Cover image for Mama and Papa have a store
Mama and Papa have a store
Carling, Amelia Lau.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Dial Books for Young Readers, [1998]

Physical Description:
1 volume (unpaged) : color illustrations ; 22 x 27 cm
A little girl describes what a day is like in her parents' Chinese store in Guatemala City.
Reading Level:
810 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR LG 4.1 0.5 28019.

Reading Counts RC K-2 4.3 2 Quiz: 19790.

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PIC. BK. Juvenile Fiction Little Books

On Order



Mama and Papa Have a Store

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Ages 4^-7. A young Chinese girl describes in wonderful detail a typical day in her parents' general store in colorful Guatemala City. When her siblings go off to school, she sits on her stoop and watches the candy woman selling sweets from her big wooden box. Inside the store, "Mama knits without looking down and talks with the customers in Spanish" and "Papa at his desk adds and subtracts with his abacus." A young family comes by bus from its Indian village to buy thread for weaving, and the Chinese bean curd seller who lived in Mama and Papa's hometown in China stops by and reminisces over a cup of tea. The nicely rendered watercolors depict each scene with authentic details that surely spring from Carling's childhood memories of growing up in Guatemala. Use this to complement a study of the Chinese, Spanish, or Mayan culture or as an introduction to the concept of immigration. --Lauren Peterson

Publisher's Weekly Review

Drawing on her memories of growing up in Guatemala as the daughter of Chinese immigrants, debut author/artist Carling sunnily evokes a companionable mingling of cultures. Her parents, whose Chinese names mean Lady Who Lives in the Moon and Fragrant Pond, are doña Graciela and don Rodolfo to the customers who frequent their general store. Going past the paper lanterns and firecrackers on display, a weaver pores over "rows and rows of colored strands [of thread] arranged like schools of fish in glassy water," and chooses "volcano purple, maize yellow, hot pepper red." Lunch in their home behind the store is cooked in a wok and served with tortillas. Tropical foliage and a pila (pool) for the goldfish adorn the spacious patio; on la terraza, the kids play with a miniature landscape of a Chinese mountain with little pagodas and moon bridges. Carling's festively patterned, serene watercolors show the narrator happily being a kid: dangling a string for the cat, buying candy, floating paper boats in the gutter. In a scene that marvelously captures the book's fusion of familiar and exotic elements, the kids sled on pieces of cardboard down a waxed tin roof, a mountain in the distance and colorful laundry and flowers in the foreground. Kids may enjoy trying to separate out the threads of Mayan, Spanish and Chinese cultures, but all come together seamlessly in this snippet of an idyllic childhood. Ages 4-8. (June) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

In Guatemala City, a Chinese immigrant family owns a specialty store where they sell fabric and thread, along with Chinese imports. The events of a typical busy day are recounted through the eyes of the family's youngest daughter. Through the details of daily life, readers see how cultures coexist and enrich one another in this delightful autobiographical story. (PreS-Gr 4) (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.