STARRED REVIEW
January 09, 2018

Love in all its forms

By Toni Morrison

Matt de la Peña teams up with New York Times bestselling illustrator Loren Long to bring his compassionate sensibility to a moving and poetic coming-of-age story—with a twist.

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“In the beginning there is light and two wide-eyed figures standing near the foot of your bed, and the sound of their voices is love.”

So begins the much-anticipated new picture book by Matt de la Peña, who won the prestigious Newbery Medal for Last Stop on Market Street, illustrated by Christian Robinson. Now teamed with New York Times bestselling illustrator Loren Long, de la Peña brings his compassionate sensibility to a moving and poetic coming-of-age story—with a twist.

For while the text of Love begins with a baby in a crib and ends with the moment a young person sets off on his or her own, the expansive illustrations go beyond a single child. Instead, each illustration helps to bring alive the author’s poetic exploration of love in all its forms and settings, from cityscapes to flower-strewn meadows. The illustrations embrace 21st-century America as a place of rich, multilayered diversity: We see a child in a wheelchair, a girl in a hijab, a picture of Jesus on a family’s wall, a child fishing with a grandfather and another watching a dad go off to work before dawn.

At the same time, de la Peña and Long don’t shy away from difficult subjects, making this a helpful book for initiating discussions with children. In one scene, a family is glued to the television during what appears to be an unnamed tragedy or disaster; in another, we see a child caught between angry parents.

Love is not simple, but it is enduring. And it is here, around us, sometimes in ways and in places we don’t even notice. Love reminds us of this in simple poetry and evocative illustrations, making it the perfect book to read and return to again and again, whatever age we might be.

 

ALSO IN BOOKPAGE: Meet the illustrator of Love, Loren Long.

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Love

Love

By Toni Morrison
Knopf
ISBN 9780375409448

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