Momma is a stone-cutter for the massive Cathedral of St John the Divine ("Big John"). Every day she comes home exhausted and covered in dust, but what she's doing is important. Her son "little John" is proud of his momma and excited to see the cathedral... but when he does, he's disappointed. All the stones look the same! How will anyone know which one was his momma's stone? This is a book, as the publisher says, that "lovingly shows the grace and dignity of having pride in one’s work — and in one’s Momma."
This book is seriously gorgeous. And there is a certain page spread that made me cry the first time I saw it. It is perfect for anyone interested in any of the following: NYC architecture or history, stories about strong women, stories about mothers and sons, stories about art and artisans, African-American stories... uh yeah. Basically it is perfect for most thinking people, is what I mean. It's touching and spectacular.
(Oh and the historical aspect is really cool too; this story is based on real events. The Cathedral of St John the Divine is arguably the largest Cathedral in the world, it is right in Morningside Heights section of NYC on Amsterdam and 110th St. It started being built in 1892. 120 years later it is still unfinished. !!! And there really was an apprenticeship program that trained neighborhood people to be stonecutters through the 1980's and 90's.)
Buy the book from your local independent bookstore, from my local independent bookstore, from Mara's local independent bookstore Aaron's Books, amaz*n, B&N, Book Depository, or anywhere fine picture books are sold.
With Rockliff's plainspoken lyricism providing scaffolding for Low's incandescent realism, the story of a struggling family transformed through the joy and power of meaningful work is woven into the history of a beloved spiritual landmark. Whether the scene is inside the narrator's modest apartment or looking down from the barrel vault ceiling onto the cathedral's magnificent nave, every page is infused with golden light, quiet pride, and soaring hope.
--Publishers Weekly (starred review)
Rockliff's lyrical text celebrates collaboration and communion, whether as voices rising in a cathedral hymn or among the skilled workers who labored over more than a century. Low renders many gorgeous digital spreads, articulating the extraordinary light and deep shadows within and outside the architecturally splendid cathedral...An intriguing examination of the inside story of one of New York City's most important and beloved monuments.--Kirkus Reviews