By Dr. Paula Bloom
I know very little about people who live in the Arctic regions. As a child, I remember hearing that Eskimos had many different words for snow. Come to find out that this is a myth. Apparently, they have just as many words rooted in the word snow as we do in English. There are so many assumptions I’ve held based on things I’ve heard and never examined.
My favorite board book to read to the kids when they were little was Mama, Do You Love Me? by Barbara M. Joosse(illustrated by Barbara Lavalle.) It’s an Alaskan tale about a little girl who is testing to see what the limits of her mother’s love might be. In a series of questions she wonders if her mother would love her even if she dropped some eggs, threw water on their lamp or even if she ran away. In each scenario, the mom says that she would still love her little girl.
One of the my favorite exchanges is:
Girl: What if I put salmon in your parka, ermine in your mittens and lemmings in your mukluks?
Mother: Then I would be angry…But still, I would love you.
I have to confess that before reading this book I had no idea what ermine (a short-tailed weasel) or mukluks (a soft boot for cold weather originally worn by Arctic people) were. I’ve always been fascinated by people who live in Arctic weather. I grew up in South Florida so I can’t imagine what it would be like to have snow for more than 5 days a year!
During a recent search for another book I came across our copy of Mama, Do You Love Me?As I sat there and read through it I was flooded with warm memories of cuddling up with my kids and reassuring them that even when I’m angry, I still love them. Some days it’s easier than others to remember how much you love them, isn’t it?
This tale about the coldest of regions warms me to my core. Having not read the book in several years I had forgotten how beautiful the illustrations are and how much I like the colors and clothing. I realize that a thick parka with a fur-lined hood would probably never be appropriate for the weather here in Atlanta. But, a cute pair of boots that resembled the mother’s mukluks would be. So, inspired by the book, I ordered a pair of Cushe Women’s Manuka Fawn WP Boots. I’m excited to try them out. Hopefully, I’ll never find lemmings in them.
What children’s books warm you up? I’d love to hear from you!