Mama’s Love Language by Elisa Stad (Book Review)

The Flavor of Belonging in Culturally Diverse Families

Jade is a girl who lives in two worlds and, coming from a multicultural family, she’s on a quest to understand her identity and where she truly belongs.

She is trying to find her place in the world but feels different from the other kids at school. Back home, Jade’s parents have their unique approach to love and care. Sometimes Jade is embarrassed by Mama’s accent and she can’t understand why she is not just like any other mother she knows.

The real adventure unfolds when Jade starts rebelling against her mother’s traditional ways of showing love, especially through food. It’s a struggle that takes her on a path of discovery, as she learns about her family’s rich heritage and her mother’s challenging past in Vietnam and as an immigrant.

Jade then discovers that even though Mama doesn’t hug or say I love you, the healing aroma of ginger, green onions, and chicken broth does.

“Mama’s Love Language” is a heartwarming children’s book that addresses the universal theme of belonging and the beauty of cultural diversity. Through Jade’s story, children will learn that being different is not only okay but something to be celebrated, and that love can come in many shapes and forms.

This book is ideal for children the ages of 4-9

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I received a complimentary copy of this book from Reedsy Discovery. I voluntarily chose to read and post an honest review.


It can be challenging to find your place in the world. People raised in interracial or multicultural households often question their cultural identity. Jade felt like she lived in two worlds since her mother was Chinese and her father was American. She wondered, Who am I? As Jade ponders this question, we gain insight into how she viewed her parents and, subsequently, how she viewed herself. 

Jade mentioned that her dad works late but is always there to tuck her in at night. He loves giving hugs, unlike her Mama. Jade notes that her Mama isn’t a hugger. She does, however, pick her up from school every day. She ensures homework is completed, bellies are full, and vitamins are consumed. Jade mentions being embarrassed by her mother because people had trouble understanding her due to her accent. Jade was annoyed her mother couldn’t pronounce the “d” in her name and always called her “Jay.”

The illustrated group shot of the children’s self-portraits expresses Jade’s need to look and act like someone she’s not. Like Jade, people often try to alter themselves to fit into what society calls “normal,” but that rarely leads to happiness. This scene would create a great talking point with your child or class. Ask them if they ever feel like they don’t belong.

Voices were raised. Tears were shed. However, once tempers calmed down, the family had a real eye-opening conversation. Jade discovered why her Mama was vigilant in making sure her daughter studied hard and ate well. She learned that parents can show love in many ways. Some give hugs and kisses. Some show love through food and caring for you when you’re sick. Jade came to appreciate her Mama and embraced her Chinese heritage, which made everyone happy! 

The story includes a few challenging words that children might need help understanding or pronouncing. But this gives children room to expand their knowledge, which I loved! Share this story with your family and teach children to love where they came from and who they are!

The author’s recommended reading is 4-9 years. 

Heart Rating System:
1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 
Score: ❤❤

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Meet the Author

Elisa Stad, for the majority of her career, was a brand and international business executive for luxury goods and consumer product companies. After experiencing working in over 40 countries, she acquired a passion for globalization and the sharing of cultures based on her experiences. Elisa is also focused on inspiring the youth through her efforts in healthcare inequities through Stad Center of Pain, Palliative, and Integrative Medicine and serves on college boards at USC, UCSF and Harvard.

Elisa grew up in a mixed-race household, as a daughter of a Vietnamese refugee mother and American father. She grew up in a multicultural home, searching for identity. She also moved homes often in her childhood including to Asia and within the US to Idaho and California.

She always wanted to share with other young children the beauty of humanity and how we can celebrate our unique gifts. You can find her enjoying ballet, visiting local Asian street markets, practicing yoga, and focusing on her spiritual practice. Elisa lives in Southern California with her husband, 3 children and a bernedoodle.

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1 Comment

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One Response to Mama’s Love Language by Elisa Stad (Book Review)

  1. Kalie

    Beautiful cover. Sounds like a good story too.

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