How Art Connects: Mama Says

Cover of "Mama Says: A Book of Love for M...
Cover via Amazon

My mom once in a while shops at a bookstore in Collingwood called Crow’s Nest & Gifts. (They don’t appear to have a website, otherwise I’d happily link to them.) The books she gives me are wonderful, spiritual, and simply fantastic stuff for kids, though they may or may not understand them from time to time. (My kids are still young.)

One of my favourites is Mama Says: A Book of Love for Mothers and Sons by Rob D. Walker, illustrations by Leo and Diane Dillon. Each page is a short verse about what a mother teaches her son. For example:

Mama says
Be good
Mama says
Be kind
Mama says
The rain will come
But still the sun will shine

For this particular page, the illustration is of a Cherokee mother and her son (cover graphic top left). Another verse in unfamiliar characters opposes the English verse. It’s the English verse translated in to Cherokee.

And so the book continues for 10 more verses, cultures, and their accompanying languages. At the back is a quick description of where each of these languages is spoken.

It truly is a beautiful work of art, both literally and visually.

It’s also a book I’ve turned to myself on many occasions to remind myself of what I do. With all the parenting books out there reminding me of all the things I ought to do (because otherwise I could be harming my child), this one reminds me of how my heart and soul want to raise my children. It also reminds me that I’m no different than any other mother, regardless of faith, culture, or geographic location. Our methods may be different, but in the end, we’re trying to teach our kids the same values.

That, my friends, is how art connects.

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