Book Buzz: Love
Written by Matt de la Peña
Illustrated by Loren Long
Ages 5-8, G. P. Putnam’s Sons
As we celebrate birthdays this month, what better way than to consider our cherished childhood memories. Love is an ode to universal love as a thread throughout our lives, our families and our understanding of the world around us. Newberry Medal-winning author Matt de la Peña weaves a celebration of the affections that bond families together. The poem describes how the simplest sight or sound that we encounter in our lives can be a manifestation of love. A child who only understands love as receiving gifts can be shown that these simple things are not only free, but valuable.
With each turning of the page, love is described as a visual memory, a sound common and regular in the neighborhood or an afternoon remembered throughout one’s life. The memories fade somewhat, but the sensors of childhood do not.
There are also unsettling experiences that a child remembers. A distraught voice, a phone call in the middle of the night, family gathered nervously around a TV watching a historic event.
But, in the end, it is the love of a young mother calming a child woken by a bad dream, the laughter of uncles telling tall tales and the vision of a child’s own face in the mirror – a manifestation of love of the parents – that are remembered.
Long, the illustrator of the bestselling Otis series, paints heartwarming pictures of the many ways that love reveals itself. His acrylic mono print and pencil illustrations provide a window into a child’s perception of the world, and, as the child grows older, the different interpretations of love.
De la Peña’s treatment of the eternal love of families and childhood memories creates a foundation with which to cross a threshold into the world as a loving adult.