Cover image for The remembering stone
The remembering stone
Russell, Barbara T.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Farrar Straus Giroux, 2004.
Physical Description:
1 volume (unpaged) : color illustrations ; 29 cm
As a young girl and her mother watch the flocks of black birds preparing for their journey south, the mother dreams of returning to Costa Rica where she was born.
General Note:
Melanie Kroupa books
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR LG 4.0 0.5 78535.
Added Author:
Electronic Access:
Publisher description
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
J PIC. BK. Juvenile Fiction Childrens Area-Picture Books

On Order



A surprising journey of self-discovery In early fall, the blackbirds creak like rusty wheels behind our apartment . . . "One day I will return like you," my mother tells the birds. "But for now, you go. Que les vaya bien. Safe journey." Ana doesn't understand the pull of this faraway place until one night she puts her favorite thing -- a stone spit from the volcanoes of Costa Rica - underneath her pillow. She imagines herself a blackbird flying to this country her mother longs to see again, with "mountains [that] stretch over steamy cedar and ebony forests, noisy with bright birds . . . [her] grandfather and uncles gathering cacao pods from the trees." And as Ana imagines what she would see, she develops her own emotional link to this place and people, who, while far away, are part of her. This evocative picture book with its striking, bold art celebrates the importance of hope, dreams, and cultural roots -- and will have special resonance for all thos who find themselves at the crossroads of two cultures.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

PreS-Gr. 2. Living in a city apartment, a child dreams of returning with her mother to the family in Costa Rica where Mama was born. The words are lyrical--the blackbirds in the yard lift like a carpet being shaken, then fall again in one piece --and the beautiful, richly patterned illustrations show the diverse city neighborhood as well as the far-off places that mother and daughter dream about. Other people dream, too, including Mr. Nguyen, who works long hours for money to bring his family to the U.S., though the grouchy, angry baker for whom Mama works has given up on dreaming. This is more mood piece than story, but many kids in immigrant families will recognize the intimacy, longing, and loss, as well as the pictures and the stories of places and people far away that are part of who we are. --Hazel Rochman Copyright 2004 Booklist

Publisher's Weekly Review

Russell's (The Taker's Stone) lyrical story centers on Ana and her mother, who imagine where the blackbirds in their garden are headed. Musing that they might fly across the ocean, Mam tells them, "One day I will return like you" and the young narrator knows that she is dreaming of visiting her native Costa Rica. Ana then shifts focus, somewhat jarringly, to tell of others' dreams: her best friend wants to be an actress, the Asian man who serves the two girls lunch at a restaurant dreams of bringing his distant family "here" to live. Everyone shares dreams except the grouchy baker who employs Ana's mother, who in turn suggests that the baker has forgotten that "a person must have dreams as well as bread." Ana, wondering what her own dream might be, discovers the answer when she places a stone brought from Costa Rica under her pillow one night and "imagine[s] the land from which it came." Cotts's (The Christmas Gift) inventively stylized paintings balance subdued background colors with controlled, energetic use of bright patterns on figures and objects in the foreground. The effect stays true to both the story's often folk-like mood and to its contemporary urban setting, enhancing the text's movements between the everyday and the imagined. Ages 5-8. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

Gr 1-4-Young Ana is surrounded by people with dreams-her friend Sophia wants to be an actress, her neighbor wants to buy the apartment building she lives in, a local restaurant owner wants to bring his family to America. Ana doesn't realize her own heart's desire until a volcanic stone from her ancestral home inspires a dream in which she and her mother travel to Costa Rica to be reunited with Ana's grandparents. Despite the lyrical language, the plot falters in places, only becoming cohesive in the second half of the story. The illustrations, however, never fail to delight. The lush, richly patterned pictures beautifully complement the tale, the soft earth tones imbuing each page with a warm golden hue. The images of Ana and her mother are particularly soulful. The text is sprinkled with phrases in Spanish, and a brief glossary is included.-Sue Morgan, Tom Kitayama Elementary School, Union City, CA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.