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Reviewed by Emily-Jane Hills Orford for Readers' Favorite
What is love? It’s a very complex concept when you think about it. But love is in us: in everything we do, in everything we see, in everything we are. Even how we look, love is there, too. How do we teach young people about love? By showing them love; by encouraging them to love themselves and those around them; by showing kindness and encouraging young people to show kindness, too; by being a good friend and enjoying being around good friends; by sharing good food like pizza. But, we have to always remember that we can’t show love if we don’t love ourselves. We are all beautiful and worthy of our love and the love of others.
Qiana Davis’s picture book story, Love Is Me, is a vibrant story for the very young which illustrates and addresses key issues of what love is. Using simple language and the question/answer approach (because the very young love to ask lots of questions), the author presents several key concepts about love. The answers are simply stated, but it’s the illustrations that really answer the questions. For example, the first question is: “How do you show love to your friends?” The answer is in the illustrations which show friends having fun together. This will open up a conversation with the young reader to input his/her ideas of how he/she shows love to friends. It’s interesting, too, that the author addresses the reader directly in the questions by using the second person, ‘you’ and ‘your’.
The clear climax is a young boy answering the key question about love as he studies his reflection in the mirror: “Love is me/Love is you/Love is in/everything we do.” The illustrations are bright and bold, cheerful and positive, just like love. Since most of the children illustrated are children of color, it is clear that the author wants the story to address young readers of color, to encourage them to be emboldened by love for themselves and each other. However, I do believe the author’s words of wisdom, simply put, are applicable to all children – and adults, too.