A Mother for Choco by Keiko Kasza is about a yellow chick with striped feet who lives alone and so heads out into the big wide world to find his mom. Along the way, Choco stops several times to ask animals: “Are you my mother?”
If this story feels familiar to you, that’s probably because it resembles Are You My Mother? by P.D. Eastman. In Eastman’s picture book, a mother bird leaves her nest to find food for her hatching eggs. In her absence, one of her baby birds hatches and starts to wonder who his mother is. He too heads out into the big wide world to find his mom. Along the way, the nameless bird stops several times to ask animals and objects: “Are you my mother?”
Although A Mother for Choco has appeared on more than one adoption list, I have a few complaints with it. Foremost is that except for the adoption twist, the story has been already beautifully done by P.D. Eastman. Aside from the partial rip-off, I don’t care for the fact that Choco looks only for his mother. Where is the adoptive father? I also don’t like the idea that Choco heads out on his own seeks to find a mom. Where are the protective adults who ensure that Choco finds the right mom? Yeah, I realize I’m being overly serious for a picture book, but I’m also envisioning the types of questions I might have to answer.
Those criticisms aside, I actually liked the adoption twist. The mother whom Choco finds is perfect. In addition, the characters are endearing and I enjoyed getting to know them. Choco is a charming chick and his mom is the type everyone should have.
From the reviews on Amazon, A Mother for Choco seems like a huge hit with children who are adopted. I understand the appeal. Are You My Mother? was one of my favorite books growing up. The bird’s feeling of loss and intense need to find his mom connected strongly with me, because when I was about four my mom died. Somehow the fact that this bird found his mom in the end reassured me, even if my mom was forever gone to me. So I can understand that, because Choco both seeks for and finds someone who can be his mom, many adopted children will relate to Choco.
My rating? Read it: Borrow from your library or a friend. It’s worth your time.
Américas Award for Children’s & Young Adult Literature
CLASP founded the Américas Award in 1993 to encourage and commend authors, illustrators and publishers who produce quality children’s and young adult books that portray Latin America, the Caribbean, or Latinos in the United States.
The Caldecott Medal was named in honor of nineteenth-century English illustrator Randolph Caldecott. It is awarded annually to the artist of the most distinguished American picture book for children.
The Carnegie Medal is awarded annually to the writer of an outstanding book for children. It was established by in 1936, in memory of the great Scottish-born philanthropist, Andrew Carnegie.
The Christy Awards are awarded each year to recognize novels of excellence written from a Christian worldview.
Coretta Scott King Award
The Coretta Scott King Book Award titles promote understanding and appreciation of the culture of all peoples. It is given to African American authors and illustrator.
children and young adult blogger literacy awards
Dolly Gray Children’s Literature Award
The Dolly Gray Children’s Literature Award was initiated in 2000 to recognize authors, illustrators, and publishers of high quality fictional and biographical children, intermediate, and young adult books that appropriately portray individuals with deve
Hans Christian Anderson Award
The Hans Christian Andersen Awards is given to a living author and illustrator whose complete works have made a lasting contribution to children’s literature. The award is the highest international recognition an author can receive.
Kate Greenaway Medal
The Kate Greenaway Medal was established in 1955, for distinguished illustration in a book for children. It is named after the popular nineteenth century artist known for her fine children’s illustrations and designs.
Middle East Book Award
The Middle East Book Award recognizes quality books for children and young adults that contribute meaningfully to an understanding of the Middle East and its component societies and cultures.
Mythopoeic Fantasy Award
Honors fantasy books for younger readers, in the tradition of The Hobbit or The Chronicles of Narnia
Newbery Medal Award
The Newbery Medal was named for eighteenth-century British bookseller John Newbery. It is awarded annually to the author of the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children.
Pura Belpré Award
The award is named after Pura Belpré, the first Latina librarian at the New York Public Library. It is presented annually to a Latino/Latina writer and illustrator whose work best portrays, affirms, and celebrates the Latino experience.
Red House Book Award
The Red House Children’s Book Award is a series of literary prizes for works of children’s literature published during the previous year in England.
Sydney Taylor Award
The Sydney Taylor Book Award is presented annually to outstanding books for children and teens that authentically portray the Jewish experience.