Written by Matt De La Pena
Illustrated by Loren Long
I recently attended the Hubb's Children's Literature Conference held at the University of St. Thomas. It's always a pleasure to hear children's authors and illustrators speak about their lives and inspirations.
This year's key note speaker was Matt De La Pena, author of The Last House on Market Street which I reviewed in the December FORM newsletter. Matt spoke about the purpose of children's literature and urged us to consider whether it should help preserve innocence or reveal truths, even when the truth might be difficult. He argued that children can handle the "hard stuff" and that in fact, they need to be able to see the things they struggle with or worry about illustrated in the books they read.
Matt read us his latest picture book, Love. There is nothing quite like having an author read their work to you. He explained that he intended the main character of the story to be a "collective American childhood", or" the evolution of a child's life in America". He describes the many ways we can be touched by love.
The story begins as such:
"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."
It's a lyrical, poetic beauty of a book. Don't miss it.