Meera Sriram has written a love letter in the form of a child’s search to find a special gift for her mother.
The sun grows bright. The street is busy.
It’s market day in town!
I count my money and dash outside
to find a treasure for Amma.
Initially intended as a color concept book, it evolved to be so much more—a window into a culture as seen through the eyes of a child searching for a special gift in a market in India.
Saffron orange strands in tiny scoops.
Would Amma like to season rice?
Orange marigolds swing over doors—
Swish, swish! Should I make her a garland?
This immediate appeal to the senses pulls us into the story. And each successive spread introduces us to rich color descriptions: jasmine white, lotus pink, peacock green, vermilion red, charcoal black, tumeric yellow, pigeon gray, terracotta brown, and indigo blue.
But no individual color is quite right. It turns out that the perfect gift comes in the form of a rainbow of bangles. Of course! A child would want to give her mother a rainbow.
Fittingly, the supersaturated colors created by Mariona Cabassa in this book are a visual feast. And the patterned endpapers complete the vibrant package. Back matter includes short descriptions of markets around the world and a page of photographs, taken by Meera at a market in Chennai, India. It’s a gorgeous entry point for talking about how people shop at markets in a wide variety of cultures.
Download the coloring activity sheets that go with this book.
Pair this book with Fresh Picked Poetry: A Day at the Farmer’s Market by Michelle Schaub
Think of things or places in your community that could be described with the color words used in this book. Are there other unusual color words you can think of? Use unusual color names in a poem to describe a place or a thing and how it makes you feel.
Make your own colorful bracelets.
Title: A Gift for Amma: Market Day in India
Author: Meera Sriram
Illustrator: Mariona Cabassa
Publisher: Barefoot Books, 2020
Themes: color, India, WORLD markets, child’s love for her mother
For more perfect picture book recommendations, please visit Susanna Hill’s blog.