Me and Momma and Big John
Publication Date: August 2012
List Price: $16.99*
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Momma is a stonecutter at the cathedral called Big John — and little John and his sisters can't wait to see her special stone — in this luminous true-life story.
"Building a cathedral isn’t a job, it’s an art."
Momma comes home from work, tired and sore from a long day at her job. She used to work on the factory line, but now an early bus takes her across the bridge into New York City. Momma is a stonecutter now, helping to build the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine. She works all day on just one stone, and little John and his two sisters wonder how she does it. Finally, Momma’s stone is finished, and little John can’t wait to see it. But when he arrives at the cathedral, he’s confused. Where is Momma’s name? How will all the people know this is Momma’s art? This touching story from a child’s perspective, based on real events, lovingly shows the grace and dignity of having pride in one’s work — and in one’s Momma. Gorgeously illustrated with the illuminated artwork of William Low, the transcendent beauty of Saint John’s Cathedral radiates with warmth and light.
William Low is the author and illustrator of "Chinatown" and "Old Penn Station", as well as a four-time Silver Medal winner at the Society of Illustrators.
With Rockliff’s plainspoken lyricism providing scaffolding for Low’s incandescent realism, the story of a struggling family transformed through the joy and power of meaningful work is woven into the history of a beloved spiritual landmark. Whether the scene is inside the narrator’s modest apartment or looking down from the barrel vault ceiling onto the cathedral’s magnificent nave, every page is infused with golden light, quiet pride, and soaring hope.
—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
This is the rare children’s book that shows how a building is built with less of an emphasis on cranes and bulldozers and more on the difficult work of laboring hands. But it's not only about the grueling hardness of labor; ME AND MOMMA AND BIG JOHN is also about the rewards of a labor of love, and of a job well done.
—New York Times online