Coming on Home Soon

Coming on Home Soon


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Jacqueline Woodson is the 2018-2019 National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature

Ada Ruth's mama must go away to Chicago to work, leaving Ada Ruth and Grandma behind. It's war time, and women are needed to fill the men's jobs. As winter sets in, Ada Ruth and her grandma keep up their daily routine, missing Mama all the time. They find strength in each other, and a stray kitten even arrives one day to keep them company, but nothing can fill the hole Mama left. Every day they wait, watching for the letter that says Mama will be coming on home soon. Set during World War II, Coming On Home Soon has a timeless quality that will appeal to all who wait and hope.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780399237485
Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date: 10/07/2004
Pages: 32
Sales rank: 383,532
Product dimensions: 8.60(w) x 11.00(h) x 0.20(d)
Lexile: 550L (what's this?)
Age Range: 5 - 8 Years

About the Author

Jacqueline Woodson ( is the 2018-2019 National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature, and she received the 2018 Children's Literature Legacy Award. She is the 2014 National Book Award Winner for her New York Times bestselling memoir BROWN GIRL DREAMING, which was also a recipient of the Coretta Scott King Award, a Newbery Honor Award, the NAACP Image Award and the Sibert Honor Award. Woodson was recently named the Young People’s Poet Laureate by the Poetry Foundation. Her recent adult book, Another Brooklyn, was a National Book Award finalist. Born on February 12th in Columbus, Ohio, Jacqueline Woodson grew up in Greenville, South Carolina, and Brooklyn, New York and graduated from college with a B.A. in English. She is the author of more than two dozen award-winning books for young adults, middle graders and children; among her many accolades, she is a four-time Newbery Honor winner, a four-time National Book Award finalist, and a two-time Coretta Scott King Award winner. Her books  include THE OTHER SIDE, EACH KINDNESS, Caldecott Honor Book COMING ON HOME SOON; Newbery Honor winners FEATHERS, SHOW WAY, and AFTER TUPAC AND D FOSTER, and MIRACLE'S BOYS—which received the LA Times Book Prize and the Coretta Scott King Award and was adapted into a miniseries directed by Spike Lee. Jacqueline is also the recipient of the Margaret A. Edwards Award for lifetime achievement for her contributions to young adult literature, the winner of the Jane Addams Children’s Book Award, and was the 2013 United States nominee for the Hans Christian Andersen Award. She lives with her family in Brooklyn, New York.

E. B. Lewis has illustrated more than fifty picture books, including Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award winner Talkin' About Bessie (by Nikki Grimes) and Caldecott Honor winner Coming On Home Soon (by Jacqueline Woodson). He taught art in public schools for twelve years, and currently teaches at the University of Arts in Philadelphia. He lives in Folsom, New Jersey.

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

"Woodson and Lewis tell a moving historical story of longing and separation. [The] period and place are wonderfully specific; the yearning is timeless.”—Booklist, starred review

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Coming On Home Soon 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 24 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a beautiful story that exemplifies the strength that can be drawn from a family¡¦s love for one another. The pictures depict the feelings of the harsh winter and the lonesomeness brought out by the mother¡¦s absence. Ada Ruth is a younger girl who is struggling with the separation from her mother. She still has her grandmother and has taken to the care of a stray kitten, but she longs for her mother¡¦s care. Each day she writes to her mother and awaits news of her return. The reader connects to Ada Ruth¡¦s character, as they too can imagine the feelings they would experience if their mother were to leave. It also develops a sense of admiration for the women of that time who stepped up to the roles of the men. It was a time of war, and the men were responsible for fighting for our country¡¦s rights and freedom. For many women, and in the case of Ada Ruth¡¦s mother, this meant leaving their families and finding work in order to provide financially. When Ada Ruth and the grandmother receive the long-awaited letter from the mother, the reader recognizes their relief and excitement. In closed was money and her promise of ¡§coming on home soon.¡¨ The story ends with an image of the mother making her way back home through the snow.
foster7 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Set during WWII, Ada Ruth's mother goes to work in Chicago, and Ada Ruth stays behind with her grandmother. Throughout the story, we hear the mother's refrain, "I love you more than anything. More than rain. More than snow." A long time passes, without any letter from her mother. Ada Ruth waits and waits. Finally, a letter arrives, that says her mother will be "coming on home soon." This powerful book feels as if it is written very economically. However, a second read-through reveals that plenty is actually written and said. Yet, as readers plow through the pages, we feel the degree to which Ada is waiting. Waiting for her mother. And, somehow, with magic, Jacqueline Woodson causes us to feel that we were right there with Ada Ruth, waiting and waiting (when in fact, we were reading and reading). The story takes place during the winter, as E.B. Lewis' watercolors reveal. The heaviness of the snow is felt. Quotations are not written with quotation marks, rather, they are printed in italic. Time passes. A kitten becomes a family pet. Ada Ruth keeps writing unanswered letters to her mother. Ada Ruth and her grandmother sit and listen to the radio, drink hot cocoa, and do things that people do when they are waiting. The characters' emotions radiate through the pages. E.B. Lewis painted Ada Ruth, as her mother is packing, full of depth. We see her on the bed, holding onto the suitcase, looking up at her mother, and we see that Ada Ruth does not want her mom to leave. When Ada Ruth and her mother hug goodbye, again, we see how tightly they hold each other and close their eyes. Ada Ruth sits still in almost every illustration, holding onto her cat, or hot cocoa, and looking out the window. Once her mother leaves, we see the snow on every page. The beautiful watercolors reveal the cold of winter, and the heat of the fire. On one page with only two words, "Time passes," we see Ada Ruth lying on the rug with her cat, in front of the fire. That page, with its sparse text, makes the reader pause, and linger, waiting alongside Ada Ruth. On the final page, with no words written, we see the mother approaching the house. And that is the end. Young readers will probably speak up, noting that the mother is home, filling in for the absent text. They might imagine Ada Ruth's face, and how she will probably hold her mother tight.
jessy555 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Genre: Realistic FictionCritique of Genre: This is a good example of realistic fiction because we get to see what this child has to go through when her mother has to leave the town and live in Chicago for work to support her family. The mother and daughter write letters back and forth and waits for her mama¿s return.Characterization: Ada Ruth is a pretty flat character. Throughout the book we get to hear her thoughts about her mother being gone, but we don¿t know much about her outside of her longings for her mother to be home. Media: Watercolor
adrianneosmus on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Coming on Home Soon is a book set during the war. Ada Ruth is a little girl who is staying with her grandmother while her mother is off working. Time passes and she still hasnt seen her mother, she continues to write letters to her mom hooping she will come home soon. Ada Ruth really misses her mom and hopes she comes home soon.I honestly didn't really care for this book. It didn't jump out and grab me like other books have. I might keep it in my library but I do not really see myself using this book as part of my lesson plans. This book does have great pictures.You could let your students act like their are Ada Ruth and tell them to write a letter to their moms asking her when she is coming home. You could aslo talk about the war and the changes that the war caused the American people.
StaceyTate on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Ada Ruth lives with her grandma and her kitten because he mom has gone to work on railroad cars in the time of war. The grandma keeps telling Ada Ruth that her mom will be comming on home soon to not be so sad.This book was a very heartwarming story. The dad was never mentioned though and that made me sad, becasue when i was small i relied a great deal on my mom and could not imagin what life would have been like without her for any period of time.This book would be great in a family unit because it cover children with just a mom or those who live with grandma. You woould also be able to use this as a book to help children understand dialect, and also it could be used to make them more understanding of other peoples situations
mrs.mackey on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
"Coming on Home Soon" is a story about a young girl who lives with her mother and grandmother. Due to the war the girl's mother is forced to work away from home for the first time in the girl's life. The girl is afraid and worried that her mother might not come back. During this story she is delighted to find a kitten and hopes that her grandmother will let her keep it. Her grandmother insists that there is not enough food to feed the kitten. The girl spends her days playing with her kitten and waiting for word from her mother. She is relieved to finally get a letter in the mail from her mother. For the classroom, I would have my students pretend they were the girl in the story and write a letter to their mother who was away.
NET73546 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Coming On Home soon is about a young African American girl whose mother leaves to go north to help clean trains since all the men are off at war. Ada Ruth, the young girl stays with her grandma. Ada Ruth is kept busy by her grandma as they both await the letter and money her momma is supposed to be sending. A stray kitten shows up and even though grandma says they should not keep it she allows Ada Ruth to. Ada Ruth and her grandma is some what concerned that their might not be a letter after all, but just in time there is and it says momma is coming on home soon. This is a cute little book about how one young girl patiently awaits her mothers return. As you read this book you can not help but to get wrapped up in it, yet in the most peaceful way. The illustrations of her grandma and the snow are quite calming. I like where they place the words on the pages and sometimes it is just two or three words, yet it says just enough. This book would be good to use to show how women both white and African American stepped up to do men¿s¿ work while they were off fighting a war. It could be used to show how after the slave days that African Americans stepped up to help the United States when they needed it. This book also could be used to show off they book it self from it¿s illustrations to its uniqueness.
ht107821 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Coming Home Soon is a story that is about a mother who leaves her younger daughter with her mother while she travels off durinh WW2 to Chicago in order to get a job.In the book the younger girl misses her mother terribly and so does the grandmother, they wait everyday waiting to hear from her. I loved this book and think it was a wonderful hear warming tale, no wonder it got a Caldacott.The illistrations are beautiful and capture the book amazingly.An extention idea, discussion in History about the War, the book was over and also the war we are still in. Living in lawton we have a ton of military families and I think they would enjoy this book knowing that the mother came home.
MartyAllen on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Ada Ruth is waiting for her mother to come home after leaving to Chicago to look for work. Setting details are enough to make a good guess about the time and place, but not so overt as to make it feel like an historical fiction. The pictures, made in soft watercolors, beautifully illustrate the story, adding much to the emotion. A dark and muted color palette allows one to feel the sorrow Ada Ruth experiences looking out the window, missing her mother, the disappointment when the mail comes without a letter from her. The kitten is a lovely detail, allowing for a metaphor easily accessible to children and a comfort to those who empathize too well with Ada Ruth¿for example, when the girl watches the snow and thinks sadly of her mother, she is shown holding the kitten close and described as petting it. The final image goes beyond the text, showing the mother¿s return when the words do not describe it overtly¿because this is such an emotional moment, perhaps this is how it should be, with Ada Ruth literally overjoyed beyond words.
Orpgirl1 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This exquistely told and painted book tells of a fairly unknown time in American history: homelife in an African-American community during WWII. Ada Rose's mother has gone to Chicago to earn money during the war, and Ada Rose is left at home with her grandmother and a new found stray cat. Illustrations for this book are done in muted and dark watercolors, and bring a sense of depth and heaviness to a story about the loneliness of a little girl's heart. Woodson's words are moving in their sparseness and simplicity, as Ada Rose's grandmother trys to hold everything together while also worrying herself. Based in a time when the word 'colored' was the norm, this book evokes not only feelings of pain for a lonely girl but also grief and wonderment at a time of history when a black woman getting a well-paid job was a novelty. With strong female characters, a focus on family, and an introduction to a unique part of WWII history, this book would be a great addition to a literary discussion or selection regarding African-American or WWII history.
llarson09 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Genre: Historical FictionReview: This is a story about girl who waits for her mom to come home from working in Chicago during the war. This is a historical fiction book, because black women were able to work during the war while men were off in the war. However, this story didn't actually happen, it is just a similar story of what could happen.Point of view: This story is told in first person, with the girl talking about how hard it was for herself to not have her mom at home. This was a good choice of point of view, because it allows you to relate better with the child during the story. Media: Watercolor on Arches paper
Veronchis on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Summary:This story takes place during the war. Ada Ruth is a young African American girl who's mother is leaving to Chicago for work. During the war women were given opportunities to work while the men were fighting in the war. Ada Ruth's mother knew she had to go to Chicago to work on the railroad, because they needed the money. Ada Ruth stays behind with her grandmother anxiously waiting for the return of her mother. She writes to her mother as often as she can. She ends up finding a kitten, but her grandmother tells her they can not keep it. They can barely afford food for themselves much less food for a cat. They keep the cat for now, because it seems to give Ada Ruth comfort. Ada Ruth listen's to the radio for news about the war. This way Ada's mother will come home soon, because she really misses her. Finally Ada Ruth receives a letter from her mother which also contained money for food. Personal Reflection:This was a good story about how some p[eople had to live through the war. It had details about things they did or how they had to eat. It told us how women were allowed to work to fill in for the men, which now a days kids would not understand. Most families have both parents working, so the kids would be able to see how times have changed. Classroom Extensions:1. Have the children write a letter to their parents. In this letter they must include why they are thankful for their parents.2. Have the kids draw a scene from their favorite part of the book. Such as Ada Ruth sitting infront of the radio listening to news.
SharineHodge on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Summary:A colored woman was away looking for a job in Chicago. She had a daughter named Ada Ruth who stayed at home and was comforted by her grandmother as they missed her mother while she was away. Mama was gone for a very long time which meant she must have found a job and had to stay away in Chicago. They looked out everyday hoping to see the postman who would most likely be bringing a letter from her mother. Ada Ruth got attached to a stray kitten even though grandma told her they cannot keep him. As grandma noticed how happy the kitten made the daughter feel she decided that they can keep him. There was a war going on in Chicago and they were concerned about mama. The postman finally showed up one day with a mail from mama. She had mailed them money. One day mama finally came home.Personal ReactionAs I read this story, I noticed a few signs of humble beginnings. The characters in this story obviously did not have much money but they were content. An example was when they were served a simple meal from a wooden oven and it was the same meal for breakfast and supper. The paintings and pictures in this book along with the snow brings the story alive and creates a multicultural ambiance as it is bring read. I believe that this book a would definitely continue to appeal not only to children but also to all who wait in home for a loved one.ExtensionsThis book can be used with early readers to open their minds and understanding to different cultures and expose them to a glimpse of History and World War. Children can be asked to draw their favorite scene from the story and give it a title. This book can also be used as a comprehension tool by asking students questions about it such as where was the war going on and elicit and discuss possible reasons why they they had to wait for postman to bring letters before they heard from mama.
sunnysturdivant on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Summary- This book takes place during the war. It is about a young African American girl who¿s mother is leaving to go to Chicago to work. Ada Ruth was upset when her mother left to go make money to send home to her daughter. Ada Ruth was staying with her grandmother while her mother is at work. She was eager for her mother to come home, in the mean time she finds a kitten to keep her company. Finally her mother responded by letter. The letter was filled with money, her mother wrote that she would be coming home soon. Ada was very pleased to hear her mother was going to be home soon. She has kept the kitten throughout the time her mother was gone. Personal reaction- The author does an amazing job of capturing the audience and making you feel the emotions of the little girl. This is a great book to read to a class when discussing this time period. The author includes things such as the type of food they ate, listening to the radio to get news, and waiting for the mail man.Classroom Extension ¿ (1) Have students do a creative writing assignment over the book. Have them write about the difference in time period.(2) Have them pick their favorite pet to keep them company. Then have them draw or color it.
KaydeeParrish on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Summary: This story is about a young girl named Ada Ruth and her mother. Her mother has to explain to Ada Ruth that the railroad is hiring colored women because all the men are off at war. She explains to her that she'll be leaving for awhile and will send a letter and money soon to her and her grandmother. Ada Ruth looks out the window every afternoon waiting on the letter from her mother. One day it finally comes and her mother writes that she will be coming on home soon.Personal Reaction: This story reminds me a little of me because I hardly ever get mail but I get really excited when I do get mail. It must have been hard for Ada Ruth while her mother was gone, I couldn't even imagine my mother leaving me.Classroom Extensions:1. This book would be a great way to discuss the postal service and how mail used to work. Without email and cell phones.2. This book would be great for a history lesson about the war and gender identity.
ashleywoody on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Summary:This is a story of Ada Ruth, who is a young African American girl who is waiting for her mother to come back home from working a job of cleaning trains in Chicago during World War II. Her grandma stays with her while her mother is gone and Ada Ruth misses her mother dearly. Eventually, even though it feels long to Ada Ruth, her mother gets to come back home and the mother and daughter is reunited again. Personal Reaction:I thought this book was cute though I totally hated that the mom didn¿t write to her daughter except to tell her she was coming home soon! Since that little girl was so attached to her mom, it was hard for her to cope with her mom being gone ¿ even though she had her grandmother there with her. I can relate in a way because I super close to my grandma. She basically raised me until I had to start kindergarten and I hated that I had to leave her and go live with my parents again when I started school. But I was still able to talk to her on the phone and she came and visited me a lot. Overall, I think this story is something that any kid can relate to because everyone has felt some sort of separation between them and someone they love.Extension Ideas:1) Have the class write a letter pretending to be Ada Ruth of something that she would mail to her mom while her mom was away.2) Have the class write in their daily journal about a time they have been separated from someone they loved and they wanted them to come back to them.
sarahjohouck on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Summary:An African American mother has to go away to work on the railroad. This is during the time of a war that men weren't around to do these jobs. It shows the struggles of her daughter and her mother that are back at home waiting to hear from her, and wanting her to come home.Personal Reaction:This was a good story. It definitely gave a background to that time frame. How they listened to the radio, and how at that time women had to go out and work while the men were awake at work. In a way I can kind of relate, because I had a dad who was always gone because he was in the military. It's always hard when a parent is gone and you just want them to be home.Classroom Extension Ideas:1) I would also use this book to show children that sometimes both parents have to work or sometimes just the mom's have to work. I would have my students share if they have both parents working or if just one of their parents work. Some students only have one parent, or a parent who works multiple jobs.2) This book could also be used to show students that not everyone is raised by their mom, or even dad. Some children are raised by grandparents, or maybe even older siblings.
KaleyHarper on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Summary:A story of a little girl who misses her mother, who has gone away to work. Her grandmother keeps her from missing her too much, but the are both anxious to get a letter from her in the mail. With every ending of a letter, saying, "I'll be coming home soon."Personal Experience:I'm married to a soldier and I am asked by my 2 1/2 year old son, "When is Daddy coming home?" if he has to work late, or goes for training. When he was deployed, I would wait by a phone, computer or even the mail box, hoping to hear from him.Classroom Ideas:1. I would have the class write letters to the deployed soldiers, telling them how proud they are of them, and that they are thinking about them and wishing they were home with their families. 2. I would have the class spend some time journaling about a time when someone they loved went away for a while, and how they felt when that person came back.
derbygirl on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
(easy, fiction) This story takes place during WWII when the men were off fighting and there was suddenly jobs for women. Ada Ruth's mom has found employment in Chicago working on the train lines, which if it hadn't have been for the war, would've been unheard of. Money is tight and the mom has no choice. She leaves Ada with the grandmother and the rest of the story is waiting for word and money from the mom. In the meantime, the daughter and grandmother marvel at the beauty of the snow, find and adopt a lost kitten and enjoy simple meals and simple pleasures together. I found this book interesting because it focuses on the "Rosie the Riveter" age and you don't really find too much literature on any African- Americans during that time. When I researched Woodson on the web, she said that was precisely why she wrote this book. It was a new angle on an old subject (old in age , not matter or interest). The book reinforces that hard times and struggle can affect anyone, it doesn't matter what race you are. We all react to adversity in different yet striking similar ways, regardless of race, sex or age. We react with the desire to survive.
Edwardlynn on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A beautifully written and illustrated story set during World War II. Ada Ruth waits for the return of her mother, who left home in search of a job.
avcr on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Ada Ruth¿s Mama hugs her goodbye as she must go away to work on the railroad cleaning cars because all the men have gone off the war. As they hug goodbye they reaffirm their love for one another in the lines they always say, ¿more than rain, more than snow.¿ Lewis¿ sensational, rich, vibrant, full page depictions are so breathtakingly real that looking away from the book will seem drab. Grandma and Ada Ruth wait in their snowy world, with the kitten who adopts them, for word from Ada Ruth¿s Mama, and when she if coming home.If You Liked This, Try: The Red Book by Barbara Lehman, Kira-Kira by Cynthia Kadohata, Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale by Mo Willems, The Voice That Challenged a Nation: Marian Anderson and the Struggle for Equal Rights by Russell Freedman, Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy by Gary D. Schmidt.Awards: Caldecott Honor, CA Young Reader Medal Nominee.
Mluke04 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The setting in this story is very important. The setting in this book is created by the time the book is set in: World War II. African Americans are still being discriminated against. With the men off fighting the war, the women had to do the men's work. Many companies even opened up to hire African American women which is why Ada Ruth's mother went to Chicago.This book is an example of historical fiction because it is set in a time period that existed. During World War II many companies hired white and African American women to work in the factories and on the railroad.Media: Watercolor
Guest More than 1 year ago
Coming on Home Soon is a story about a little girl named Ada Ruth, whose mother must go away to work during the war. Ada Ruth misses her mother so much. She watches the mail everyday hoping for a letter from her mother ¿when the postman goes on by without stopping, Grandma says, hush now. Don't start that crying¿. She and her grandmother listen to the radio at night to hear of news about the war. She explains, ¿When Grandma turns the radio off, I rub my hand along the kitten¿s back and think about the women working on the trains. Just think. My mama right there beside them¿. Although Ada Ruth is sad she has a strong sense of pride for what her mother is accomplishing. This book was a Caldecott Honor Book in 2005. This book is appropriate for children ages 4-8. This is a touching story that kids can relate, especially those who may have a loved one in the war right now. Jacqueline Woodson has won many awards for her picture books and novels. One very famous book is The Other Side. The illustrator is E.B. Lewis who has also won many awards. Woodson, Jacqueline. Coming on Home Soon. New York: G.P. Putnam¿s Sons, 2004.
Guest More than 1 year ago
¿Coming On Home Soon¿ was an excellent book. It really deserved the Caldecott Medal. The illustrations were wonderful, very creative and wonderful use of color. The illustrations go along with the storyline. Jacqueline Woodson writes about issues that children or all ages face. She does a wonderful job illustrating the problem that many families faced in the 'old days' as well as in the present time. Not only can the children that have experienced losing a family member to war or a job that takes them away but Woodson really allows the audience to be able to connect to Ada Ruth emotionally. Especially when she writes ¿when the postman goes on by without stopping, Grandma says, hush now. Don't start that crying.¿ Everyone has experienced that time when a loved one is gone away for a period of time and you can't wait to hear from them. But every time the postman passes by your house all you feel is disappointment and tears.