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Love

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From Newbery Medal-winning author Matt de la Peña and bestselling illustrator Loren Long comes a story about the strongest bond there is and the diverse and powerful ways it connects us all.

"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."

In this heartfelt celebration of love, Matt de la Peña and illustrator Loren Long depict the many ways we experience this universal bond, which carries us from the day we are born throughout the years of our childhood and beyond. With a lyrical text that's soothing and inspiring, this tender tale is a needed comfort and a new classic that will resonate with readers of every age.

40 pages, Hardcover

Published January 9, 2018

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About the author

Matt de la Peña

37 books1,398 followers
Matt de la Peña is the New York Times best-selling, Newbery-medal-winning author of six young adult novels and four picture books. Matt received his MFA in creative writing from San Diego State University and his BA from the University of the Pacific, where he attended school on a full athletic scholarship for basketball. de la Peña currently lives in Brooklyn, NY. He teaches creative writing and visits high schools and colleges throughout the country.

Visit Matt at: mattdelapena.com

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5 stars
2,714 (51%)
4 stars
1,473 (28%)
3 stars
777 (14%)
2 stars
213 (4%)
1 star
70 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 949 reviews
Profile Image for Dave Schaafsma.
Author 6 books31.2k followers
December 2, 2018
Each year my family reads all the Goodreads-award-nominated picture books, and we have been doing this for years. Everyone rates each book and adds a comment and it may (or may not) affect my overall rating. This is book #2 of 2018.

Lyra (11): (11) 4.5 stars. I love how the story has a different kid in every segment, with a different race, gender and age. I like how it shows what they each truly love.

Hank (12): 3 stars. It was ok. I didn't really get it.

Harry (13): 2.5 stars. I didn't get the point.

Penn (family friend): 5 stars. Beautiful writing, illustrations, and narrative.

Tara: 4 stars. I like some of the bits and some less so. I kind of wish it had followed one kid all the way through to be more cohesive.

Dave: 3 stars. Even before I read this I thought that it was some chutzpah to title your book Love. What is the most written about topic in the history of literature? Woody Allen's movie Love and Death can tell you the top two, and the point of his title was ironic, as if this schlep could write the Great World Novel on these topics. De la Pena, without irony, as recent Newbery award-winner, and Long, a multiple New York Times #1-selling picture book illustrator (we are told), feel like they earned the right to claim that title.

And it's pretty, page after page, and each page has some good writing on it, but it didn't add up to anything really memorable for me, and a couple kids I read it with were not impressed by it. They kind of shrugged at it. For kids they would need more focus or some hook.

"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."

I like that a lot, the opening. Then, just randomly, later:

"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."

I like that writing, too, but it is obtuse, overall, too vague to be really useful for kids. The point of the book is that love is everywhere and different for everyone and necessary for our survival, all true. But you need a better hook to make us remember and care, Matt! Maybe this book is for adults; this is good, 3 stars, for me, but I think less good for kids.
Profile Image for Kelli.
844 reviews389 followers
March 31, 2018
This highly anticipated picture book seems written for adults or perhaps better appreciated when viewed through the lens of nostalgia and some age. Neither of my children loved it.
Profile Image for Karina.
765 reviews
March 10, 2020
We read the Spanish version called 'Amor'. It was so poetic and the illustrations were beautiful to look at. It got me teary eyed. Some pages were subtle but with a powerful message like a boy hiding under a piano. It looks like him and his dog are playing peekaboo with his mom but if you look closer there is a glass with ice, a man walking away, mom is actually crying, boy and dog are scared while the furniture is turned upside down. But there is Amor all around us even when things are tough. Beautiful messages throughout.
Profile Image for Calista.
3,791 reviews31.2k followers
August 20, 2018
The artwork in this book in unbelievable. So beautiful. I love all these different people in it. This book is showing all these various ways LOVE shows up in our lives, in good times and in hard times. It is always with us. It is a powerful story that is fairly abstract. It does a great job at this for adult or Teens. It meant a lot to me, but I don't think this was for children.

Neither one of the kids really got this book. They thought the pictures we pretty, but the older one said the story was confusing and didn't make sense. The younger agreed of course, but all he could say it was about was Love. I don't think it landed with these two anyway. They gave it 2 stars, the niece led that vote.
Profile Image for Kara Belden.
176 reviews34 followers
November 20, 2017
Delaney loves "Love," so she gives it "twenty hundred" stars!!
Profile Image for Alicia.
5,598 reviews103 followers
December 22, 2017
This is one of those books that you read slowly and digest the words along with the gorgeous illustrations that enhance the words with powerful beauty. It's also the kind of book that you're sad that you can never go back and read for the first time again. It disappoints you. But you'll remember the first time you read it and the feelings that it evoked.

de la Pena and Long focus on slices of life and how they are enhanced by love with the final page reminding me of one of the speeches that Hamilton-creator said that "love is love is love". What a powerful message. They don't shy away from tragedies, but show how love helps. Family. Hometown. Hobbies. It's all there. And loving yourself.

You are holding love, literally and figuratively. MUST HAVE. I will be keeping my copy!
Profile Image for Linda .
3,609 reviews39 followers
January 16, 2018
Yes, I finally got it, and yes, it is as beautiful as everyone has said and written and praised. Matt de la Pena infuses his words with loving scenes but has not made it all sweet and happy. He's acknowledged that sometimes love seems to hide and it's a challenge to look and look and still not find it. Then, it is found and feels very very good. In his fabulous illustrations, Loren Long has included people who live in different places, play in various ways, people who are part of our lives. He has created colorful and bright pages, included dark ones along with bittersweet, but okay pages. It is a book to savor, to gift, to remember. There is, to me, a nice nod to Amy Krouse Rosenthal at the very end, and of course, on the cover, that "yellow umbrella!
Profile Image for La Coccinelle.
2,241 reviews3,562 followers
July 14, 2018
You know how, if you say a word over and over again for long enough, it starts to lose its meaning? Unfortunately, I think that's what happened here. In this book everything is love, and while on some level that might be true, it's a message that would probably ring hollow when your parents are fighting or your building is burning down or you have a nightmare after seeing something awful on TV. Equating all of those things with love didn't make much sense to me as an adult, and I'm not sure it would make much sense to kids, either.

However, the artwork in this one is just lovely. I really like Long's illustration style (I encountered it before in Barack Obama's delightful picture book, Of Thee I Sing: A Letter to My Daughters). The cast of characters is culturally, economically, and socially diverse, and the charming pictures save what would otherwise be a confusing and confused narrative.

Have a look at this one for the illustrations, but don't expect too much from the writing.

Quotable moment:

In a crowded concrete park,
you toddle toward summer sprinklers
while older kids skip rope
and run up the slide, and soon
you are running among them,
and the echo of your laughter is love.
Profile Image for Katie Fitzgerald.
Author 4 books192 followers
July 19, 2018
I just really didn't like this book. The illustrations are pretty, but the text is very abstract and not the kind of thing most little kids find appealing. A good number of the lines sound more meaningful than they actually are. For example, I can't think of a context in which a parent would ever say, "It's okay, it's love," nor does it really make any sense to say of the stars that "the shine they shine with is love." It was also completely unclear what gathering around the TV during a tragedy has to do with anything.

In general, I don't like to review books based on what they are not. This is not a book for a religious audience, so it's really the author's prerogative to include references to God or not. For me, though, in teaching my small children what love looks like, I just don't have use for a book that presents love as something that exists because of people, and not because there is a supernatural source for all things seen and unseen. This book just felt random and touchy-feely and does not at all present love in the light I would like my children to understand it.
Profile Image for donna backshall.
609 reviews170 followers
January 23, 2021
Has Matt de la Pena written a book that will not bring me to tears? I'm starting to think that answer is no.

THIS BOOK IS BEAUTIFUL.

"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.
"

In Love, we move through life, identifying all the love along the way. If you ever needed a reminder to "recognize a love overlooked", look no farther than this sweet book.
Profile Image for Rebecca.
4,549 reviews177 followers
February 27, 2018
Well, that was beautiful -- both in words and images. I appreciated the incredibly diverse depictions of people and even of love: that it isn't always sunshine and rainbows, but love that "flames out," that is "overlooked." Loren Long's art is created with "collaged monotype prints, acrylic paint, and pencil." Printmaking is somewhat rare in picture books, and monotypes especially.
Profile Image for Shirley.
72 reviews
February 4, 2018
Better than I expected and I expected the world! I have been walking around the library sticking in this people's hands since I saw it.
Profile Image for Marianne.
48 reviews
February 28, 2018
Nice illustrations. I didn't care much for the text; I found it too saccharine for my tastes. It's the kind of book that will be gifted to high school grads come springtime.
Profile Image for Philip.
959 reviews259 followers
May 25, 2018
The current top-rated review of this book says that the book, "seems written for adults or perhaps better appreciated when viewed through the lens of nostalgia and some age."

That's possibly true, but I just read it to my six year old daughter, Poppy, and she wanted to turn around and read it right back to me.

My (human, not just virtual) friend Chris read this as part of his sermon yesterday. He and his wife have worked with the youth in our church this past year, and together they spoke to the congregation - and specifically the youth. Specifically the seniors.

How many of you got a copy of Oh, The Places You'll Go as a graduation gift? How many have given one?

I imagine that was written for an older and more nostalgic crowd as well. And as much as I love that book, it's nice to see that it will have some competition on the Graduation Gift Table.

*addendum*

Chris said his favorite part (or the one that gets to him) is the umbrella. I think mine is the television and the shield. Illustrations aside, both are abstractly visceral moments.

And, for what it's worth, I wrote this review while listening to Ray LaMontagne's Let It Be Me.
Profile Image for Allie.
1,377 reviews38 followers
August 2, 2018
I can't imagine a situation where it would make sense to read this book. It is so heavy handed and at the same time so obtuse! The tone was all over the place. Pump the breaks, y'all. Even Newbery Award winners need a good editor.
Profile Image for Abigail.
7,083 reviews173 followers
January 15, 2019
Matt de la Peña, winner of the Newbery medal for his previous picture-book, Last Stop on Market Street , deliver a poetic exploration of love in this newest title, which pairs his text with lovely artwork from illustrator Loren Long. From the day one is born, experiencing love through "two wide-eyed figures standing near the foot of your bed, and the sound of their voices is love," this all-important emotional bond is ever-present in our lives, reaching us through actions large and small...

I went into Love with high expectations, given Matt de la Peña's excellent work in Last Stop on Market Street , which, although not deserving of the Newbery in my estimation, was nevertheless an excellent picture-book. Overall, I did appreciate this one, both for its message, and for the poetic delivery of that message. I also enjoyed the beautiful artwork, which was done in collaged prints, acrylic paint and pencil, and which depicts a diverse range of people. All that said, I just wasn't quite as moved by this one as I'd expected to be. Reactions vary, of course, so if you're looking for picture-books about love - the many ways it manifests itself in our lives, and the important role it plays - this might be one to pick up.
Profile Image for Betsy Wolf.
290 reviews
January 21, 2018
This one is being pushed like crazy by everybody, but it isn’t just hype. “Love” is a beautiful picture book that probably means more the older you are, but my 7 year old still latched onto the overriding concept of love. She even told me I skipped a page, picked up her dog, and said “Love is two furry ears and a wet nose and a cute puppy.” I loved the addition. I teared up at a couple of poignant moments. I’ll have to pull it together when I read this aloud!
Profile Image for Chance Lee.
1,310 reviews120 followers
February 14, 2018
A book about love and support and going forth and being brave knowing you are loved.

I'm reading a lot of these types of books lately. This one is better than most, because it at least acknowledges that sometimes things are hard, but we must continue on with our lives anyway.

Still, phrases like "color of your love" and "plays love on the radio" are a little too earnest for me.
Profile Image for Mississippi Library Commission.
389 reviews71 followers
February 5, 2018
Matt de la Pena and Loren Long are in perfect sync with this reflection of what love is. Love is all around us, in a multitude of different shades and experiences and packages, and this book was a joy to read. This beautiful picture book will leave your heart overflowing with bliss.
Profile Image for Danielle H.
308 reviews17 followers
February 20, 2018
The artwork in this is lovely, as it the message, but it's hard to read this as a book a child would read or get on their own, which is a sticking point for me personally.
Profile Image for Megan Bamforth.
40 reviews5 followers
October 21, 2019
Love is different to each and every person. Maybe this is something that is overlooked too often as society's version of 'love' is shown to us time and time again. This book allows you to see love in different ways, different cultures and different familial/friendship/self situations. There is not one 'love' but rather a multitude and we should accept and cherish what love we find in our lives, rather than comparing it to what others have in theres. This books sends a lovely message and would enable connections and allow pupils to see themselves in certain situations as well as accepting that their version of love may not be the same as others. Broadening pupils horizons is important and books can facilitate this, especially ones which are broad like this.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 949 reviews

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