Reviewed by Rethinking Schools
Book Author: Mariame Kaba
Pain, love, and hope fill the pages of Mariame Kaba’s most recent picture book about a child with an incarcerated loved one. Like young readers who might be system-impacted themselves, or perhaps children considering a humanized perspective of incarceration for the first time, Reyna thinks, “I have so many questions. I’d ask, but I’m afraid.”
In the pages that follow, Reyna asks those questions as she says goodbye to Mama at the prison, culminating with “When will I see you again, Mama?” Mama’s answer, “Soon, Queenie. Soon,” opens up Reyna’s tears and yelling and anger. But it becomes a comforting refrain of hope when Reyna returns to life at home.
Early elementary teachers could use Reyna’s experiences to help students develop empathy for people whose loved ones are incarcerated — and as an anchor story to raise questions about incarceration.
See You Soon by Mariame Kaba
Published by Haymarket Books on 2022-03
Reading Level: Grade K, Grades 1-2
Review Source: Rethinking Schools
Also by this author: Missing Daddy
Publisher's Synopsis: From New York Times Bestselling Author Mariame Kaba, a poignant, beautifully illustrated story of a little girl's worries when her Mama goes to jail, and the love that bridges the distance between them.
Even though I'm away, My love is always here to stay. See you soon, Queenie. Love, Mama
Queenie loves living with Mama and Grandma Louise. Together, they go to the grocery store, eat ice cream, and play games in the park. Mama braids Queenie's hair and helps her with her homework.
Sometimes, when Mama is sick, she has to go away. One day, Queenie and Grandma ride the bus with Mama to the county jail.
Queenie is worried about what will happen when Mama goes to jail. She's afraid to ask questions, and overcome with feelings of worry and sadness. Does Mama have a warm bed to sleep in? When will Queenie see her again?
Soon after she and Grandma return home, Queenie opens a letter from Mama, and savors every word. She knows her Mama loves her, and looks forward to their upcoming visit.
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