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The First Thing My Mama Told Me

by Susan Marie Swanson
Illustrated by Christine Davenier

Published by Harcourt, 2002
32 pages
ISBN: 0-15-201075-0

Ages 3 - 8

"When I was born, the first thing my mama told me was my name," begins Lucy, the seven-year-old protagonist of this lyrical picture book. "Mama says my name comes from a long-ago word for light. When I was born, she let that name shine on me." As Lucy grows from infancy to early childhood, we see the many ways in which her name continues to shine: written in frosting on her first birthday cake, engraved on a step stool her uncle made for her when she was two, and Lucy's own attempts at age three to write her name everywhere in magic marker. By the time she starts kindergarten, she is well able to find her special coat hook with her name written above it, and by first grade, she can write it herself in the snow. When Lucy receives a flashlight for her seventh birthday, she is able to swirl it around to write her name in cursive on the dark, starlit sky. Distinctive pen-and-ink illustrations with pastel washes perfectly complement the thoughtful yet upbeat mood of the book, and sometimes suggest pieces of the story not mentioned in the understated narrative. Honor Book, Charlotte Zolotow Award.  © Cooperative Children's Book Center

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