Written and illustrated by Oge Mora
40 pages • Published 2019 (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers)
Recommended Age Range: Preschool through 2nd grade.
Publisher's Summary: In this heartfelt and universal story, a mother and daughter look forward to their special Saturday routine together every single week. But this Saturday, one thing after another goes wrong–ruining storytime, salon time, picnic time, and the puppet show they’d been looking forward to going to all week. Mom is nearing a meltdown…until her loving daughter reminds her that being together is the most important thing of all.
Dr. Annie's Takeaways
Recommended for: Ava and her mother use their coping skills and creativity to salvage their special day, Saturday, even though nothing goes according to plan. This book is, perhaps first and foremost, about a loving relationship between a Black mother and daughter. It is also a lovely story about coping with disappointments and a fun way to encourage children to practice taking deep breaths (there’s a refrain of Ava and her mother taking a deep breath each time something goes wrong).
Would a child like it? This is a book that parents may actually like slightly more than children (which mostly speaks to the fact that many parents will love this book), but most children will enjoy it and be reassured by this saga in which nothing goes right, but the day isn’t ruined.
Evidence-Based Practices: Diaphragmatic Breathing
Tone: Warm, loving
Story Quality: This is a lovely story about coping with disappointments, as well as a beautiful portrayal of a loving mother-daughter relationship. It’s well-written and sweet.
Illustrations: Beautifully styled collage illustrations in vibrant colors.
Representation: Ava is a Black girl with a Black mother. Ava’s mother works six days a week, and Saturday is her day off. Ava and her mother live in a city and take a bus to travel around. They visit the library, hair salon, park, and theater.
Psychological Practices: This story is a nice representation of a mother and daughter coping with disappointments together by taking deep breaths, looking forward to the next fun thing, and being creative. Each time something goes wrong, both Ava and her mother feel upset, but then they both “close their eyes and let out a deep breath.” This is repeated four times throughout the book, and it’s a great opportunity for children to practice deep breathing along with Ava and her mother. Each time there’s a disappointment, Ava’s mother reassures her by reminding her of the next fun plan. After the final thing goes wrong (Ava’s mother forgot the puppet show tickets at home), Ava’s mother “crumple[s]” and blames herself, saying “I ruined Saturday.” Ava takes a turn reassuring her mother by saying, “Saturdays are wonderful because I spend them with you.” When they return home, Ava and her mother have the idea to make their own puppet show at home, and they ultimately conclude that despite things going wrong, it was “a beautiful day.” It’s a nice representation of how staying flexible and being creative can turn a day when nothing goes right into a good day after all.
Concerns: Ava’s mother repeatedly tells Ava, “Don’t worry” after things go wrong. This can come off as invalidating if a child (or adult) is feeling upset about something. It works for Ava’s mother because both mother and child have strong emotion regulation skills (i.e., pausing and taking a deep breath), but for a child who is still upset, being told not to worry can actually make things worse.
Watch a Read-Aloud: YouTube (not affiliated with Dr. Annie's Bookshelf)
Buy This Book: Amazon | Better World Books | Powell's Books