Picture Books

On market day, Mama Panya’s son Adika invites everyone he sees to a pancake dinner. How will Mama Panya ever feed them all? This clever and heartwarming story about Kenyan village life teaches the importance of generosity and sharing, even when you have little to give. Includes educational endnotes about life in Kenya.


Awards and Recognition


Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Award

Golden Globe award-winning actress Jennifer Garner loves “Mama Panya’s Pancakes”! Click here

So does “Weeds” series actress Mary Louise Parker. Click here

“Better Homes and Garden’s Nov 2014, “These books and movies illustrate the benefits of being Grateful. Books – Mama Panya’s Pancakes, and Charlie and The Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl. Movies – “Finding Nemo” and “It Could happen To You.” Dr. Elizabeth Lombardo, Ph.D.

Selected by Little Global Citizens for their subscription book box on Africa

Rutgers University selected “Mama Panya’s Pancakes as an all-time “Top Five” book on their website, EconKids!  for elementary-school teachers and parents teaching economics concepts using children’s literature. Click here

Also learn about the history of numbers and more with Mama Panya! Click here

From Kirkus Reviews

“There is a timeless quality to this contemporary story about a Kenyan boy and his mother stretching their food to feed all their friends. As he walks to market with his mom, Adika invites everyone he sees to a pancake dinner, but Mama Panya is worried. She needn’t be, because all the guests come bearing food. To accompany the few pancakes, there is milk and butter from the Maasai children’s cattle, fish caught by the old man, Mzee Odolo, flour for another day, and salt and cardamom. Rafiki Kaya even brings her mbira, her thumb piano. The old tradition of sharing all one’s food with others works again. With the repetition of the phrase “a little bit and a little bit more,” the folkloric feeling intensifies. The watercolor paintings are filled with details of the countryside and the marketplace, although the naïve portrayal of the adults and children tends to be a bit broad. With a recipe for spicy pancakes, information about local animals and village life in Kenya, some general facts and a map, this story will be a welcome addition to a school unit as well as traditional storytime. (Picture book. 6-8)”

https://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/mary-chamberlin/mama-panyas-pancakes/

From School Library Journal

K-Gr 3-Mama Panya and her son, Adika, are all ready for market day where Mama is planning on using her few coins to buy the ingredients to make pancakes for dinner. Adika is so excited that he can’t help inviting all of their friends and neighbors. Mama Panya is worried that his generosity may be more than her few coins and their meager supplies can provide. Luckily all of the guests arrive with gifts, and a Kenyan cross between “Stone Soup” and the story of the loaves and the fishes is realized. A recipe, map, details about daily life, and facts about Kiswahili and Kenya are included. With their bold colors, vivid patterns, and lush scenery, the illustrations will transport readers into this country to walk alongside Mama Panya and Adika on their way to market. Details from animals to foliage are depicted clearly and provide more than just a backdrop to the story; they’re a great introduction to the landscape and people of East Africa. A strong selection for a read-aloud or as a supplement to units on Africa, community, or generosity.-Genevieve Gallagher, Murray Elementary School, Charlottesville, VA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Mama Panya’s Pancakes is published in a variety of foreign languages