When I Carried You in My Belly
Thrity Umrigar, Author
Ziyue Chen, Illustrator
Running Press, Fiction, Apr. 4, 2017
Suitable for Ages: 2-5
Themes: Unborn Child, Parent and child bond, Love, Family Relationships
Opening: When I carried you in my belly, we went to a party once. A little boy pointed at me and yelled, “Mama, that lady ate all the food!” “No, no, honey” his mama whispered. “She has a baby in her belly.” The boy’s eyes grew large. “She ate a whole baby?”
Synopsis: A young mother explains to her daughter how love, kindness, and a sense of fun shaped her even before her birth. The girl’s laughter, her love of music, her sweet disposition, and her caring spirit can be traced back to her time in her mother’s tummy, when her free-spirited mom would sing and dance with her, eat chocolate cake, and feed little birds and stray kittens.
Why I like this book:
Thrity Umrigar’s has written a beautiful love song from a mother to her child. Each refrain begins with “When I carried you in my belly… I sang…I danced… I talked…” The lyrical text is spare with each word carefully chosen. It is repetitive and uplifting. Ziyue Chen illustrations are double-page spreads. They are tender, exquisite and beautifully capture the bond between parent and child.
The book celebrates the love a mother has for her unborn child and how it influences the girl she is becoming. It also captures the love and importance of family –Dad, Grandpa and Grandma are part of the story. What a beautiful story to share with an older child, especially if another baby is on the way! It would lead to some intimate and meaningful discussions between mother and child. Children love to hear stories about their birth and how much they are wanted.
This is a book I would happily gift to a new mother or to a mother with young children. It encourages mothers to love their changing bodies, joyfully embrace motherhood and tenderly connect with the unborn child growing in her belly.
“When I carried you in my belly,
I sang to you all day.
In many different languages.
I sang you songs of joy.
And that is why you feel at home…
any place in the world.”
Resources: This book is a the perfect resource for parents to use with curious young children. Share pictures and ultrasounds you have of your pregnancy and early birth pictures. Let them know characteristics they share with both parents and other family members — grandpa’s smile, mommy’s artistic talents, and daddy’s love of nature.
Thrity Umrigar is the bestselling author of a memoir and six novels, including The Space Between Us, If Today Be Sweet, and the Story Hour. When I Carried You in My Belly is her first picture book. Visit her on her website.