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Children's Fiction Self-esteem & Self-reliance

My Great Big Mamma

by (author) Olivier Ka

illustrated by Luc Melanson

Groundwood Books Ltd
Initial publish date
May 2009
Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Parents, Emotions & Feelings
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    May 2009
    List Price

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Where to buy it

Out of print

This edition is not currently available in bookstores. Check your local library or search for used copies at Abebooks.

Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 4 to 7
  • Grade: p to 2
  • Reading age: 4 to 7


A little boy tells us proudly how big and wonderful his mother is -- from how soft she is, to how loving she is, to how wonderful it is to sit on her lap on the bus. When his mother goes on a diet, "because of what other people say," he is outraged and becomes a picky eater himself to show her how foolish she is being. There can be no doubt that for this child, his mother is great just the way she is.

This book is a remarkably life-affirming story about a young child who knows that a person should be loved for being just exactly who and what they are.

About the authors

Olivier Ka was born in Lebanon and grew up in Paris. He has been a radio host, photo-engraver, actor and journalist, among other occupations, but now spends most of his time writing novels for adults and stories for children, especially fantasy and comedy. Olivier Ka lives near Toulouse in the south of France.

Olivier Ka's profile page

Luc Melanson won the Governor General’s Award (Illustration) for The Grand Journey of Mr. Man by Gilles Tibo, and he was a finalist for the Governor General’s Award (Illustration) for My Great Big Mamma by Olivier Ka, Les Compositeurs by Claudio Ricignuolo and La petite Kim by Kim Yaroshevskaya. He has illustrated many books, including Book of Big Brothers by Cary Fagan, and Pink by Nan Gregory, both finalists for the Amelia Frances Howard-Gibbon Illustrator’s Award. Pink was a finalist for the Marilyn Baillie Picture Book Award and the Christie Harris Illustrated Children’s Literature Prize. Luc lives in Laval, Quebec.

Luc Melanson's profile page


  • Short-listed, Governor General's Literary Award: Illustration
  • Commended, SSLI Honor Book

Editorial Reviews

...[a] heartwarming book...The pictures radiate the love, comfort and security the boy feels in Mamma's presence.

The Horn Book Guide

...clearly reflects a child's perspective of how a beloved parent looms large in his or her world and expresses the emotional satisfaction conveyed in a cuddle...[painted in deep hues,] both mother and son glow with warm emotion...[and the] message of nonjudgmental love is sweetly assuring.

School Library Journal

...a touching story about unconditional love, acceptance, and the effects of a parent's self-esteem on their child.

Rover Arts

Written with subtlety and tenderness...


...A tale that will capture adults and children alike...

CM Magazine

...a story celebrating the unconditional love between a parent and child. The book also reminds us, the readers, to accept ourselves as we are.

Resource Links

Librarian Reviews

My Great Big Mamma

This is the story of a little boy with a large mother. He has always adored her fullness and strength, but other people call her “fat.” He senses her stress and shares that he always wants to “fall asleep in her soft arms,” that he loves her just the way she is. This loving tribute to full-figured moms features warm and expressive illustrations.

Source: The Canadian Children’s Book Centre. Best Books for Kids & Teens. 2010.

Other titles by Luc Melanson