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Watch the YouTube video or listen to the podcast!



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

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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.

"Mama's Portraits and Me" is a book that moves you from the start! It is a remarkable biography written with tremendous love about an incredibly gifted artist, Carolyn Coffield Mends. Through the lens of Carolyn's gorgeous artwork, Ekuwah Mends Moses, shares her mother's artwork, story, and her own journey as the daughter of a talented artist who suffered physical challenges during her life. This book is an inspiration to all to preserve our family histories, to embrace our adversities with strength and grace, and above all to remember to always "give and receive love". This book touched me deeply and I recommend it highly!

Ashley J. Ruzich

Writer, English Teacher

Ekuwah has written another book that takes the reader into her world, sharing her mother's amazing artistic talent. In doing so, she encourages the reader to value their own family history and to celebrate those we dearly miss.

Nancy Angevine-Sands

Family Engagement Podcaster, Canada

This book captures the heartfelt journey of my sister on a quest to share the artwork of our late mother with a broader audience than was ever achieved by her. It is a literary journey in self-healing and appreciation for days gone by. It is a colorful artistic masterpiece, showcasing the brilliant artist our mother was. Brava to Ekuwah for continuing her legacy and to our mother for constantly sharing her heART with so many, she is forever with us.

Effuah Sam

Theatre Arts Educator and Adjunct Faculty, Ekuwah's Sister

This wonderful work brought many tears to me as I'm so grateful to God who has allowed my Niece Ekuwah Moses to author a book that honors my Sister Carolyn. Ekuwah's honesty in expressing herself and being vulnerable to the public is a testimony of the parentage of my Sis Carolyn and my Brother-in-love Albion who both are two of the most bold, courageous, honest, and loving people. They have always exemplified love for each other, family, community, and foremost God. Thank you.

Auntie Jan Austin

Artist Carolyn Coffield Mends' sister


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!