Mommy’s Hometown by Hope Lim

Mommy’s Hometown

Hope Lim, Author

Jaime Kim, Illustrator

Candlewick Press,  Fiction, Apr. 12, 2022

Suitable for ages: 3-7

Themes: Parent and child, Family relationship, Memories, Hometown, Change, Multicultural 

Opening: “At night, Mommy would tell me about where she grew up.”

Publisher’s Synopsis:

This gentle, contemplative picture book about family origins invites us to ponder the meaning of home. A young boy loves listening to his mother describe the magical place where she grew up. The stories are filled with friends who splash in the river surrounded ny tall mountains. Mommy’s stories have let the boy visit her homeland in his thoughts and dreams, and now he’s old enough to travel with her to see and experience it .

However, when mother and son arrive, the town is not at all like he has imagined. There are tall skyscrapers in front of the mountains and people everywhere. The boy feels like an outsider—until they visit the river where his mother used to play, When they dip their toes into the river, the little boy feels the same joy his mother did when she used to play there. Even though Mommy’s hometown has changed, the spirit has stayed the same and the happiness from memories new and old remain.

Sensitively pitched to a child’s-eye view, this vivid story honors the immigrant experience and the timeless bond between parent and child, past and present.

Why I like Mommy’s Hometown:

Hope Lin has written a endearing story about the bond between a boy and his mother, and their first visit to her South Korean  hometown. His mother has shared so many fond memories that he has difficulty reconciling all the changes around him. It’s not what he imagined.  Lin’s text is lyrical and gentle and is beautifully captured in Jamie Kim’s warm and inviting illustrations. Cozy and inviting cover.

What a perfect book to talk about the past and present and the effects of change. The boy’s mother’s lived in a village that now is a huge bustling city with a lot of concrete, steel and people. Where are the mountains and rivers? Where are the houses and the red sky at dusk? There are so many ways to use this book in a classroom.

Resources: Children love to hear their parents share their experiences of growing up,. Take your child to visit your old home or neighborhood. Show them the schools you attended, your favorite ice cream store, climbing tree and park. Show them your favorite quiet spots.  Talk about how it used to be and compare it to how it is now.  Talk about how everything changes and ask children about the things that have changed in their lives.  For example, kids will remember their first three-wheeler and their graduation to a bigger bike they ride now. Change can be good. Help them make a list of all the changes they have seen in their lives.

Hope Lim is a children’s book author with a BA in English literature as well as an MA in conference interpretation. She is the author of I Am a Bird. Mommy’s Hometown was inspired by the changes she noticed to her own home town while visiting with her son and husband. Born and raised in South Korea, Hope Lim now lives with her family in San Francisco.

Every Friday, authors and KidLit bloggers post a favorite picture book. To see a complete listing of all the Perfect Picture Books (PPB) with resources, please visit author Susanna Leonard Hill’s website.

*Review copy provided by the publisher in exchange for a review.