"I have always imagined that Paradise will be some kind of library." ~ Jorge Luis Borges

Wednesday, January 24, 2018


Love is in the air and it is a mighty fine thing.
I feel like I am late to this party with this post, the LOVE-fest kicked off on the 9th of this month and has been capturing hearts ever since.

is one beautifully-written and gorgeously-illustrated book. Although to say it is beautiful and gorgeous ignores the significance and and thoughtfulness of the narrative and art. Matt de la Peña and Loren Long have created something stunning and important.

Matt de la Peña's lyrical narrative reminds readers of the universal love that surrounds us from our birth. 

“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."

Love reaches us through the songs on a radio in a taxi cab, the spray from a hydrant on a hot day, and the burnt toast prepared by a big brother.

"A cab driver plays love softly on his radio while you bounce in back with the bumps of the city
and everything smells new, 
and it smells like life.”

Loren Long's art portrays this love in vibrant scenes that radiate rays of love light out to the reader, pulling us in and making us feel en-robed in that love.

With tenderness, Matt's words leave space for those who have not always felt this love. He gently invites the reader to consider those harder moments when love feels lost or far away.

"But it's not only stars that flame out, you discover.
It's summers, too.
And friendships.
And people."

Loren takes these moments and with sensitivity invites the reader to consider what it feels like when love feels lost or far away. Some readers will find themselves in these images, others will find their hearts and minds expanded.

In this book and in our lives, LOVE arrives just when we readers need it most, when events in our country are causing many of us to: find ways to talk about events with young children; question how our values fit in; work even harder to protect the human rights of all citizens; find new ways to live out the ideal of a welcoming and pluralistic society.

Reading this book with students is a soothing balm for worried hearts as well as a hope-filled encouragement to venture out into the world, knowing that LOVE is in the air.

Love is an affirmation and an inspiration.

Love is a call to action.

Love is a book that you need to read.

There's an additional aspect to this book that is incredibly special. Both Matt and Loren have been sharing moving elements of their lives in articles. You can check them out here:

In this article by Matt in Time, he shared how a question from a young girl made him stop and think about how honest to be with young students when answering questions. Ultimately, here's the answer Matt came to, "If I had the chance to ask Kate DiCamillo anything, it would be this: How honest can an author be with an auditorium full of elementary school kids? How honest should we be with our readers? Is the job of the writer for the very young to tell the truth or preserve innocence?"

In this incredible and hopeful world we do live in, Kate DiCamillo responded in a letter in Time, 
"I have tried for a long time to figure out how E. B. White did what he did, how he told the truth and made it bearable. And I think that you, with your beautiful book about love, won’t be surprised to learn that the only answer I could come up with was love. E. B. White loved the world. And in loving the world, he told the truth about it — its sorrow, its heartbreak, its devastating beauty. He trusted his readers enough to tell them the truth, and with that truth came comfort and a feeling that we were not alone."

In a NYT article, Loren shared something he had never shared before, that he is colorblind. Here's an excerpt: "Early in my career I kept it secret because I was worried that it would hurt my ability to get hired. If an art director or editor knew I was colorblind, would they want to work with me? I also just didn’t want to call attention to myself, when people have overcome far greater odds than mine. I think of it as an “obstacle” as opposed to a “disability.”

It's all pretty spectacular stuff.

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