Caitlin's Book of the Month - February 2015
For February, I have chosen two very different books about love. I scoured the Valentine's Day shelf at my local bookstore and found the children's to be lacking. Rather than feature story about classroom Valentines and young unrequited love, I've selected stories about love of family, love of self and love of life.
The first is I love you too by Ziggy Marley, the illustrated storybook featuring the lyrics to his song of the same name. The illustrations are by Ag Jatkowska and they are beautiful.
The lyrics are written from the perspective of a parent, who is responding to their young child's exclamation of "I love you." Marley wrote this song based on a sweet moment with his own three year-old.
I like this book because of the sweet, simple message and the gorgeous illustrations of realistic, diverse families. I think that young children would love to learn the song to be able to sing and read along with the book. Parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and caregivers will enjoy sharing this outpouring of love with their young ones. I recommend this book for families with infants, toddlers and grade school children.
The second book is by one of my favorite authors, Oliver Jeffers. The Heart and the Bottle is slightly somber, but extremely beautiful. In it, a young girl experiences the loss of her father, subtly depicted by an empty chair. After this experience, she puts her heart into a bottle to protect it from any more pain. She grows up with the bottle around her neck, treading carefully through the big and beautiful world. When she meets a young girl who is still alive with the magic of childhood, she realizes that hearts are for sharing.
This story is a powerful teaching tool. I think that families, teachers and mental health professionals could all use it to help children in times of grief and anxiety. I recommend it for every child you know who will eventually suffer some heartache. This book deserves a place on the shelf next to The Giving Tree.
Happy Valentine's Day and Happy Reading! Wishing you lots of love-filled moments sharing beautiful books with the young people in your lives.