Title: Sometimes My Mommy Gets Angry
Author: Bebe Moore Campbell
Illustrator: E.B. Lewis
Publisher and Year: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 2003
Number of pages: 27
Genre: realistic fiction
Descriptive Annotation: Annie loves waking up to sunshine, pancakes, and a happy mom, who brushes her hair and helps her get ready for school. Unfortunately, not every morning is like this. Annie’s mom, Judy, has a mental illness. One afternoon after school, Annie comes home to find her mother in one of her manic phases. Annie does not understand why her mom gets angry, nor does she like it because it means she will have to take care of herself. However, she knows exactly what to do. She calls her grandmother, who calms her down and reminds her to think happy thoughts. She also reassures Annie that her mother loves her very much, even when she is angry. The next morning, Annie realizes she will have “to be a big girl again” and get herself dressed, fed, and ready for school. Annie walks to school with her silly friends, who make her laugh and feel better. Annie finds solace knowing that even when her mom has dark days, she can still find the sunshine.
In the author’s note, Campbell dedicates this book to all of the children whose parent or loved one struggles with a mental illness. She also spends some time explaining what a mental illness is and how a person who is struggling with one, or their child, can find help. You may want to read the author’s note to your students before reading this book so students have some idea of what a mental illness it. The illustrations are vivid and full of emotion, and Campbell’s story-telling ability makes your heart ache for children like Annie.
Linguistic and Cultural Diversity Analysis: The author and main character are African-American. However, there are no other references to cultural diversity. While the text may make this book difficult for young readers to read, it would be a great book to read aloud because of how powerful the story is.
Interdisciplinary Connections: To integrate writing, you could have your students write a letter to Annie to cheer her up. To integrate science and psychology of the mind for older students, you could have your students research mental illnesses and give an oral report or make a poster.
Other Information: I love this book. It is such a powerful and emotional story. Annie is helpless and this story makes you want to jump in and help her. This book would be a great read for early elementary children, especially those who have a similar life story to Annie’s.