Cover image for Just like a mama
Just like a mama
1st ed.
Physical Description:
1 volume (unpaged) : chiefly color illustrations ; 29 cm.
Carol Olivia Clementine lives with Mama Rose. Mama Rose is tender and sweet. She is also as stern and demanding as any good parent should be. Though Carol Olivia misses her mother and father, Mama Rose becomes her "home." And Carol Olivia concludes that she loves her "just like a mama.


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Celebrate the heart connection between adopted children and the forever families who welcome them with kindness, care, and unconditional love in this powerful picture book from the author of Honey Baby Sugar Child .

Carol Olivia Clementine lives with Mama Rose. Mama Rose is everything--tender and sweet. She is also as stern and demanding as any good parent should be. In the midst of their happy home, Carol misses her mother and father. She longs to be with them. But until that time comes around, she learns to surrender to the love that is present. Mama Rose becomes her "home." And Carol Olivia Clementine concludes that she loves Miss Rose, "just like a mama."

This sweet read-aloud is, on the surface, all about the everyday home life a caregiver creates for a young child: she teachers Clementine how to ride a bike, clean her room, tell time. A deeper look reveals the patience, intention, and care little ones receives in the arms of a mother whose blood is not her blood, but whose bond is so deep--and so unconditional--that it creates the most perfect condition for a child to feel safe, successful, and deeply loved.

Author Notes

Alice Faye Duncan is the author of several books, including the classic NAACP Award-nominated board book, Honey Baby Sugar Child , and Just Like a Mama . Ms. Duncan is a school librarian in Memphis, Tennessee, and conducts writing workshops for parents and educators. Her latest picture book, Memphis, Martin and the Mountaintop , received a starred review from Kirkus Reviews .

Charnelle Pinkney Barlow is a Georgia-based illustrator and surface designer. She has an MFA in illustration as a visual essay from the School of Visual Arts and a BFA in illustration from University of the Arts, and is the granddaughter of celebrated illustrator Jerry Pinkney.

Reviews 3

Horn Book Review

An homage to all the African American women who are mothering children not biologically their own. Carol Olivia Clementine lives with Mama Rose because Mommy and Daddy live miles away. She offers no explanation for why she doesnt live with her parents, but this reflects reality since children dont always know or understand why that might be the case. Though she misses her mother and father, Carol doesnt focus on what she lacks but instead emphasizes the richness of her life with Mama Rose, who does things just like a Mama. This stylish woman gives Carol a bike for her sixth birthday, then shows her how to ride it; teaches Carol to tell time, play basketball, and make her own bed. Mama Rose sets boundaries and maintains high expectations for Carolvegetables before dessert and chores before playand offers praise when Carol meets those expectations. In bright watercolor, gouache, colored-pencil, and gel pen art, debut illustrator Barlow emphasizes the love in this childs life through the family portraits on the endpapers and the many details that suggest the closeness between Carol and Mama Rose. Like Jacqueline Woodsons Our Gracie Aunt and Coming On Home Soon (rev. 9/04), Duncans story sheds positive light on nontraditional, yet commonplace, families. Michelle H. Martin March/April 2020 p.53(c) Copyright 2020. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Kirkus Review

Because Carol Oliva Clementine cannot live with Mommy and Daddy, the child lives with Mama Rose. Carol Oliva Clementine, a light-brown-skinned child with a sandy-red afro puff, describes life with Mama Rose, a dark-skinned black woman. Readers don't learn why Carol Oliva Clementine came to live with Mama Rose. While readers also aren't told how long they've lived together, Carol Oliva Clementine describes two birthdays with Mama Rose: the fifth, when the child received a watch and learned to tell time, and the sixth, when Mama Rose gave her little one a yellow bicycle. Carol Olivia Clementine is presented as a happy and carefree little child who misses Mommy and Daddy but is also happy to live with Mama Rose, who lovingly calls the child Lady Bug. The illustrations are bright and playful, conveying the deep warmth of affection between the two. One spread in which Mama Rose does her charge's hair and then swaddles Carol Olivia Clementine for winter play bears out the truth of the title. It is curious, however, that Carol Olivia Clementine and Mama Rose wear the same clothing throughout the book even though multiple seasons pass. In an author's note, Duncan tells of her own experience with a kinship adoption. A beautiful story of love and kinship, so needed for the many children living apart from their nuclear families. (Picture book. 3-6) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Booklist Review

Duncan's warm, loving picture book tells the story of a little girl by the name of Carol Olivia, who misses her mother more than anything in this world. Yet, she is far from alone. Mama Rose, her foster mother, cares for Carol Olivia by showing her kindness and love just like a mama should. Carol Olivia doesn't have to worry about getting to school or getting her hair done; Mama Rose is there to show her how to complete tasks and to give her the encouragement she needs. With the overwhelming number of children living in foster care, this book will be a welcome contribution to any classroom or library collection. Bright, uplifting illustrations underscore the story's heartening message and the loving relationship between Carol Olivia and Mama Rose. This can be read during Mother's Day for children who are not currently living with their mothers to recognize the mother figures who are raising them. A comforting tribute to the enduring love that parents have for children, whether they are biologically related or not.--Tiffany Flowers Copyright 2019 Booklist