Bound To Stay Bound

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 Me and Momma and Big John
 Author: Rockliff, Mara

 Illustrator: Low, William

 Publisher:  Candlewick Press
 Pub Year: 2012

 Classification: Easy
 Physical Description: [32] p., col. ill., 30 cm.

 BTSB No: 761253 ISBN: 9780763643591
 Ages: 6-8 Grades: 1-3

 Cathedral of St. John the Divine (New York, N.Y.) -- Fiction
 Stonecutters -- Fiction
 Mother-son relationship -- Fiction
 Cathedrals -- Fiction
 Building -- Fiction
 African Americans -- Fiction
 New York (N.Y.) -- Fiction

Price: $6.50

Little John is proud of his mother's work as a stonecutter for a cathedral called "Big John," but struggles to understand the importance of spending so much time on one stone that no one will know Momma cut.

Accelerated Reader Information:
   Interest Level: LG
   Reading Level: 3.80
   Points: .5   Quiz: 152753
Reading Counts Information:
   Interest Level: K-2
   Reading Level: 2.80
   Points: 1.0   Quiz: 58366

Common Core Standards 
   Grade 3 → Reading → RL Literature → 3.RL Key Ideas & Details
   Grade 3 → Reading → RL Literature → 3.RL Integration & Knowledge of Ideas

   Kirkus Reviews (07/15/12)
   School Library Journal (00/09/12)
   Booklist (11/15/12)
 The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (10/12)

Full Text Reviews:

Bulletin for the Center... - 10/01/2012 This fact-based story recalls the work of a group of apprentices hired in the 1970s and 1980s to complete New York’s Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine, or “Big John.” This fictionalized account is narrated by a young African-American boy, who watches his mother head off to work in the stoneyard and return home covered in dust each day. Confused to find that his mother is only working on a single stone (“You all done building the cathedral, Momma?”), the boy realizes the enormity of the task when she takes her kids to see the project, points to the unfinished tower, and explains that her stone is going way up there. The story is quiet and serious, honestly showing Momma’s exhaustion at the end of the work day and thoughtfully exploring the boy’s growing understanding of the building project (“I think about the hands that worked on every stone until it was exactly right, knowing that it had to hold up all the rest”). It’s an effective solemnity, underscoring the importance of taking the time to do something right and putting effort into ensuring beauty and strength. Low’s digitally rendered illustrations resemble gouache and oil pastels in their soft, grainy strokes of color, with full-bleed pages and spreads. Juxtaposition of light and darkness add atmosphere in scenes of the majestic cathedral, with wide overhead views contrasting with the intimate family portraiture. A lengthy author’s note explains the history of Big John, which was started in 1892 and is still unfinished, and identifies a young mother named Carol Hazel as the inspiration behind the story; no source notes are included. HM - Copyright 2012 The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois.

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