Book Review: Thank You, Omu!

Omu

As part of my Post-K Summer Reading Boot Camp:
https://sarahleastories.com/2019/06/08/post-k-summer-reading-boot-camp-2019 

Thank you, Omu, is a story about a single, grandmotherly lady with a giving heart, though I’m afraid this book might teach my child that it is acceptable for random strangers (after all, Omu refers to her visitors as Ms. Police Officer, Mr. Hot Dog Vendor, etc.) to just show up at one’s door, unannounced and asking for free food.  Lucky for Omu that in a Capra-esque way, they return her generosity tenfold.  

However, the story would’ve been more believable had it centered on Omu’s apartment neighbors rather than nameless strangers.  

The illustrations aren’t that great, yet I liked them.  The inside of the book is printed with a birds-eye view of the city; the collaging medium using newspapers (in part) fit the big city vibe, though some of the cutouts (like the faceless people in the bus) seemed thrown in to fill space.  Some finer detail work would’ve added depth and interest–like a title on the book Omu was reading. The colors are muted and the paper almost has a recycled feel, the look making me think of brown paper bags–as humble and heartwarming as Omu’s stew.  

I didn’t like the font changing back and forth; font should always be kept plain when it’s part of the text.  (However, when it’s part of the art, anything goes.) Furthermore, I didn’t care for the giant “Knock” words as they came across as loud banging rather than polite knocking.

I’m glad the author included a policewoman but not a woman construction worker in the attempt to be politically correct at the expense of believability.  

What I got from this story is that food, made with love–including self-love–brings people together.  It was almost a Biblical allegory in that there was no way Omu made that much stew for herself yet had enough to feed everyone who came.

This was a nice effort, and one I will read to my daughter again.  Also check out the author’s website–very sleek and comprehensive.  

The little thank you card at the end was perfect–it brought me back to the days when my parents and I would invite the Mormon missionaries over for dinner, and they’d always leave one as a surprise.

Don’t let thank you cards become a thing of the past.

My note to the author:  “A thick red stew” was repeated so much, I wish the recipe had been included.  Little extras like that are like a lagniappe, and such would be a great addition to your site.

Suggested activity:  Go over the list of vocations mentioned in the book.  Ask what a cop does, a baker, a mayor, etc. Convey to your child that by working, we make the world work.  As a child, I loved dreaming about what I wanted to be when I grew up, which was everything from a “beauty shopper” (i.e. beautician) to a chocolate cake baker.  Let your child dream and imagine, showing them that working with your hands as well as your mind can help solve at least one of the world’s problems somewhere, and that a trade school certification is just as honorable as a college degree.

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/34642482-thank-you-omu

The Grammar Girl Returns

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Today is the day I start my Baccalaureate program as a Creative Writing major.  I was fortunate to be able to take two months off from work to read, write, and spend time with my family; I even got to catch up with friends.  I got back into the habit of strength training (as weightlifting doesn’t sound very feminine) and took up water aerobics; I’ve also focused on updating all my online presences (including my portfolio), professionalizing them for potential employers as well as uploading my resumes to all the usual suspects (e.g. Indeed, Glassdoor, etc.).  The university I am attending also provided invaluable feedback on my resume and cover letters.  

After refreshing my Upwork account, I was hired as an independent contractor to proofread documents submitted by Grammarly clients.  Even though I work from home, the job has a very Silicon Valley startup feel, which I love.  I am learning so much already; it’s a great gig.  Though there is nothing quite like being able to set your own hours, walk into the next room to go to work, and never answer a telephone, I will always be the type of person who has to have an outside job where I communicate face-to-face.  I’m a people person who also happens to be an introvert.

In addition to my jobs as an office assistant at uni and as a professional writing tutor, my plate will be full, but it will be full of things I enjoy, and that makes all the difference.  

Writerly and Grammarly,
Sarah Richards, Class of 2022

She’d graduated a Titan
before The New Millennium,
watching her training grounds
as a gladiator
in the public school arena
disappear.
Loosely prepared
to become a Pirate,
she laid down
her educational armor,
only to pick it up again
with eyes wide open,
diving head first
into the land of magnolias,
with their spinach green leaves
& mascarpone white petals.
Now, well-prepared
to become an Argonaut,
her armor fortified
with precious mettle,
she dove once more,
under graying canopies
of Spanish moss.
As a Titan,
she had brought home
the bronze medallion;
as a Pirate,
the silver chest;
but as an Argonaut,
she would put upon herself
the Golden Fleece
& battle with her wits
that had no end.

Writer’s Digest Wednesday Poetry Prompt #487: Praise

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In Praise of Allyson Rey Kelly

There are licorice lollies & Turkish Delights aplenty
for the President & Executive Director,
a little bit of this & a lot of that
for the other VIPs–
these community organizers
who meet & make Big Things happen
for the little people.
Ms. Kelly’s uniform is a stiff, navy blue blazer,
her lunch,
a cup of coffee hastily made by her eager assistant
& a grab-and-go sandwich,
grabbed & gotten by said assistant
on her own time.
Her life is serialized into board meetings–
one
after the other
after
the
other.
In place of family photos,
there is a flattering caricature of herself
on the cover of South Alabama magazine.
Torso-sized & framed in silver,
the headline reads:
Allyson R. Kelly–a disciple of our time?
She laughs at all the right moments
& at all the right things
& with all the right people.
Her words are measured
as if she is making a souffle.
She does not understand the little creative writer
who sits at her desk quietly;
she cannot conceive of why she writes words
that do not inspire others to give money
to someone other than the writer herself.
In her world,
there are big raisers, big givers,
& those who serve both.
Allyson doesn’t bleed
but hemorrhages all over the pages
the writer gives to her,
for she is a little christ,
bleeding for the sins
of the little writer
whose words–
written all in fun–
will never compete
with all the good A.R.K. makes happen
with the words she speaks.

Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 487

Micropoetry Monday: Self-Reflection

Reflections, Saint Patrick's Day

She tried to have it all,
but when she saw the long hours
her husband worked &
the times he was away
from her & the kids,
she realized that no one could have it all,
all the time,
for even as there was a place for everything
& everything in its place,
there was a time for this,
& a time for that.
There was no time for everything.

When she’d thought she wanted the job,
she didn’t get it;
when she didn’t want the job anymore
(having seen what it was all about),
she got it.
Even though she was glad to get it,
having learned so much from it,
she was going to be gladder to get out of it
& take what she had learned from it
to use elsewhere.

She saw, in these 5 teenagers
who crashed the park,
a little of what she had once been—
hanging out with friends every weekend,
rather than on the rare times
when she was able to pull herself away
from her responsibilities,
of walking the streets at dusk without worrying
about anyone’s safety but her own.
When one of the girls smiled her way,
she wondered if she had ever looked
at a young mother like that—
like she couldn’t ever imagine being one someday.