Mama Joe’s Kitchen is based on true events experienced by the author. However, descendants of the main character, Mama Joe, have been fictionalized or re-named in order to tell the story. The childhood memories of “Jean-Jean” who is Josie Colbert Aker’s grand-daughter are told again by her grand-daughter, Lauren Claire, “LC” Austin.
Reading this book gives readers a nostalgic escape from our fast paced world. Going back in time everyone gets to look in on Josie Aker’s kitchen to see how she cared for her family, visit her one-room schoolhouse, and sit down at her Sunday afternoon dinner table.
Mama Joe’s Kitchen generously shares the special feelings and memories generated there with everyone who steps into that special place. Preparing Mama Joe’s Kitchen family recipes handed down now to five generations, especially with a child, keeps the feelings and memories alive!
Since publishing her first children’s book, Genois Wilson, Firefighter: She Dared to be First* in 2013, many have asked Carol these two questions: “When will you write your next book?” and “What will your next book be about?”
Carol’s new book, “Mama Joe’s Kitchen” is the answer to those questions.
Mama Joe’s Kitchen recalls the time Carol spent at her grandmother, Josie Colbert Aker’s home in Jefferson, Georgia when she was five years old. It was such a special time that shaped her lifetime love of reading, cooking and offering hospitality to others.
Being a children’s book author has been a journey of humility and incredible joy. The publication of Mama Joe’s Kitchen is in honor of the principals, teachers, bookstore managers, book fair coordinators, parents, and most of all the children who motivated her to want to answer the two big questions.
Carol and Tom Butler still enjoy living on Lamplighter Pond, feeding all the critters who stop by. They also plan time to welcome friends, especially to test biscuits and pound cake recipes, and travel. Visiting classrooms and libraries, both locally and around the country to share stories with welcoming, happy children is now a high point of any day!
The essence of this book is all about "Keeping a child's memories alive." - Carol Butler
When I first read about the book Carol wanted illustrations for it was of interest to me at once--the kind of illustrations I love to do!
My first task was to draw a portrait of the main character in the book, Mama Joe. I felt she was in many ways like my own grandmother—even the way they looked. My grandmother was a mother to ten children; one of them my mother, Tyra. My grandmother had a hard life feeding and bringing up these children. My mother told me how she got up at 0400 every morning to bake the bread for the day. She was a strong woman, just as I now have come to know Mama Joe was.
After a very short time working on Carol’s book I came to understand and experience a wonderful connection and friendship to Carol--how much we had in common and how great it has been to work together. We as human beings, from any part of the world, are connected and have much to learn from each other.
Something about me: I am a Swedish artist. I have done mostly portraits and people in my art, which I enjoy. After living in southern Africa I came to draw African people. I don't always know exactly what I want to express, but hopefully the beauty and stories in people’s faces comes through.
I live in the countryside here in Sweden. I enjoy nature that is just outside my doorstep and the forest is a must for me--to breathe in and find peace. I’m also enjoying my family, husband and two grown daughters. Alice and Ebba (standard Black poodles) are also a big part of our family!
I use soft pastels often when working, both pencils and in blocks. I also love charcoal and pencil drawing. For the illustrations in this book I used pastels, color pencils, and charcoal in a mix. I then enhanced them ion the computer as pastels are a bit messy.
I have tried to express the people and scenes in Carol’s story the way I see them, not always the exact look but how I thought it would look. It was a totally new world to me. It has been such a joy to do this with Carol and I wish I could do it again!