I love how food brings people together, often accompanied by laughter, stories, love, friendship, camaraderie and sharing. I love when homes and hearts are opened to share…the art of an impromptu gathering lost in these busy times.
THANK YOU, OMU written and illustrated by One Mora does just that. It reminds us of a wonderful time when doors were opened and hearts, giving.
This multi-award winning book tells a simple and heart warming story. Omu, which means ‘queen’ in Igbo, was something that the author always called her Grandma.
In a tribute to her grandmother, Oge Mora tells the tale of Omu who cooks herself a delicious dinner of red stew. As she cooks the enticing aromas of the stew, wafts out of her window and ribbons around the neighbourhood. Soon people drop by, knocking on her door one by one, asking what that amazing smell is. Omu, figuring that she has made plenty, willingly shares bowlfuls of her stew, after all she has more than enough for her dinner. However, when she goes to get her own dinner there is nothing left for her and she’s sad.
As the old adage goes, it takes a village…her neighbours soon knock on her door bringing not just to GIVE back food, but also friendship, music, laughter, appreciation...building a wonderful community. The illustrations done in collage are very evocative and striking.
I tend to interpret books in many different ways each time I read them aloud and this time I wanted the children to focus on how grateful and thankful the people felt towards Omu as she shared so freely, that they gave back.
How often do we think about what people do for us? I asked them to think about people in their community, people close to them. Who were they thankful/grateful for and why? I like children to not just give me an answer but encourage them to give me reasons why they’ve named a particular person over another.
Often, they want to share many names. By limiting it to just 2 names, not only am I able to time my class as every child gets the opportunity to share, more importantly, it gets the children to make choices…one over the other. While we may be thankful for many people in our lives, I request them to choose any two and give me a reason for why those two were their choice.
It took the children a while to respond. They do not think about this often enough...things often just happen, just land in their laps. Once they began to share, they were bursting with people they wanted to talk about and it was difficult to limit them to just 2. I did however, by encouraging them to say thank you to everyone they wanted to acknowledge. Many of the children were excited and decided to make thank you cards for their ‘people’, just like the little boy in the story.
The images share some of their responses.