Perfect Picture Book Friday: A Chair For My Mother

Today is Perfect Picture Book Friday where I link up with Susanna Leonard Hill’s fantastic group of picture book writers, illustrators, librarians and others.

As usual, I have a couple of things to share before I get to the picture book review.I want to invite you to visit two of the best kidlit websites in cyberspace – Katie Davis and KidLit411.

The other day, it was my pleasure to do a podcast with Katie Davis and her wildly popular Brain Burps. We talked about the importance of marketing yourself as an author and how to get the word out about your books. She’s offering some amazing FREE training that you can find out about by listening to the podcast. Of course, good promotion is critical for any product or service you offer, so Katie’s words of wisdom will apply to many people, not just authors. Click here to go to the podcast.

One of the ways you can expand your exposure, is by doing guest posts. And it’s also just so much fun to connect with other bloggers. I was honored when Elaine Kiely Kearns invited me to join KidLit411 for an interview. Please stop over there also – you might find out some new tidbits about me and the why and how of my writing journey. Click here to go to the interview.

And now…hurray…it’s time for our Perfect Picture Book review. These days, single parent families are pretty common. But the Andy Griffith Show, starring Andy Griffith as single dad Sheriff Andy Taylor and Ron Howard as his son, Opie, was a ground-breaking concept for television in the late 1950’s and early 1960’s.

I know this was ‘only’ a TV series…but I believe it gave a powerful message for all parents today…set the rules with love, enforce them with compassion and remember to be the parent!

Our perfect picture book today is about another single-parent family.


A Chair for My Mother

Written and illustrated by Vera B. Williams

Publisher: Greenwillow Books (1984)

Ages: 4 and up


Single-parent family, working together, believing in yourself, surviving hard times, loss


When all of their possessions burn in a fire, a little girl and her mother and grandmother begin saving their coins so they can buy a special armchair that they can all sit in. Each day they add coins to the jar until it is so full they cannot put another one in. The chair they buy is gloriously colorful and it epitomizes the hope they have for the future.

Why do I like this book:

This book is a Caldecott Honor Award winner! The illustrations are glorious…the sweet story relays how resiliant children are…the shared goal brings the family together and strengthens them. A lovely story-time choice for any child, but especially powerful for single parent families or those who have experienced the disasterous loss of fire or flood.

Related Activities:


shoebox dollhouse

Photo courtesy

One of my most favorite memories is sitting at the kitchen table with my mother, working together on a diorama.

You will need: 1 shoebox, small boxes and/or Styrofoam, construction paper, scissors, glue stick, magazine pictures.

  1. Decide what scene the diorama will portray.
  2. Cover the ‘walls’ of the room (shoebox) with decorated construction paper or pictures cut from a magazine.
  3. Help your child cover the boxes/Styrofoam with construction paper to form ‘furniture’.
  4. Glue the pieces in the box.


Great diorama crafts here:

More wonderful diorama crafts here:

And more here:

Lesson plan here:

Printables here:


A Note for Parents and Teachers

Young children don’t need fancy electronic gadgets…they only need a good picture book, a few simple inexpensive art supplies (like paper, crayons or markers, safety scissors and glue stick) and your positive participation. If you are looking for a great resource that will give you 100 picture book summaries and easy matching craft (like the diorama above) and cooking activities, grab a copy of Show Me How! Build Your Child’s Self-Esteem Through Reading, Crafting and Cooking. This book makes a PERFECT gift for any parent or teacher of children ages 2-8…as well as for daycare providers and grandparents. No batteries required…powered by a child’s imagination and a parent’s participation! Author/illustrator/humanitarian Lesley Fletcher did an amazing review:

Please don’t forget – we are celebrating National Library Week, so if you sign up for my newsletter, not only do you get the one sheet Anti-Bullying Tool Kit for Kids, but your favorite local library might be the lucky winner of one of the five copies of Show Me How that I am giving away. Just click on this link to subscribe.






11 thoughts on “Perfect Picture Book Friday: A Chair For My Mother

  1. Always in search of books about different families. This one sounds excellent. I loved making dioramas when I was young — usually they were for book reports. Completely forgot about that memory. Thanks!


  2. I love how they save up all their money for something special. Sounds like a wonderful story and dioramas are a lot of fun to make. Thanks for all the links to the different resources.


  3. This DOES sound like a special book and I can’t wait to read it. I”ll check pronto pronto to see if I can get it at my library.

    Then I’ll check out your other posts and links. Thanks Vivian! 🙂


  4. Beautiful sweet book. Loved making dioramas as a kid. Great interview on Katie Davis podcast. Had to laugh at your comment about staying up late, which is something I do – A LOT! True it is often the only way to connect sometimes with others around the world. Loved it!


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