With the intentions of creating a moving bedtime story, award winning author, Patricia MacLachlan and illustrator Elizabeth Zunon created Lala Salama: A Tanzanian Lullaby. Despite their initial intention, I see this story as an excellent way to compare daily life in Tanzania to a typical day in the US.
The vibrant pictures and poetic language take the reader on a Tanzanian excursion with a loving mom and her baby. The baby is strapped to the mom’s back as she does her daily work and coddled the rest of the time.
Even though the story is told from the mom’s point of view, children can relate to the tender exchanges between the two. Most will be able to pinpoint stark contrasts between life in America and life in Africa and will also be able to appreciate the special bond between a mom and a small child. The front cover does an outstanding job of setting the tone for the entire book. Elizabeth effectively uses her childhood experiences living in the Ivory Coast, West Africa to illustrate life from that region.
Patricia is best known for her novel, Sarah, Plain and Tall. Her outstanding writing has been recognized by many.
Author’s Awards (http://biography.jrank.org/pages/2148/MacLachlan-Patricia-1938.html)
- Golden Kite Award, Society of Children’s Book Writers, 1980
- Notable Book citation, American Library Association (ALA), 1980, 1984, 1988
- National Council for Social Studies/Children’s Book Council, 1980, 1982,1985
- Boston Globe/Horn Book Award, 1984
- Horn Book Honor List inclusion, 1984, 1985
- Golden Kite Award, Scott O’Dell Historical Fiction Award, one of School Library Journal‘s Best Books of the Year, and New York Times Notable Children’s Books of the Year designation, 1985
- Newbery Medal, ALA, Jefferson Cup Award, Virginia Library Association, Christopher Award, and one of Child Study Association of America’s Children’s Books of the Year, 1986
- Garden State Children’s Book Award, New Jersey Library Association, and Charlie May Simon Book Award, Elementary Council of the Arkansas Department of Education and International Board on Books for Young People Honor List nominee, 1988
- Parents’ Choice Award, Parents’ Choice Foundation, 1988
- Horn Book Fanfare citation, 1989
- University of Southern Mississippi Medallion
- National Humanities Medal, 2002
- Life in Africa
- Comparing daily life in different places
- Gender roles- obligations for certain cultures
- Family relationships
- Role of lullabies
- Compare and contrast lullabies
- Patricia’s use of descriptive language
- Effect of illustrations on text
- Can you share another lullaby that can be compared/contrasted to this one?
- Can you share another picture book that follows a mom and a child for a day?