Beautiful sentiment? Check. Gorgeous illustrations? Check. Own voices? Check. A message we hope every child will embrace and embody? Check, check, check. In other words, Thank You, Omu!, the stunning debut by Nigerian author Oge Mora, embodies everything I love in a picture book — and it blew me away from the very first read.
Right off the bat, we learn that “Omu” is the Igbo word for “Queen.” Thank You, Omu! begins with Omu cooking a delicious red stew to eat for dinner, and its delectable scent travels all throughout the neighborhood. As one neighbor after another visits Omu to find the source of the yummy aroma, each asks for a bowl of stew, and Omu generously shares with all. But when Omu is ready to make dinner for herself, she comes to a sad realization: the pot is empty, and there is no stew left for her! Whatever will she do? The end of the story will delight young readers, reminding us that kindness and generosity are truly infectious.
It is often hard for children to part with things they love- be it toys, markers, or delicious snacks. Yet Thank You, Omu! so beautifully imparts that tremendous joy can be found in sharing the things we love with others. Even better? The story conveys that when we perform good deeds, without any expectation of receiving something in return, we add kindness to the world, and that kindness is paid forward in miraculous ways. Add to this tender story the diverse landscape and cast of characters, as well as the sprinkling of Nigerian culture, and Thank You, Omu! becomes a perfect addition to our #booksforbetter collection. Gratitude and selflessness are values woven into the fabric of people and cultures around the world, and these values are beautifully portrayed through Mora’s stunning collages illustrations and perfect prose. Can you tell how much we love it? Two trunks up!!
Want the book? Get it here! Thank you, Omu! by Oge Mora. *This is an affiliate link. Interested in more wonderful books about gratitude? Check out our list, here!