Literary Mama writing about the many faces of motherhood
Writing Prompt: Literary Reflections

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For each issue of Literary Mama, Literary Reflections shares a writing prompt, inviting our readers to respond. Our editors provide feedback on the responses we receive, and we post our favorites on the blog. This month's writing prompt is inspired by Julie Sonnek's essay My Fledgling Reader.


Photo by Literary Mama photo editor, Heather Vrattos

Julie Sonnek wakes one morning to the bliss of silence in her busy household. Thrilled at the prospect of some alone time to enjoy coffee and a cherished book, she is surprised to discover her two-year-old daughter, Sophia, is in fact awake—and quietly reading—with her books spread across her big-girl bed.

Sonnek stands unnoticed for awhile, pondering her daughter's sudden independence, the Spanish-language book on which she's focused, and  her daughter's future as a transracial adoptee. Sonnek has done everything within her power to cultivate Sophia's connection to the Spanish language and her Columbian culture, but she knows it will not always be easy. She writes:

In her adolescent years, I imagined, she would grapple more with what it meant to be a Latina in a white family. She would be judged differently by the color of her skin, and I wouldn't be able to shelter her.

Sophia soon notices her mother in the doorway and begs her to read. She chooses a book called Over the Moon: An Adoption Tale in which a story unfolds very much like Sophia's own story. Sonnek finds comfort in this, that her daughter's love of books and stories can be a path to understanding, honoring, and celebrating her own story of adoption.

Is there a book or books that helped your children understand the story of your family? Was it a book that mirrored your circumstances or perhaps a book that helped your children see that there are many different kinds of families with many different, beautiful stories? Please tell us about the book and how it was helpful or inspiring.


Read Sonnek's essay and submit a 500-word response to this writing prompt by May 31, 2019, for feedback from our editors. Email it to LMreflections (at) literarymama (dot) com and note "May Prompt" in your subject line. Please do not attach the essay but paste the response in the body of the email.


Susan Bruns Rowe writes and teaches in Boise, Idaho. Her writing has appeared in The Louisville Review, The Clackamas Literary Review, Brevity, Creative Nonfiction, and elsewhereShe serves as profiles editor for Literary Mama and teaches creative writing for The Cabin, the Osher Institute at Boise State University, and other organizations. Susan has an MFA in creative writing from Boise State University and an MA in philosophy, politics, and economics from Oxford University.

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