Thursday, February 11, 2021

Reading | Honey, I Love

Honey, I Love | Eloise Greenfield | illustrated by Diane and Leo Dillon

What a treasure. A little book that fits snug in your hand, filled with sixteen simple love poems told from a child's point of view. Most of the stories are about cousins and playing dress-up and nice neighbors who give you a nickel - precious moments in any child's life. But near the end, without any fuss, comes a poem about Harriet Tubman running away from slave catchers and then running straight back in their direction to save Black brothers and sisters. Nineteen times! Those lines serve as a firm reminder that these are not the poems of any child but a Black child. Gently, effortlessly, engagingly, we are drawn into the context of her life. And we learn. 

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When my daughters were growing up, we read books about children of different cultures and colors. While I let them pick out any book they wanted during our never-ending visits to the library and the bookstore, I made a point to slip into our piles books with illustrations of darker-skinned children and stories about their experiences as Asian, Native American, Islanders, or Black, written by men and women of color. As my girls and I poured over these books together, I felt no need to preach or teach about race; the story always spoke for itself. The children within the stories spoke for themselves. Through books just like Honey, I Love, we learned. 

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