cover image My Mom Is a Foreigner, But Not to Me

My Mom Is a Foreigner, But Not to Me

Julianne Moore, illus. by Meilo So. Chronicle, $16.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-4521-0792-9

Mothers come in all kinds, but when they are immigrants, children are quick to notice moments of culture clash. Moore (the Freckleface Strawberry books) uses an everykid narrative voice to parse the embarrassments and delights of having a mother who hails from distant shores: “She calls me foreign nicknames,/ wee one, liebchen, bebe./ I tell her all the time/ ‘Those words sound so crazy!’ ” Working in loose, bright watercolors, So (Brush of the Gods) shifts between several mother/child pairs: there’s the stylish French woman who mortifies her son by shouting “Mon petit chou!” at his soccer game; two mothers who prefer clothing with vivid African and Caribbean patterns; and (in an inversion of so many adoption stories) a Japanese mother with a white daughter. The meter is inconsistent, and many rhymes are slant, raising the question of why the book is written in verse at all. It’s a well-intentioned remainder of America’s melting pot past and present, but the delivery is underwhelming. Ages 5–8. Author’s agent: David Kuhn, Kuhn Projects. Illustrator’s agent: Heflin Reps. (Sept.)