April 2017

Love is

Diane Adams

Make Way for Ducklings might be my favorite children’s picture book. I find few things more endearing than a great story and baby ducklings. Love Is is a picture book that brings you a baby duck and more. Not only are the illustrations charming, but this children’s book explains change and growth in relationship to love. 
The story begins when a little duckling follows a butterfly and loses her way only to be rescued by a resplendent little girl. The girl soon learns that child-rearing is not easy!  With the girl’s love and support, however, the ducking becomes a duck, her wings grow strong and she leaves the nest.
Love is missing, reminiscing wishing things could stay the same. It’s understanding even ducklings, like the seasons have to change.
If you have read my other book reviews, you know I am (like most children) a sucker for a happy ending. The duck returns again to see her friend, this time bringing her own brace of ducklings in tow.
If this is even possible, the book offers something more: A main character of color. Sadly, this is not the way children’s book characters have always been portrayed. Did you know that research suggests that over 80% of children’s book characters have always been white? But that was then and this is now.
About a year ago I came to learn about Marley Dias. Marley, a sixth-grader from New Jersey, decided that she was tired of reading about white boys and dogs. This young pioneer started a campaign. Her mission?  To find 1000 books with black girl characters. Word got around. Thanks to Marley and pioneers like Caldecott Honor's writer Matt De La Pena (Last Stop on Market Street) the list of children’s books that teach diversity is growing and so is Marley’s vision. I have found, more and more, read aloud stories that emphasize the diverse society that we live in and isn’t that the way it should be? 
We know that children’s books can act like both mirrors and windows on the world.  Mirrors in that they can reflect on children’s own lives, and windows in that they can give children a chance to learn about someone else’s life.  We also know that this type of self-reflection and opportunity to read or hear about different lives is essential for young people.”   - B.J. Epstein, The Conversation

Want to learn more about Marley Dias and Matt de la Pena?
Check out: 1000BlackGirlBooksCampaign

And also check out: We Need Diverse Books Video

2017Janie Greene