Cover image for My baby
My baby
Winter, Jeanette.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Frances Foster Books, 2001.
Physical Description:
32 unnumbered pages : color illustrations ; 24 cm
As she waits for her baby to be born, a young African woman describes some of the sights and sounds of her Mali homeland as she creates a beautiful bogolan cloth for her child.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR LG 2.5 0.5 48649.
Geographic Term:
Format :


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

On Order



Nakunte's mother teaches her how to make bogolan, a cloth painted with mud using traditional techniques practiced for centuries by the women of Mali. After selecting her materials and looking to the natural world for her inspiration, Nakunte is ready to make an important bogolan for herself, and for her baby. Full-color illustrations.

Author Notes

Jeanette Winter has written and/or illustrated over a dozen children's books, including "Calavera Abecedario" and "The Librarian of Basra: A True Story from Iraq," as well as biographies of Diego Rivera, Johann Sebastian Bach and Georgia O'Keeffe among others.

Winter is celebrated for her distinctive painting style, picture design, and usage of brilliant colors. She has received the American Illustrators Guild Award twice.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Ages 5^-7, older for reading alone. Inspired by the mud-dyed cloth of the Nakunte Diarra people of Mali, Winter creates a story about a young African woman who makes a special bogolan for the baby she is expecting. The story begins during the narrator's youth, as she watches her mother make bogolan cloth. Soon she is given a strip of cloth of her own and a painting stick to dip in the mud. Small cloths become bigger cloths, and eventually she makes material for people to wrap themselves in at weddings and at funerals. After marrying and becoming pregnant, she takes readers on a step-by-step journey to find the whitest cloth, the purest mud, and the best leaf to turn the mud dark. When the rains come, her baby will be born, and the bogolan will be finished--but first there are some hazards that must be avoided, including scorpions and drought. In some ways this seems like two stories: a tale about the girl who grows up to be the best bogolan maker in the village and one about her woes and joys as she makes her cloth and awaits her baby. Older children, who can better appreciate both the techniques and emotions, are probably the book's best audience. But many readers--from little ones to adults--will be enthralled by the illustrations. Cool, pure colors serve as background for stylized renderings of life on the African savanna, with the pictures bordered, highlighted, and accented by the batiklike effect of the bogolan cloth. Unfortunately, there is no information about how the art was done. Kids who read this alone will probably wish for more detail about the cloth-making process, which is explained in general terms. But all children will appreciate the striking craftsmanship of the cloth and this visual interpretation. --Ilene Cooper

Publisher's Weekly Review

Winter travels to Mali with aplomb in this picture book exploration of a traditional textile art. As a child, Nakunte learns from her mother how to create the patterned cloth called b•g•lan ("Her painting stick goes CLICK-CLICK in and out of the mud paint all day long") worn for special occasions like weddings and funerals, and later, an adult Nakunte keeps the whole village supplied with the beautiful cloth she paints. With the arrival of her own baby imminent, Nakunte gets to work on a b•g•lan for the little one. Searching out the whitest cloth, she mixes up a mud "black as a starless night" and begins. "Listen, my baby, do you hear the drums that call?" Nakunte says as she paints a drum-shaped border for the cloth; Winter frames the image of Nakunte at work with the same repeating drum pattern. As Nakunte tells her unborn child about the wonders of the world around her, she incorporates elements of each into her cloth. From checks that mimic a leopard's spots to the herringbone pattern of a fish skeleton, the designs slowly fill the b•g•lanÄjust in time. "WelcomeÄmy baby!" Winter sets up a sumptuous contrast between the stark black-and-white of the b•g•lan cloth and the color harmonies of the vivid African setting. And her fascination with artistryÄexpressed in books about subjects as diverse as Bach, Georgia O'Keeffe and Diego RiveraÄexpands in this poetic tale that draws an elegant parallel between artistic creation and procreation. Ages 3-6. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

K-Gr 3-An introduction to a fascinating artistic tradition from Mali. The native craft of a mud-painted cloth called b•g•lan forms the basis for the story about a young girl named Nakunte Diarra. Her life is depicted through the stages of her creative development in learning to make the prized b•g•lan. As a youngster, she learns conventional painting methods from her mother. Over time, she grows in her artistry until she is much sought after by the village for cloths for weddings, births, and funerals. The years march on and in due time, Nakunte marries and conceives a child. In preparation for her infant's birth, she decorates her baby's b•g•lan, and describes her inspirations from nature to her unborn child. She tells of the white snake, the leopard, the scorpion, crocodile, and the calabash flower. The designs inspired by the world around the young woman appear in charming frames surrounding each wonder as she details its uniqueness. Winter's trademark folk-art style distinguished by simple forms and a colorful palette serves the subject and the landscape of this African village well.-Rosalyn Pierini, San Luis Obispo City-County Library, CA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.