‘A Chair for My Mother’ – Tuesday’s Look at THIS Book!

* Every Tuesday we introduce you to a favorite book from our secret book room.


Today’s great book: A Chair for My Mother by Vera B. Williams (1982, HarperCollins)

About the Author: http://www.kidsreads.com/authors/vera-b-williams

Teacher Resource:  http://www.teachingbooks.net/tb.cgi?tid=1264&a=1

Time to Read: 32-pages, a touching family story; we read it before bed

Summary:  from the publisher…”The jar of coins is full. The day has come to buy the chair – the big, fat, comforable, wonderful chair they have been saving for. The chair that will replace the one that was burned up – along with everything else – in the terrible fire.  A book of love and tenderness filled with the affirmation of life.”

Best Quote from the Book:  “When we can’t get a single other coin into the jar, we are going to take out all the money and go and buy a chair.”

Our View:  Written and illustrated by Vera B. Williams and named a Caldecott Honor Book by the American Library Association, A Chair for My Mother has been a longtime favorite of mine and I read it every semester to my college students who are aspiring to become teachers of young children and their families.  The story places itself firmly in the lives of a little girl and her mother and grandmother, deep in the heart of the city, among a close knit group of family and friends that surround them.  Taking care of each other, hard work, saving, financial issues, fire and the loss of a home – each topic weaves itself through the plot and brings to life the courage and dedication of a family to keep going and do great things…together.  

‘Baby Frederico and the Lemonade Stand’

Baby Frederico loved the summertime that was now winding its way through the forest paths and shining brightly across the grassy hills around his home.  It was not yet too hot and, with school out for the season, he could sleep in late and go to bed even later.

One morning, he woke up with lemonade on his mind.  He had dreamed about the delicious treat sometime in the night and the memory of it was now so real that his eyes watered just thinking about the sugary, sour taste of it.

At breakfast, he decided to ask Papa and Mama about opening his very own lemonade stand.  He just knew that if he could set it up at the end of their driveway, he would probably make a million dollars!

There was just one problem with his plan – they lived in the country and, other than his grandparents who lived down the road, there was not one other neighbor or passerby for miles around.  This meant only one thing, to make a million dollars, his grandparents would have to buy an awful lot of lemonade!

Papa and Mama said of the dilemma, “You never know until you try.  And, who knows?  Maybe your grandparents are really thirsty this summer!”

Baby Frederico quickly went to work and painted a large wooden sign with big yellow letters that read “lemonade” and drew a large blue straw that stuck out of the letter “o.” He wanted to charge $10 per drink, but his Papa said that was something called “highway robbery” so Baby Frederico chose 50 cents instead.

At 9 a.m. sharp, Baby Frederico opened for business at the end of his driveway and waited for his first thirsty customer.  He waited…and waited…and waited.  At 9:15, he had nearly given up.  Surely there was someone out there who loved lemonade and had two quarters to spare.  Surely there was a very thirsty person out there who just needed a good cold drink on a hot summer day.  Surely!

By 9:30 a.m., Baby Frederico was thirsty.  He looked at the lemonade.

By 10 a.m., Baby Frederico was not thirsty.  He drank nearly all of the lemonade. Uh oh!

At 10:15 a.m., Baby Frederico’s grandpa walked over with a very thirsty look on his face.

He said, “Hello my boy! How about your biggest cup of ice cold lemonade?  I’m SO thirsty and I have money to spend!”

Baby Frederico looked at the nearly empty pitcher of lemonade and began to pour. Thankfully, there was just enough to fill up the one unused cup that was still sitting on the table.

Grandpa smiled as he handed Baby Frederico a crisp $2 bill and said, “Keep the change.”

Baby Frederico was so excited.  He had finally sold his first (and last) cup of lemonade, all before 10:30 a.m.!  He even had a brand new $2 bill and all the lemonade was gone.  He smiled when he realized he drank nearly all of it himself, but he laughed when he realized that he had just enough left to put a smile on his one customer’s face.