I usually don’t browse the shelves of the children’s section in the library. How to find the best books in 5 second intervals while wrangling a five year old and a one year old who like to run and are anything but quiet?
But the vibrancy of the cover and the Caldecott medal adorning Thank You, Omu! called to me from a display shelf on my last quick swing through our downtown library. I’m glad I followed my impulse–what a wonderful gem of a book!
The story follows a Nigerian woman named Omu (which means “queen” in Igbo but is an homage to author Oge Mora’s grandmother, who was known by that name) who is cooking a delicious “thick red stew.” The aroma wafts out of her window and attracts several visitors to her home during the course of the day–a neighbor boy, a police woman, a hot dog vendor…and the list goes on. Even the mayor comes to visit! And Omu shares her stew with each visitor in a spirit of generous hospitality.
At dinnertime, Omu sadly discovers that she has no more stew. But then she hears a knock at her door and is in for a wonderful surprise and a night filled with community!
My five year old thoroughly enjoyed this story–I did too–and has asked for it three days in a row. Illustrations are done in a collage-style that is eye-catching and engaging.
I love that the story features an immigrant who is cast in the role of the generous host–this is so often the case in my own interactions with immigrant friends, so it felt very true to life.
I would highly recommend this book for you to enjoy with all the kids in your life!