My Mother’s Tongues: A Weaving of Languages is a clever story of a young girl and her family’s talents with languages. Well, her mother can speak two different languages. She has one for her mother and daughter, and another for the cashier. However, sometimes the two are mixed. And the young girl explores her family and how they learned to speak several languages, and what that means. The connection between the generations is sweet and the cultural connections are delightful to learn.
Uma Menon introduces us to a woman who speaks Malayalam and English through the eyes of a loving child. The innocence and sophistication of Sumi (the child) is a wonderful combination. The mother is from part of India probably few are familiar with, or really unfamiliar with India as a whole. Yet, the journey that is taken by Sumi’s mother is a familiar one of immigration. As a plus for me as an adult reader, I liked that things were not “strange” or weird, but Sumi celebrates this talent she has. And while the theme of language being a superpower is not new, it is how it is presented that is.
The art of Rahele Jomepour Bell is delightful and looks like the fabric the girl compares her mothers ability to speak more than one language. The deatias are strong, the colors are earthy and bold. They fit the ideas and path of the story. They are unique and are supportive to the events of the story. With a modern feel, they are worldly.