America, My Love, America, My Heart

by Daria Peoples-Riley (Author) Daria Peoples-Riley (Illustrator)

America, My Love, America, My Heart
Reading Level: 2nd − 3rd Grade

America, do you love me? Acclaimed author-artist Daria Peoples-Riley invites readers to answer timely--and timeless--questions beating inside the hearts of children across America.

Exquisitely illustrated, with a powerful, lyrical text, America, My Love, America, My Heart will challenge readers of all ages to examine and evaluate personal beliefs and attitudes toward the many different colors of America.

America, do you love me? My black. My brown. My pride. My crown. What begins as a single question from a single child multiplies as America, My Love, America, My Heart sweeps across the country with every page turn, inviting in more and more children of color--and their questions. Does America love them when they speak? Or whisper? Or shout? When they stand? Does America love them just as they are?

Inspired by the questions of her own childhood, author and artist Daria Peoples-Riley has created a powerful and important book for Americans of all ages--an essential addition to every bookshelf and classroom. Her poetic text encourages readers to confront bias, prejudice, and discrimination and invites readers to reflect and respond with their own answers, while honoring the identities of black and brown children and people of color.

The unforgettable monochromatic oil paintings incorporate patriotic colors--red, white, and blue--to evoke deeply felt emotion and unique perspective. This rich, resonant book is a conversation starter for children, for families, for classrooms, and for communities.


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School Library Journal

Gr 2-4--The endpapers of this book depict the red, white, and blue American flag with the Pledge of Allegiance written in its stripes as if they are lines of wide-ruled paper. This flag, as the Pledge states, stands for "liberty and justice for all." But does it really provide those things to all its citizens? Throughout the pages of this book, various Black children ask the flag--and, by extension, the nation itself--do you love me back? It becomes a powerful refrain. Louisiana Creole words are mixed in with Spanish and English. Like most of the pictures in this book, the people are colored with shades of gray, but they have a variety of natural hairstyles, braids, and beautiful hats. Besides gray, the only other colors that appear are red, white, and blue. Shirts and blouses are white, the sky is a pale blue, church walls are a vibrant red. The patriotic symbolism is evident, but because color is used so sparingly, and the narrative arc so muted, the sequencing can start to lag. This book interrogates the concept of a nation that asks for unconditional love, respect, and honor but does not provide them to all its people, equally, in return. Back matter includes the author's mission statement, the history of Louisiana Creole, and pictures of the author with her family. VERDICT A book that encourages children to ask questions, this is a solid for all Americans.--Chance Lee Joyner, Haverhill P.L., MA

Copyright 2021 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

Review quotes

"[The] flag, as the Pledge states, stands for 'liberty and justice for all.' But does it really provide those things to all its citizens? Throughout the pages of this book, various Black children ask the flag—and, by extension, the nation itself—do you love me back? . . . This book interrogates the concept of a nation that asks for unconditional love, respect, and honor but does not provide them to all its people, equally, in return. . . . A book that encourages children to ask questions, this is a solid selection for all Americans." —School Library Journal
Classification
Fiction
ISBN-13
9780062993298
Lexile Measure
N/A
Guided Reading Level
N/A
Publisher
Greenwillow Books
Publication date
April 20, 2021
Series
-
Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

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