The word “omu” means queen in the Igbo language of Nigeria. In Thank You, Omu!, by Oge Mora, Omu makes a delicious stew and its aroma spreads throughout her urban neighborhood. Omu appears to live alone and the stew was for her dinner, but each time a new person comes to her door to comment on the delightful smell, she offers them a bowl with a smile. Throughout the day, her pot of stew empties, until she is left in the evening without any dinner. Luckily, the people in her community are filled with gratitude for her generosity and they come to her door with a feast that everyone can share.
Thank You, Omu!, also reflects the diversity within our communities especially within race, ethnicity, and gender. Mora’s use of descriptive language is fantastic including such phrases as: scrumptious stew, big fat pot, thick red stew, and shiny red envelope. Mora’s collage illustrations are exceptional with their mixture of cut paper, paint, pastels, and book clippings. Thank You, Omu!, was the recipient of a 2019 Caldecott Honor and the winner of the 2019 Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe New Talent Illustrator Award.
This would be a great picture book to share with students in the early elementary grades to talk about sharing, friendship, and community. It would also be a great introduction to a new style of illustration for young readers.
Teaching Tolerance Social Justice Standards:
Diversity 6: I like being around people who are like me and different from me, and I can be friendly to everyone.
Diversity 8: I want to know about other people and how our lives and experiences are the same or different.
RL.3- Describe characters, settings, and major events in a story, using key details.
RL.4- Identify words and phrases in stories or poems that suggest feelings or appeal to the senses.
RL.7- Use illustrations and details in a story to describe its characters, setting, or events.