Help me find a children's book! It exists and it is a book!
June 5, 2010 11:06 AM   Subscribe

Help me find a picture book about which I can remember almost nothing, and what I remember may or may not be true.

A couple years ago I was helping renovate a house in New Orleans and I came across a children's book lying around that I really liked. I was sure I would remember the title, but of course I didn't, and now that I really want to find it, I feel like one of those people who come to Barnes & Noble to buy "East of Eden" and know only the color of the book & that it is a book.

Here is what I (think I) know, in descending order of certainty: The book is about an African-American girl, between 8 and 13 years old, in an urban neighborhood. It's an oversized hardback, and each page is covered with art, with only about a sentence or two of text per page. The girl lives with just her mother (or possibly grandmother, but pretty sure it's her mother). From what I remember about the types of buildings in her neighborhood, it might be Harlem, or somewhere else in New York City, though I don't think a real-world place is ever explicitly mentioned. The art style has lots of rusty reds and browns, and not much detail; the landscapes and people could theoretically be assembled out of construction paper. I feel like the characters may not have even had faces.

The book is relatively plotless and minimalistic. The girl lives with her mom and enjoys being part of her community. There may have been some kind of conceit, and I remember a very strong and subtle melancholy subtext, but I don't remember what could possibly have been the source of it, or whether it was even from the book or my own state of mind at the time.

The biggest detail I can remember is that there was something in the book about the windows in the girl's mother's house. For a long time, before I tried Googling it, I was actually convinced the title of the book was "No Windows in My Mama's House" - but there's no such book, and I have no clue what that phrase could be suggesting in the context of what I remember of the plot.

If anyone can figure out what on earth I'm talking about, holy crap, I will personally hew you a mighty limestone shrine from the very fundament of the Earth using only my toenails and a dental pick.
posted by geneva uswazi to Writing & Language (5 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
This one?
posted by Admiral Haddock at 11:08 AM on June 5, 2010 [1 favorite]

A Chair for My Mother by Vera Williams.
posted by alms at 11:09 AM on June 5, 2010

No Mirrors in My Nana's House by Ysaye Barnwell - she sings with Sweet Honey in the Rock and this book is also a wonderful song.
posted by Daily Alice at 11:52 AM on June 5, 2010

Amazing. It is TOTALLY "No Mirrors in My Nana's House." Thank you so much, you have solved my existence!
posted by geneva uswazi at 12:37 PM on June 5, 2010

I love that there is a site out there where vague questions like this can get answered correctly 2 minutes after being asked. Thank you Ask MeFi!
posted by Vorteks at 1:59 PM on June 9, 2010

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