Mama and Papa Have a Store

Written and illustrated by Amelia Lau Carling

Paperback: $9.95

Six Pack: $59.70

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.

Check out reading and craft tips created by the staff and partners of Reading to Kids, a grassroots organization dedicated to inspiring underserved children with a love of reading.

About the Creators

Amelia Lau Carling - Author, Illustrator

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.

About This Title


Paperback: 9781620143087

Six Pack: 9781620143346


Américas Book Award
Consortium of Latin American Studies Programs

Pura Belpré Illustrator Award Honor

Cooperative Children's Book Center (CCBC)

Notable Social Studies Trade Books for Young People
National Council for the Social Studies/ Children's Book Council

Guided Reading:




Interest Level:

Grades K - 6

Reading Level:

Grades 3 - 4


Asian/Asian American Interest, Childhood Experiences and Memories, China, Cultural Diversity, Economics/Finance, Education, Empathy/Compassion, Families, Home, Immigration, Latino/Hispanic/Mexican Interest, Multiethnic interest, Occupations, People In Motion, Persistence/Grit

Part of These Collections