by Caleb Powell (with a little help from Mommy and Daddy)
“The Talking Cloth” by Rhonda Mitchell is about a little girl named Amber who enjoys visiting her Aunt Phoebe and listening to her stories and “imagining all of the people and places” her Aunt Phoebe has seen.” Aunt Phoebe has lots of things that Amber’s dad calls junk but Amber’s mom calls them Aunt Phoebe’s “collection of life.” Amber likes when Aunt Phoebe tells her about her “collection of life” — like the story about the silk adinkra cloth made by the Ashanti people in Ghana. Amber also really likes that she gets to drink mocha when she visits her Aunt Phoebe. Amber’s dad says that the mocha will stop Amber from growing but Aunt Phoebe tells him that Amber grew, “inside,” just from learning that mocha is named after a city in Yemen.
In “The Talking Cloth,” Aunt Phoebe takes a cloth out of a laundry basket that is full of things that she bought in Africa. The white cloth she shows Amber is very long and has “small black symbols” on it. She tells Amber that the cloth can talk because the different symbols have meanings, and because the color of the cloth means something, too. Aunt Phoebe’s white cloth means “joy” and some of the symbols on it are “Obi Nka Obie” and “Gye Nyame.”
When Aunt Phoebe wraps the adinkra cloth around Amber, Amber imagines she’s an Ashanti princess since the adinkra cloth used to only be worn by people of royalty. She imagines her family — “and everyone who has ever worn an adinkra” — wrapped in the cloth, too.
We checked this book out from the library but my mom says this is one we have to buy for our home library. We read “The Talking Cloth” to my grandparents and they also really enjoyed it!
Caleb is an energetic 8 year old. He says, “I like to play football, basketball and soccer, and I like doing multiplication.” Caleb enjoys real-life math by studying his team’s statistics after each game. He was recently awarded the “MVP and Most Unselfish” medal for his team’s Fall 2003 soccer season.