(Guest post by Karen Dresser)
I Love You So… How could you go wrong with a title like that? I was in a hurry because I had a cranky two year old in the book store, but I was determined to find her a book to celebrate her adoption day. The picture on the front captivated me; the title sounded just perfect for an adoption day book; I bought it. Since then, I’ve been a Marianne Richmond junkie.
Marianne Richmond, the author, is as much an artist as a poet. She says what is in my heart but I can’t seem to put into words. Each page is filled with a lovely watercolor of a child and adult in a general situation: sitting and watching the rain, playing on a playground, and the like. To define each picture, there is a meaningful line that, as part of an entire text, becomes a love story from a parent to a child.
“Under your umbrella, behind you on a bike, by you and beside you is what I really like,” is just a taste of the phrasing that Richmond includes in this treasure. The page that I quote to my daughter the most however is, “I love you being nice, and when you’re cranky, too. I love you without liking the naughty things you do.” It’s such a genuine way to sum up my thoughts when I’m ready to be cranky myself!
Because I became a Marianne Richmond junkie, I started ordering her books sight unseen and realized that she is a joy for multiple audiences. I Love You So Much is the same text, with African American illustrations. One wonderful page has a mother and daughter on a see-saw. The duo, a mom that appears to be Caucasian with her African American daughter match my family perfectly.
Richmond does an excellent job speaking to two different audiences in her books, I Wished For You and You Are My Wish Come True as well. Both are stories about a mama bear telling her Barley Bear about how he came to be in her family. The first title, the one we’ve kept to treasure in my household, explains how Barley came to his family through adoption. “The mama who grew you loved you enough to make a different wish- a wish for a family who would love her little one with a total and adoring love,” is part of the explanation that the mother bear gives her cub. The pictures in this book are again, beautiful watercolors. You Are My Wish Come True is the same text and pictures except that Barley is the birth child of the mama bear. The text doesn’t flow as well in this one, but the love of a mother to her child is still obvious. While we read this book over and over, in the end we chose to give this one to our friends who had just had a new baby.
I just noticed that she has a new title, I Believe In You, that came out recently. I’m on my way to order it now, sight unseen.