, breathe, and exhale. They decide that the day will still be special. But after each activity they planned is somehow ruined, Eva's mother starts to meltdown. Can Eva help her mother realize it really is a special day because they're together?
Is it any good?
Once again, Oge Mora has created a gorgeous book and heartfelt story. The collage-style artwork in Saturday is a feast for the eyes and was crafted using paint, markers, patterned paper, and old book clippings. A soothing gemstone-colored palette mirrors the way Eva and her mother calm themselves down after each setback. Their not-so-tidy apartment will be recognized (and appreciated) by hardworking parents who prioritize time with kids over a spotless house. Social class and the absence of a second parent for Eva are broached with a light hand that allows families to discuss these topics as deeply as they wish. The diversity is not superficial here. Black people of various skin colors are represented, and background characters of color are seen engaged in activities like yoga and painting.
The two-page spread of Eva comforting her mother is deeply moving, and the story ends on a creative and comforting high note. The vocabulary is mostly simple, and structures repeat in a rhythmic manner that underscores the importance of being able to self-soothe. Young kids will love echoing words like "zoom" and "whoosh" as they are read to, making this a great choice for read-aloud. This book is sure to charm parents and children alike, while mothers and daughters may especially delight in its cozy warmth.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how Eva and her mother handled their disappointments in Saturday. What do they do each time a part of their day is ruined? How do you handle big emotions like sadness and anger? Who can you go to for support?
What do the bright colors and collage-art style tell you about this story? What do the pictures say about Eva and her mother and the city they live in? Why do you think the author-illustrator chose his style of art for her book?
Why might Eva's mother have to work every day but Saturday? What else do you notice about their family? How is their family the same or different from yours?
- Author: Oge Mora
- Illustrator: Oge Mora
- Genre: Picture Book
- Topics: Adventures, Great Girl Role Models
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
- Publication date: October 22, 2019
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 4 - 8
- Number of pages: 40
- Available on: Nook, Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
- Award: ALA Best and Notable Books
- Last updated: August 13, 2020
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