Booktalking: "What Momma Left Me" by Renee Watson
Siblings Serenity and Danny are ravaged by their mother's death, attempting to fill the holes in their hearts with something, anything to alleviate the crippling pain. Luckily, their family takes them in, and their grandparents arrange for them to receive personal counseling.
Serenity finds Maria, a new best friend at her new school and church. Danny finds Jay and Ricky… and hustling and selling drugs.
Following their father's suicide, Danny destroys the family television and gets into a fight at school with a boy who said something about him and his sister being orphans. Serenity struggles with Maria's solicitous attitude towards former frenemy, Lisa, who gave her an expensive birthday gift. Serenity ultimately pines for Maria and becomes lonely.
There is some light for Serenity, however. In school, the 8th grader learns about Maya Angelou, Langston Hughes, and other influential African-Americans, finding that her race and experience are not deleted from the American history books being used to teach her. The push-and-pull on the girl between her boyfriend, Jay, and what she knows is right, leaves her off-balance.
Another brilliant work by Watson. What Momma Left Me gives readers an inside look at the ugly world of fatal domestic violence and kids facing poverty, pushing drugs, and getting killed.