Kid’s Book Review: My Mother’s Tongues

Kid’s Book Review: My Mother’s Tongues

About the Book and Author and Illustrator

This lyrical story was written by Uma Menon when she was  still a teenager. It is a celebration of the gift of multilingualism. A skill that enables those blessed to travel, integrate and communicate across cultural and geographical borders.

The illustrated story also recognises how precious every voice is – with its idiosyncrasies (use of dialect, accent, tone) that make us unique.

In this story Sumi’s mother can speak two languages, Malayalam and English. She can switch between them at the speed of sound: one language when talking to Sumi’s grandmother, another when she addresses the shopkeeper. Sometimes she speaks a combination of both. Could it be she possesses a superpower?

We were delighted to be able to share this special book with Theo and his bilingual mum whose joint review is published below.

Uma Menon is a 20-year-old author and human rights advocate from  Florida, U.S. This is her first book.

Rahele Jomepour Bell  came to the United States from Iran in 2011 to pursue her dream of being a free international artist and graduated with an MFA in Integrated Visual Arts from Iowa State University in 2015. She is now a full- time freelance picture book illustrator, and she teaches as a full-time assistant professor at the Department of Illustration at Kansas city Art Institute.

Book Review

I hope I can speak many languages when I grow up and it can be my superpower

Theo’s opinion – I love this book as my grandparents are from Kerala and my Mum is too. My grandad read this book to me in English and in Malayalam over the Easter holidays. In the book, I liked seeing the people on the houseboat and the coconut trees. I can remember going on a boat when I was in Kerala. I like going on the plane and I enjoyed meeting my grandparents in India and my other relatives in Kerala.

I hope I can speak many languages when I grow up and it can be my superpower as it has helped my Mum live and work in many countries. I loved seeing the word ‘superpower’ in different languages in big bright letters.

Mum’s Opinion – This was a really lovely and relatable story of a mum from Kerala moving from India to America and speaking in two tongues – Malayalam and English. The book features scenes in Kerala showing the traditional houseboat and also a family scene eating from a banana leaf. It is beautifully illustrated and it is great to see the Malayalam language in a story book.

The reason I could relate was that my parents migrated from Kerala to work in the UK many years ago. They both speak two tongues too and it is also a way to share my love of Kerala with Theo by reading this story to him and looking at the pictures as he visited Kerala a couple of years ago.

If you would like to buy a copy of the book we invite you to order it from your local independent book shop.

Or, you can shop on-line and support our Kids Reviews page by sourcing your discounted book via this link

Please Buy Here

Alternatively, we suggest that you visit your local library and request to borrow a copy from a friendly librarian.

Whichever you choose we hope you enjoy being part of your unique reading community – happy reading everyone!


Reviewer Profile

  • Name: Theo
  • Age: 4 years
  • Likes: ice-cream, swimming and Tiger (cuddly toy)
  • Dislikes: being dirty
  • Favourite Book: Dogs in Disguise by Peter Bently
  • Favourite TV Show: Hey Duggee
  • Favourite Song: Sleeping Bunnies