Growing up in India, my sister and I would frequent a second-hand bookstore and feast our brains on The Famous Five, Enid Blyton, Nancy Drew, Hardy Boys and the like. I lapped them up, but my young brain co-related exciting adventures to white kids who ate scones with clotted cream at tea time. I didn’t see myself in them.
But oh, how the times have changed. Thank goodness (and authors!) for diversity in books! I’m so glad my daughter can now see herself in the books she reads.
Norah Barrett Cooper from Loving Lion Books has taken diverse books for kids to the next level by making it…*drum roll, please…* customizable!
“Love Family” is a heartwarming story of a little girl and her cousins while they wait for a big family meal. The words and the story remain the same, but the main characters can be customized to reflect the reader’s family. How’s that for a novel idea?
The cover is warm and inviting. It features a group of multi-racial kids playing beside a dinner table. There is a lot of affection packed in the illustrations on the pages inside. The little girl hugging her smiling grandma, cousins with their hands over each others’ shoulders and the grown-ups having a good time cooking. Reminded me a little of my own family get-togethers.
The writing is simple, perfect for little readers. I loved how the little ones also have a role to play in family dinner night. They help set the table and fill glasses with water when dinner is announced.
However, I thought the sentence construction and word choices were a little off in some places. Word repetitions like “I nod and nod,” “we play and play” come up every now and then, which I thought wasn’t really necessary. But that’s just me nitpicking.
The message at the core of this book is beautiful. “Our Family is Love,” says the little girl’s Grandma at the end of the book. The last page is left blank for readers to place a photo or drawing of their family, which I thought was a fantastic idea to truly personalize this book.
Disclaimer: We received two versions of the book from the author for review purposes.