Yetunde: An Ode to My Mother

Rated 4.45/5 based on 11 reviews
Death is wicked . . .

Follow Yetunde as she narrates her mother's ode to her grandmother. It is the Yoruba praise poetry for a mother known as Oriki Iya

This is a short story dedicated to past, present and future mothers.

A perfect mother's day present

The book is mostly in English and any Yoruba words are translated, so everyone can enjoy the book fully
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About Segilola Salami

Mom first, all things sugar and spice second (including being an author)

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Review by: Ruth Benitez on Nov. 16, 2017 :
It all starts with the world seen from the POV of a nine-old-months baby. And through this baby, we discovered how much she loves her mother. We learn with her about her heritage and the language her ancestors used. In this fantastical world, the baby learns about the world and process it in a beautiful way.

The author uses the book not only to honor and praise all mothers but also bring backs her African roots, and for a person who comes from a great-grandma brought as a slave from Africa, this book touches my heart.

This book is the proof that you don't need 500 pages to create emotions or make your reader feel something. In less than 30 pages your heart will be touched.
(review of free book)

Review by: Rishit Tiwari on June 17, 2016 :
Luckily, I got a free copy of this book from Smashwords! I
wanted to read it from a long time!
A very heart warming book! A
lil book told about a lil baby, Yetunda and her mother! Its all about MOTHERS, Heavenly and Earthly!
It seems wanted to teach her language too alongside with telling the story!
The superb narration made my eyes moist!
I am very excited to read the next part!
Very nicely writen!
(review of free book)

Review by: Esther on May 25, 2016 :
This is a sweet little story with a lot of heart perfect for young and older readers alike. We have an unusual and delightful nine-month-old narrator and her mother, who teach us in a simple but beautiful way about mothers’ strength, the loss of a loved one, cultural identity, and Yoruba folktale. A perfect read for a quiet morning or afternoon.

First of all, let’s talk about the plot. It’s very straightforward, as we find ourselves thrown in the middle of a normal day in the life of Yetunde in which her mother decides to tell her more about her culture through a Nigerian folktale. My only complaint about the plot is actually about the ending, which teases a new story out of the blue. I am interested in reading the continuation, but I didn’t like such a blunt introduction to it.

My favorite thing about the story were the main characters. Our first narrator is Yetunde. She’s a baby and, as such, she is just discovering the world, but her innocence makes her very wise. I loved hearing the story from her perspective. When I started reading I thought it would be condescending to have a baby as the narrator, as the story would be told too childishly for adult readers, but that’s not what happened at all. We learn to appreciate the story through her eyes because her mother treats her with a lot of respect and love.

“She just loves it when I give her a kiss, especially when she doesn’t even ask. I don’t do it very often though. I think it makes it even more special and precious when I do.”

Her mother is clever, patient and sweet. She wants Yetunde to learn about her culture, not only because she deems her heritage really important, but also because its connection to her own mother. Although I liked her and loved the tale she told Yetunde, I would have preferred to read the whole story through the baby’s perspective. With such an unusual and successful narrator, changing to the mother was not something I loved.

“I’m simply telling you this so you know about your heritage, Yetunde. Where you come from. I don’t necessarily want for you to become a worshiper when you grow up.”

For such a short story, it touches many important themes and handles them well. The most important one is clearly motherhood. We see through Yetunde’s eyes the admiration and love of a child towards their mother, and then we get to see it again in Yetunde’s mom towards her own mother. The recognition of women and mother’s strength is empowering and endearing, told with a simplicity that helps this story reach a younger audience, but with a lesson that’s deep enough for people of all ages to ponder about.

“No matter how strong a man

He was born by a woman

When you oppress a mother

You oppress your own mother

[…] Woe onto he who makes a mother cry

For her cry is the sound of the war-drum you struck […]”

The story also talks of grief and loss, topics that are hard to discuss but that are treated touchingly and with subtlety. Finally, the last theme I would like to mention is culture and identity. Yetunde’s mother tells her about the Yoruba culture and its deities though a beautiful tale and even a fun little reference to Avatar: The Last Airbender. I loved learning more about the Orishas and there were many beautiful passages that I adored that tell us how much women are valued in the Yoruba culture. Yetunde’s mother talks to her in English and Yoruba, intertwining both cultures through language to help Yetunde grow understanding her identity and which helped me get more immersed in the story.

Overall, this was a sweet and moving little story that I recommend to anyone who just wishes to relax and read on a quiet day, it will brighten it.
(review of free book)

Review by: femola on May 02, 2016 :
A true reminder of a Mothers Love.
Sweetly narrated by a 9month old baby.
Mothers are priceless jewels and this book has made me remember the worth of my mother and what she has done and is still doing on my behalf :)
(review of free book)

Review by: Apara97 on April 29, 2016 :
I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

"...A true mother nurtures and protects, and she also corrects naughty behavior."

This book is truly an ode to women and mothers all over. The POV of an infant is very refreshing. Yetunde's devotion to her mother is simply beautiful. If a fictional infant teaches you to be there for your mum like she's been there for you then you know that you've got a gem of a book in your hand. The prose is simple yet the poems were empowering and captivating.

Thanks to the Author I'm now going to read everything Wikipedia has on Yoruba folklore then move onto her next book.
(review of free book)

Review by: Shadahyah Elizabeth on April 28, 2016 :
This story took a while for me to get through. Not because it is a bad story; on the contray, the writer did an excellent job capturing the moment. I could see everything as I read, which is what makes me want to read a story. My five year old nephew said that his favorite part of the book was the baby language which he called Spanish. He also liked the fact that a baby was telling the story although he said that "babies can't talk, that's impossible." What made it hard was the talk of death. The way the author captured the emotions that the mother displayed and the words she said, were my own thoughts about my dad and that made me sad. Despite that, I would gladly read it again after i get over my intial emotions.
(review of free book)

Review by: allie on April 24, 2016 :
What I beautiful cover of the book! I love it! This book was wonderful too. This book to me tells about a mothers love. I think this is wonderful that this author translated this book for me to enjoy. I feel blessed! * I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest review*
(reviewed 26 days after purchase)

Review by: Jerome Brooke on April 17, 2016 :
This Ode is a book crafted with care. The text is in English, with Yoruba passages. The readers might include students of Yoruba texts, folk tales, and African literature. The conversation is handled well. The use of an infant as a narrator is interesting and distinctive. First rate! bravo.
(reviewed the day of purchase)

Review by: Donkeymama on April 14, 2016 :
This story is told from the point of view of a 9 month old baby named Yetunde. It is very interesting to see the world from the perspective of this young yet wizened baby. The cultural Yoruba tales are excellent. The main tale is a touching story of the fierceness of a mother's devotion for her daughter. I am a person who speaks English and I started this book knowing no Yoruba words or cultural information. I learned the meanings of a few of the words on sight but I never really figured out how to pronounce them. There are quite a lot of Yoruba words and poetry in the book. All of it is translated into English. I'm glad the author translated the Yoruba words into English. Eventually I just skipped over the Yoruba words. There is a Yoruba alphabet at the end of the book which is a great feature. Unfortunately, I couldn't use the alphabet included because I couldn't figure out the phonetics in it. For example, the author tells us "R pronounced ree as in Rayo". For me as a person who speaks English, Rayo is pronounced "Ray" as in "sun ray". Perhaps phonetic symbols would help.

Overall I enjoyed the book though. There the main story sheds light on a universal truth. A mother's love holds great power.
(reviewed 12 days after purchase)

Review by: Jack Anderson on April 13, 2016 :
A heart-warming story about the power of a mother's love. This book is filled with wonderful lessons for young readers. The story is told through the eyes of little Yetunde. Segilola Salami carefully explains Yoruba phrases and folk tales so that the reader is exposed to a different language and culture.
(reviewed 18 days after purchase)

Review by: Marie Silk on March 29, 2016 :
This is a very sweet book that pulled at my heartstrings more than once. The book itself is very short, using two main chapters to convey the transcendence of maternal love throughout time and culture. It is written from the point of view of a 9-month-old baby who describes the love she has for her mother while her mother tells stories from Yoruba culture in Nigeria. A fascinating look into the legend of a mother who must fight a warrior to save her only daughter. Powerfully and poetically written. It is as if the phrase "do not come between a mother bear and her cub" is adapted to the reality and intensity of human maternal love.
(reviewed the day of purchase)

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