Sometimes a theme takes a little while to find when I look at books to write as one fun, roundup review. but the three below took no time at all to find a connection. Each one is about love. Love of family, love of yourself, and love even when we are far away from our loved ones.
Love of family and self is the theme in Eyes That Weave the World’s Wonders. Joanna Ho and Liz Kleinrock (also of Come and Join Us!: 18 Holidays Celebrated All Year Long) continue with how the eyes are important in their January 2024 picture book. We follow an adopted child (the only one with eyes like hers) as she explores the love around her, and the love that must have been had to let her go. Dung Ho’s illustrations are both bold and soft. They are colorful and busy. Things float and swirl around, yet give a solid base to the story. We learn, along with the child of the story, how her past and present make her who she is, and how much heartfelt love there is even if she and her family look different.
And the obvious theme of love is in the title of Love Grows. Ruth Spiro’s story is a sweet, unique story of how a family far apart can share a special bond and love. The aunt of the story sends several plants to the young girl of the story, and each one represents something the girl should strive for. But of course, also the care of the plants (or yourself) is important, too. And then the art by Lucy Ruth Cummins is sweet, cozy and colorful. They are simple illustrations, but have a lot to say. You can read them as much as the text itself. The idea is unique and fun and this is a great reminder of the connection between us, even if it is one that is not immediately next to you.
Finally, there is the book Say It with Me (Dilo Conmigo) which is a book about your own self-love, in a strong affirmation format. The author uses both English and Spanish to include multiple readers and listeners. The mother, from the moment the child wakes, tells them all the grand things about them, such as they are strong, smart, and such. Then the child must repeat those things. At the end, our child turns the tables on the mother and tells her to Say It with Me and she does. This Nancy S. Torres’ picture book is not overly pushy, but the message is strong and obvious. It might not be for everyone as it can be too sweet. Zoey Black’s illustrations are cute, simple and do not distract from the theme. Marisel Villarreal Rios is the translator.
Even if the title is currently available, I read them all via an online reader copy.