Inspiring Young Readers

posted on 23 Apr 2024

My Momo-la is a Museum by Mamta Nainy & Violet Kim

Every summer a young girl gets excited about a visit from her grandmother – her Momo-la – who brings with her a bag of ‘unusual things’ and a fund of magical stories.

“Whoever knows my grandmother knows that she is a collector of unusual things. Stones, Sea glass, Snow globes.

But most of all, stories.”

Every night her Momo-la tells her a different story and the young girl is puzzled about where they all come from. Her grandmother tells her that stories are to be found everywhere “But there are few places that stories especially like.”

And so, the two set off the next day to visit some of those places – museums, art galleries, a space museum, a maritime museum, a craft museum and a natural history museum. Everywhere they go there are echoes of Momo-la’s own life – the things she wears, the things she owns and even the way she looks.

After the long day full of museums, the two set off home and the grandmother tells the young girl stories about her own life, her background and her culture. At home the girl has a surprise in store when she reveals that her own special museum is her very own Momo-la.

This gentle story of the bond between a grandmother and grandchild and the sharing of family and cultural memories is based on the autobiographical story of Mamta Nainy herself. In a final page of the book the author writes us a ‘letter’ explaining that her own grandmother had her own box of objects and memories and every time she opened the it she would tell a story about how she had been a Tibetan refugee and had migrated to India.

“Each time she opened that box, she told me these stories. And through these stories, I discovered more about my grandmother. As I grew up, I understood that my grandmother was keeping her memories safe. She was her own museum!”

The key message of the book is that we are all our own museums – as we grow older, we gather things around us that tell something of the story of our lives. But these things can only come to life when we tell the story that surrounds them and we let others share the journeys we have made.

The book is generously illustrated by Violet Kim who brings the story of the young girl and her Momo-la to life in densely coloured and detailed drawings that fill every page.

Available from Lantana Publishing, you will be able to get this book from your local independent bookshop – who will, of course, be happy to order you a copy if they don’t have it on their shelves.

Terry Potter

April 2024