Morning Glory Monday


32 pages
ISBN 0-88776-620-X
DDC jC813'.54






Illustrations by Maryann Kovalski
Reviewed by Dosi Cotroneo

Dosi Cotroneo is a freelance writer living in Manotick, Ontario.


Summer in the crowded, poor neighbourhoods of New York City’s Lower
East Side in the 1930s was hot, smelly, and noisy—a far cry from the
life in Italy that Mama longed for. That was the summer Mama became very
homesick for Italy, her sisters, her old friends, and the quiet places
she knew. This is the story of a little girl who tried desperately to
bring a smile to her sad mother’s face. Nothing seemed to work until
her Papa took the family on a trip to Coney Island and the little girl
won a tiny package of seeds. These magic morning glory seeds helped
change Mama’s life that summer, and the entire neighbourhood’s, too.
Mama’s happiness grew as quickly as the flowers did, wrapping
themselves like vines around fire escapes, curling around chimneys and
rooftops. Beautiful morning glories were everywhere in sight, and Mama
fell in love with them. Those magic morning glories transformed not only
the neighbourhood but also the neighbourhood characters into polite,
happy people.

Award-winning photographer and author Arlene Alda shares a poignant
tale of life in an impoverished New York City tenement. Based on an
actual event, this is a delightful story of hope. Maryann Kovalski’s
engaging illustrations, such as the one depicting the neighbour’s
children sleeping six brothers to one bed, provide a touching glimpse
into the lives of immigrant children and their families during the
1930s. Highly recommended.


Alda, Arlene., “Morning Glory Monday,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 14, 2024,