Always with You, Always with Me

by Kelly Rowland (Author) Fanny Liem (Illustrator)

Always with You, Always with Me
Reading Level: 2nd − 3rd Grade
An instant New York Times bestseller! A loving ode to modern motherhood by Kelly Rowland and Jessica McKay. Grammy Award-winning artist Kelly Rowland and educator Jessica McKay have crafted a lyrical celebration of working moms everywhere and a soothing story for their children. As a mother gets ready to go to work, first she works on building the world for her child. Because it can sometimes be hard to be separated during the day, Mom collects some simple words that she and her child can repeat whenever they are missing each other or feeling overwhelmed: Always with you, always with me, mommy and child, together we'll be. For any child who needs a little reassurance or just to share a sweet gesture of affection, Always with You, Always with Me is a loving tribute to families that honors the work a mother does both inside and outside of the home.
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School Library Journal

PreS-Gr 2--A chronicle of one week in the life of a busy family, with a focus on the mother and her one son. Mom works as a construction foreperson and dad works as a nurse. Their son is in early elementary school. Narrated by the mother, the story focuses on her words of comfort to her son by saying that she is always with him, even when she is away with her irregular work schedule. She encourages him to look for "traces of magic" that are symbols of her presence. This magic is represented in the illustrations by a note she leaves for him in his lunch. Rowland (of "Destiny's Child") and McKay, a teacher, have composed an earnest text that is far longer than many books for this age group. Both the vocabulary and sentence structure are advanced. Each day has a repeated refrain of almost ten lines, including the title phrase. Richly illustrated pages show Liem's digital artwork to have a pleasing sketchbook quality, with lines and coloring as if made by colored pencils. The family is Black, and the mother wears her natural hair in a variety of styles throughout the week. Famous Black figures are included in the backgrounds: Serena Williams, Mae Jemison, and Barack Obama. The final illustration is particularly striking, a composition that brings together all the visual symbols of the book into one lovely image. VERDICT Despite its lengthiness, this book is a heartwarming read-aloud from mother to child. Purchase where reassuring family stories are needed.--Chance Lee Joyner

Copyright 2022 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

Review quotes

"This tender story, narrated in the voice of a mother addressing her child, pulls at the heartstrings. This book will resonate with any mom who knows the heartache of having to say goodbye to their child or who has faced the teary-eyed frustration of a youngster experiencing separation anxiety. Young readers, on the other hand, will find solace in the reassuring narrative." -Kirkus Reviews

"A heartwarming read-aloud from mother to child." -School Library Journal
Kelly Rowland
Kelly Rowland is a four-time Grammy Award-winning singer, songwriter, actress, and executive producer with over 40 million records sold. She's known worldwide as a founding member of Destiny's Child, one of the bestselling female groups of all time. Kelly is also the coauthor of Whoa, Baby!: A Guide for New Moms Who Feel Overwhelmed and Freaked Out (and Wonder What the #*$& Just Happened). She lives in Los Angeles with her husband and two children. Please visit

Jessica MCKay is an educator living in Los Angeles with her husband and three children. While juggling work, family, and self, Jessica has always saved time to read. As an English teacher, she shares her passion for literature with her students. As a mother, she shares her love of books with her children. And now, as an author, she is sharing her first book with the world.

Fanny Liem is an artist based in Jakarta, Indonesia. She has always loved to draw and to read comic books and children's books. She studied digital art on her own and is grateful to do a job that she loves as an illustrator. Please visit
Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
Viking Books for Young Readers
Publication date
April 26, 2022
BISAC categories
JUV039050 - Juvenile Fiction | Social Themes | Emotions & Feelings
JUV011010 - Juvenile Fiction | People & Places | United States - African-American
JUV013000 - Juvenile Fiction | Family | General
Library of Congress categories
Picture books
Stories in rhyme
Mother and child
Working mothers

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