What Do You Love About You?
As soon as I spotted Karen Lechelt's What Do You Love About You? in the featured books shelves of my local library, I snatched it up. Sometimes a front cover catches my attention first, sometimes it's the title of the book. In this case it was both, but let's get real, that title is fantastic.
It starts off with a little girl and her kitten next to a pile of stuffed animals. (And the author's dedication "To My Moon" stole my heart from the very beginning.) The girl asks each animal friend in turn what they love about themselves. Each animal then answers, and in doing so shows us what diversity can bring into our lives, but also teaches about loving ourselves too. Such a simple yet heartfelt message that isn't too didactic or over-the-top.
The drawings are endearing and cute, and I love the little girl's connection with each individual animal. If your little one loves animals, this book is for you.
I also had the pleasure of reading What Do You Love About You? to my two-year-old niece and nephew via Facetime. I always love to read to them over the phone and we are so lucky with technology these days that we can video chat! Monkey and Piggie enjoyed the illustrations and the various animals, and pointing out which animal was which. I can't decide which animal I like best, but I love each and every response.
I can't think of a better message for our kids: loving ourselves for who we are, but also accepting other people for who they are.
On a similar note, at the end of first grade, Little Lion's teacher has each student write little notes to each other. I do remember her doing that with Mini Me too and I love the sentiment behind it. Little Lion wrote such unique and heartfelt notes to her classmates and friends that some of the moms texted them to me. In truth, I was amazed by what she wrote to herself as well.
Dear myself, I am glad I am who I am. Love, (Little Lion)
I'd post a picture but she didn't give me permission.
To one of her friends, she wrote:
Dear ___, You are amazing at making me happy! Love, (Little Lion)
Ages: newborns on up. Though if you're sharing with your newborn, you may need to have someone else hold them while you read the book. I think this book's message is so important that your child needs to hear it right away. :D Plus, there is a board book edition that is baby friendly.
Readability: The repetitive refrain of "What do you love about you?" pulls the book together and makes for a quick and fun read. Your child will want to know what each different animal will say. And I love that each answer isn't predictable.
Diversity side note: Though the little girl's friends are different animals rather than people of various backgrounds, I think the parallel and message is clear. We can be different and that's okay. In fact more than okay, as each difference makes us a better friend.
Also, I asked Mini Me about the little girl because I think she can be of various backgrounds. So I said, "Do you think she looks Asian, or do you think she looks white, or something else?" And she said, "Maybe she's half-Asian, half-white." Fair enough. And that just happens to be Mini Me's mix in the simplest terms. (Or I could name 8-9 different backgrounds/countries that she's 'from'....)
Tell Dr. Bookworm!
What do YOU love about YOU? Let me know in the comments!