“Powerful, honest, and hopeful.” These were the three words my friend Erika used to describe Matt de la Peña and Loren Long’s collaboration, Love. Erika’s simple yet thoughtful review rang in my head as I anxiously awaited my own copy of the book that had been on my radar since last summer. I was worried it wouldn’t live up to the buzz I had been seeing on Twitter. But still, I couldn’t wait to read it for myself.
When it finally arrived, I ripped open the package on the way in from the mailbox and stood reading the words and taking in the pictures at the kitchen table, still wearing my shoes and coat. As I finished the final pages, my eyes welled and I was overcome with a feeling of hope. What Matt de la Peña captured so amazingly in words, and Loren Long through illustrations, was what I’ve always felt as a *teacher and then even more intensely the moment I become a mom. Everything I do is to fill them (my students and my girls) with love, a love I hope that they will take with them throughout their lives and ultimately share with others. It’s a hope that together, we can bring some light to the world around us. A message that seems so simple, but so powerful.
I knew this book, would become a one of the books I give to my children to mark a moment in their lives. I originally thought it would make a great first birthday book for Rose. But as the days have passed, I’ve been thinking that this book and the message is just too perfect. How could I give that to one child and not the others? So I think I’ve decided that this will be the birthday book of the year, with everyone getting their own copy. I hope that it becomes a book that my children cherish and that speaks to them the way that it has spoken to me.
Powerful, honest, and hopeful.
A perfect review.
*These emotions swelled up just today as I had the opportunity to visit one of the middle schools and the high school in our district. I saw many of my former first graders, now eighth and ninth graders. I was instantly transported back to my old classroom and many memories quickly surfaced. The stories shared, the nights spent worrying about how to reach them, conversations with their families… watching them grow. Today, seeing their more grown up faces, same smiles, reignited hope.