It’s been almost a year since I made a post on my website and I am happy to announce my return with a review of Chimamanda’s latest work – Mama’s Sleeping Scarf! It also helps that today is her birthday and as her biggest fan, I am sending her all my love and wishes for the new year!
A joyful exploration of family life, written by one of the most outstanding contemporary authors of our generation. This beautiful family story follows a young girl called Chino as she plays with her mama’s sleeping scarf through the day. Running with the scarf, Chino weaves together little incidentals of home life into a glorious celebration of the power of a mother-daughter relationship, and the gentle joys that build a perfect day. Exquisitely written with compelling simplicity, this is a heartfelt homage to family love. A compelling debut picture book from one of the most important voices in literature today, brought into glorious technicolour through the vibrant and contemporary illustrations of Joelle Avelino.
In 2020, Adichie was awarded the Women’s Prize for Fiction ‘Winner of Winners’ for her novel Half of a Yellow Sun. During the virtual event honouring her win, she mentioned wanting to explore Children’s Literature and with joy, I wondered what her first book for children would look like. Fast forward to 2023, Mama’s Sleeping Scarf is here!
In a world filled with bustling routines and constant distractions, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s “Mama’s Sleeping Scarf” offers a tranquil refuge, a glimpse into the warmth and simplicity of a typical day in a happy family’s life. As I delved into this charming children’s book, I found myself instantly transported into a world where love, laughter, and togetherness reign supreme.
Narrated with Adichie’s signature eloquence (I went the audio book route), “Mama’s Sleeping Scarf” unfolds effortlessly, weaving a narrative that resonates with the hearts of both young and old. Through the lens of an adorable family, this story captures the essence of what makes a family so special. It’s a tale of grandparents who adore their daughter and her own daughter, healthy meals and smoothie prepared by a father who radiates love and support, and a working mother who thrives.
One of the unique aspects of “Mama’s Sleeping Scarf” is its ability to encapsulate the beauty of the everyday. It celebrates the mundane moments that are often taken for granted—the aroma of a homecooked meal, the joy of listening to grandparents’ tales, and the comfort of a mother’s embrace. These seemingly ordinary occurrences are presented in a way that elevates them to moments of pure magic.
In an interview with Christiane Amanpour of CNN, she talked about making the scarf, an integral part of the story as she wanted to celebrate hair. Most Africans can relate to a Sleeping scarf or hair net and bonnets and she wanted to take this identity of ours and make it universal. Chimamanda is a big fan of OUR HAIR – RE: AMERICANAH!!!
I had the pleasure of experiencing this story through Audible – as earlier mentioned, and it was a delight to listen to Adichie narrate it. This made the story more captivating for me. It’s a book that can be enjoyed in a matter of minutes but leaves a lasting impression.
In a world where children’s literature is often filled with fantastical adventures and whimsical creatures, “Mama’s Sleeping Scarf” stands out as a heartwarming reminder of the beauty found within the bonds of family, especially extended family. It encourages us to cherish the moments we spend with our loved ones, to savor the little things that make life extraordinary.
Having lost her parents recently, Adichie is really still trying to navigate life through grief. No one gets used to losing both parents in quick successions. And so for her, writing this book for her daughter, as a daughter, was her way of celebrating the love her parents had for her daughter and the love she had for her parents.
As I reflect on this touching tale, I can’t help but be reminded of the power of storytelling to connect us with our shared humanity. “Mama’s Sleeping Scarf” is not just a children’s book; it’s a testament to the enduring love and resilience of families everywhere.
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie has once again shown her mastery of storytelling, and I wholeheartedly recommend this book to readers of all ages.
So, whether you’re looking for a heartwarming story to share with your little ones or simply seeking a moment of nostalgia and reflection, “Mama’s Sleeping Scarf” is the perfect choice. It’s a gentle reminder that, in the tapestry of life, it’s the threads of family that make it truly beautiful.
Nwa Grace na James, Jisi Ike!