Mama and Papa Have a Store
Written and illustrated by Amelia Lau Carling
From the clip, clop of the milkman’s mule in the early morning to the clacking of her father’s abacus at night, a young girl brings us into her home, which is also her parents’ store. Located in Guatemala City, the store is filled with the colorful textures of cloth, threads, buttons, and things from her parents’ homeland in China. As people come and go throughout the day, the girl hears several languages—Spanish, Chinese, and Mayan.
The Mayans buy thread for weaving in colors such as “parrot green” and “mango yellow.” The girl’s parents talk about their hometown in China, from which they emigrated, fleeing a war, years ago. The girl and her brothers and sisters make up games to play on the rooftop terrace, on the sidewalk, and in the store. After supper the girl dances to celebrate her day.
Lyrical writing and delightful artwork will captivate both children and adults in this story drawn from the author/illustrator’s childhood memories.
About the Creators
Amelia Lau Carling was born and grew up in Guatemala, the youngest of six children of Chinese immigrants. Surrounded by family and customers in her parents’ general store, she learned about Chinese, Spanish, and Mayan cultures. After moving to the United States, she was inspired to write Mama and Papa Have a Store, her debut book, by her own children’s fascination with stories of her childhood. Carling now lives in Yonkers, New York.