When I first saw the cover of Love by Matt de la Pena and Loren Long, I knew it was going to be something special. I couldn’t wait to peer inside the pages and hear Matt’s words and see Loren’s vivid illustrations. The first time I got to actually hear about what was inside the book was with the amazing John Schu while we presented at the Tennessee School Librarian Association Conference. In his masterful way of book talking, he made me want to read the book even more by gushing over the illustrations and how Matt brought the idea of “love” to life in many different ways.
I finally got to see a copy of the book in Phoenix at the American Association of School Librarians Conference, and I read the book multiple times in the Penguin Young Readers booth. Every single illustration from Loren Long is breathtaking. You can see something different each time you look at the pages. He takes Matt’s words and extends them into a visual masterpiece of how love lives in our world. Matt’s words take you well beyond the idea of love being a hug, a kiss, or an “I love you”. Love lives in music, in time spent with family, in the colors of the sky, in good deeds to those in need, and more. We’re in a time where it sometimes feels like love has been lost in our world. This book reminds us that love is everywhere, but we do have to take a moment to look closely in order to remind ourselves where it is.
I’m so happy that this book is finally out in the world. It’s the perfect book to start the new year as people consider their goals for the year. If you’ve found yourself in a hard place over the past year, pick up this book and reconnect yourself with the love in our world.
I knew that this book was one that I wanted to share with my entire school as soon as I saw it. Miraculously, while I was in Phoenix looking at the book for the first time, I got an email from Hannah DeCamp at Avid Bookshop. The email subject was “Pssst, we’re hosting Matt de la Pena and Loren Long in January”. My fingers couldn’t open the email and respond fast enough. As part of the extensive Love tour, Matt & Loren are stopping by our school in January. Also while in Phoenix, I scored an ARC of Love after standing in a long giveaway line.
Many times for these tour events, I don’t have a lot of time to prepare. This time we had almost 2 months notice. As soon as I got back to school from Phoenix, I started showing the book to teachers. One of the first was our art teacher, Ms. Rita Foretich. I love collaborating with her because so often we take a seed of an idea that blossoms into something grand. The book immediately got her creative wheels turning and she wanted to do something with every class in the school.
Over December and January, we have been reading the book to every class and creating an art piece that is inspired by the book. Every grade is doing something different. I’ll be sharing many of those projects in some posts over the next few weeks leading up to our author and illustrator visit.
For now, go out and get this book at your local bookstore. Even better, order a copy from Avid Bookshop to have signed when Matt and Loren visit on January 30th. They will ship the book to you. See the beautiful in the world and give love.