Shar­ing the love with young read­ers

Houston Chronicle - - STAR - By Joy Sewing | Staff writer

Chil­dren’s book au­thors have long re­lied on color and sweet words to teach young read­ers about love.

One of the noted ones is Bell Hooks’ “Homemade Love,” an ode to parental love, even when chil­dren mis­be­have. The 2002 pic­ture book by the renowned writer and fem­i­nist cap­tures love in all of its many col­ors and fla­vors.

“My mama calls me girlpie … Daddy’s honey bun choco­late dew drop,” as the young girl tells her story of how she breaks a dish, yet her par­ents for­give her.

“Ev­ery­thing I do can­not be right. ’Cause there is no all the time right,” Hooks writes.

With Valen­tine’s Day on Thurs­day, here are a few other pic­ture books about love:

“Homemade Love”

By Bell Hook and il­lus­trated by Shane W. Evans. Hype­r­ion/Jump at the Sun, $16.99, 32 pages Ages 4-8

“My Heart”

By Corinna Luyken Pen­guin Young Read­ers, $17.99, 32 pages

Ages 4-8 Au­thor and il­lus­tra­tor Corinna Luyken ap­proaches love with a sen­si­tiv­ity to how the heart can open one day and close the next. It’s a pure and sweet way to teach young read­ers about their own feel­ings: “My heart is a shadow, a light, and a guide. … Closed or open … I get to de­cide.” Also, Luyken’s char­coal-yel­low il­lus­tra­tions add to the beauty of this thought­ful pic­ture book.

“I’ll Love You Till the Cows Come Home”

By Kathryn Cristaldi and il­lus­tra­tor Kristyna Lit­ten Harper Collins, $17.99, 32 pages Ages 4-8 Here’s an­other great bed­time book about the love of a par­ent for a child, or cow or bird or ant. It’s a rhyming story about how big the feel­ing of love can be: “I will love you till the ants march in … wear­ing tiny ant hats and tiny ant grins.” Kristyna Lit­ten’s soft, del­i­cate il­lus­tra­tions are the per­fect ac­cent.

HarperCollins

From “How Do I Love Thee” by Jen­nifer Adams and il­lus­trated by Christo­pher Si­las Neal.

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