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Chamberlin, Mary 1960-

Chamberlin, Mary 1960-


Born 1960; married Rich Chamberlin (an engineer).


Home and office—Naperville, IL. E-mail[email protected]


Children's author and freelance television producer and director.


Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators.

Awards, Honors

Gold Award, Oppenheim Toy Portfolio, 2006, for Mama Panya's Pancakes.


(With husband, Rich Chamberlin) Mama Panya's Pancakes: A Village Tale from Kenya, illustrated by Julia Cairns, Barefoot Books (Cambridge, MA), 2005.

Contributor, with Mary Chamberlin, of short fiction and articles to periodicals; author of educational materials.


An avid traveler, Mary Chamberlin wanted to share with readers the many cultures and adventures she encountered during her trips throughout the world. Together with her husband and co-traveler, Rich Chamberlin, she produced the children's book Mama Panya's Pancakes: A Village Tale from Kenya, a story centering on a Kenyan family. As the Chamberlins noted on their home page, they "love to share international stories, play games, and show people that ‘We Are All One.’" The couple's travels have taken them to Africa, Australia, China, England, Indonesia, and New Zealand.

A Kirkus Reviews critic designated Mama Panya's Pancakes as a "contemporary story" that gains a "timeless quality" due to its classic folktale theme of generosity.

The story begins after a young Kenyan boy, Adika, learns that his mother plans to make pancakes for dinner. In a flurry of excitement Adika rashly invites all his family's friends and neighbors to dinner so that all can share in his mother's wonderful meal. Adika's generous invitation puts the boy's mother in a bind: she does not have sufficient ingredients or work space to make enough pancakes for all of her son's invited guests. Fortunately, all those who have received Adika's invitation are worthy: each of the dinner guests arrives with a different dish, stretching the modest pancake dinner into a lavish community feast. The Chamberlins' use of repetition in Mama Panya's Pancakes makes the book "a strong selection for a read-aloud," according to School Library Journal reviewer Genevieve Gallagher. The authors also add to their archetypical story by including an appendix featuring traditional Kenyan recipes as well as maps and general facts about the African country.

Biographical and Critical Sources


Kirkus Reviews, March 1, 2005, review of Mama Panya's Pancakes: A Village Tale from Kenya, p. 285.

School Library Journal, May, 2005, Genevieve Gallagher, review of Mama Panya's Pancakes, p. 78.


Barefoot Books Web site, (February 12, 2007), "Mary and Rich Chamberlin."

Mary and Rich Chamberlin Home Page, (February 12, 2007).

Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators—Illinois Chapter Web site, (February 12, 2007), "Mary and Rich Chamberlin."

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