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Watch the YouTube video or listen to the podcast!


BULK ORDERS (10+ copies)
Perfect for author events, classroom libraries, book vending machines, or holiday gifts

Contact the publisher by completing this form


Carolyn Coffield Mends was an award-winning artist who specialized in pastel portraiture. Ekuwah grew up watching her remarkable mother’s passion for painting, drawing, and storytelling. She pulls pieces from Carolyn’s studio to paint a biographical picture of love, family, heritage, and humanity.
In what ways do Carolyn’s life and artwork inspire you to dream and use your gifts to impact the world?

Nonfiction Picture Book

Reading age: 8 years and up

Grade level: 3 and up

Released May 8, 2022


This free learning guide is designed to be used with readers in settings such as schools, libraries, book clubs, church groups, after-school programs, and beyond. It includes:

  • A full list of related academic standards

  • Discussion questions

  • Activities and printables

  • A list of related children's literature

  • Virtual field trips to art galleries or art museums

  • Self-portrait and portrait projects

Additional Related Resources:

Art can be a powerful vehicle for exploring social and emotional issues with students.
What do you think these figures are thinking, are feeling? Why?
What in the image supports your view?

Carol Jago


There is such beauty in searching for answers. Sometimes there is heartache too. Moms and daughters often misunderstand each other until that same daughter understands a mother’s love on her own. Teenagers often miss out on deeper meanings of their parents’ best wishes so that later in life, there is a puzzle to solve, and a key to unlock. Beauty and talent are instantly apparent when one sees Carolyn’s (Mama’s) portraits with lush skin tones and sparking eyes, but the true beauty is what lies beneath the brush strokes and blended pastels. A mother’s love for her family, community, and perseverance through life’s unexpected dealings . . . and a journey of tenderness between a mother and daughter.

Ashley J. Ruzich

Writer, English Teacher

Picture books are my favorite kind of books—and I love books. They’re mini art museums you can carry around.


Carolyn Coffield Mends (my mother)

Carolyn Coffield Mends, my remarkable mother, joined the ancestors on July 13, 2017. Learn more about her legacy, life, and love by reading my second picture book - Mama's Portraits and Me.

Vincent van Gogh

"The more I think it over, the more I feel that there is nothing more truly artistic than to love people."

Kids Reading Outdoor


What resonated with you, your students, your family, your participants, or your community?

What questions do you have after reading?

What ideas did you use from the learning guide?

Email your family photos and classroom work examples to:

Thanks for submitting!

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