Love by Matt de la Pena | a review and activity for Moms & Kids to share
I have teenagers, and sometimes they think that picture books are beneath them. But the moment I opened the package and unwrapped Love by Matt de la Pena, my teenagers told me that we were keeping this book.
This book is so gentle and kind and absolutely fantastic.
The story is told from the perspective of a child as they see the beauty of the world around them, protected by adults from bits they cannot understand yet. Matt de la Pena reaches down into your heart with only short phrases and gorgeous pictures and yet. . . your heart will melt as you read this book.
I cannot give away the ending, but it makes me cry every time I read it. I have no idea how this author “gets” the soul of a child and the heart of a mother with such pinpoint accuracy, but wow – does he get it.
If you only bought one picture book in your life, this would be the one. I cannot say enough good things.
And you could easily use this book beyond simply reading it aloud to your child.
We homeschool, so I always first think of how other homeschooling parents would use a book, but this activity would work for families, school rooms, co-ops, youth groups, or pretty much anywhere you have a group of people. I can even see groups of pregnant moms using this book, or even at baby showers.
Step 1: Read the book aloud to the group then set the book down near an empty wall where everyone can see it.
Step 2: If there are kids you start talking with them about love and ask what they think of when they hear “Love is. . .”
Step 3: Take notes when you hear responses. Put your notes on Post-Its and stick them to a wall.
Step 4: (this is the best part) Take a step back together and look at your creation. A shared wall of love. How much better can it get?
- If you have children (even of mixed ages) you can have them write their answers themselves on Post-Its or pieces of paper. Younger ones can draw their answers as pictures, older ones can practice writing and spelling. You could even make it a cursive practice activity.
- If you don’t have that many friends nearby, you could do this as a virtual project using social media like Facebook. That is what I did, in part, as we reviewed this book. Every time I got an answer from a friend to the question of “Love is. . .”, I edited the photo to add another virtual Post-It. The result was an amazing sharing event!
From the Publisher
“In the beginning there is light
and two wide-eyed figures standing near the foot of your bed
and the sound of their voices is love.
A cab driver plays love softly on his radio
while you bounce in back with the bumps of the city
and everything smells new, and it smells like life.”
About the Book:
by Matt de la Pena
Illustrated by Loren Long
Ages: 4-8 (but teens and parents love it too!)
Hardcover: 40 pages
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers (January 9, 2018)