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Mama's Nightingale: A Story of Immigration and Separation

by Edwidge Danticat
Illustrated by Leslie Staub

Published by Dial, 2015
32 pages
ISBN: 978-0-525-42809-1

Ages 4-8

Saya’s mother was in the United States for years without documentation before being arrested. She’s now in prison. Saya and her father don’t know when she will get out, or if she will get out only to be deported back to Haiti. The difficult reality of this situation is related in the heartfelt voice of young Saya, whose father always reassures her how much her mother loves her. At the same time, he is navigating a huge unknown for their family while trying to advocate for Saya’s mother. Saya describes his efforts to get political intervention or media involvement in her mother’s case, and a story Saya writes about missing her mom ends up helping in that effort. While the ending is rosy, the long-term outcome for Saya’s mother remains unknown. Warm illustrations emphasize the love that is the driving force for Saya in a picture book told with grace and honesty. An author’s note provides personal and global context for this story. Highly Commended, 2016 Charlotte Zolotow Award  © Cooperative Children's Book Center

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