Monday, April 2, 2018

Review: I Am Loved by Nikki Giovanni, Illustrated by Ashley Bryan

April is Poetry month, and what better way to start it out than with a book from prize holding Nikki Giovanni? Together with the amazing artist, Ashley Bryan, she has created a beautiful picture book with inspiring poems centered around love, life and joy.

by Nikki Giovanni
Illustrated by Ashley Bryan
Atheneum Books
Picture Book
32 pages
ages 4 to 8

Newbery Award honoree Ashley Bryan has hand-selected a dozen of National Book Award winner Nikki Giovanni’s poems to illustrate with his inimitable flourish.

There is nothing more important to a child than to feel loved, and this gorgeous gathering of poems written by Nikki Giovanni celebrates exactly that. Hand-selected by Newbery honoree Ashley Bryan, he has, with his masterful flourish of color, shape, and movement, added a visual layering that drums the most impartant message of all to young, old, parent, child, grandparent, and friend alike: You are loved. You are loved. You are loved. As a bonus, one page is mirrored, so children reading the book can see exactly who is loved—themselves!


With colorful illustrations, which invite to dream, and beautifully worded poems, this is a book to inspire and bring the warmth of love.

This is a collection of eleven poems, each weaving a lovely description centering on themes from cats to dance to quilts to wild flowers and more, but each of these underlines a feeling of love and warmth. Some of the poems are only a few verses long, while others require the entire two-page spread. The poems paint a picture of things which are familiar but also lead to deeper meaning and thought. While some poems are easy for children in the intended age group to understand, others will require and invite discussion. The range is wide, from simple to more complex. Some poems are better geared for slightly older children over age eight. At times, the level of vocabulary is higher than younger listeners and readers might be accustom to. But there's something for everyone, and each person is sure to find their personal favorite.

The illustrations are a playground of colors, shapes and form. The familiar is molded in with a rainbow of joyful fantasy, while nodding at diversity in one of its most beautiful forms.

This is a lovely collection of poetry, one which is perfect as a read-aloud and offers an open door for discussions. But for all things, there is a constant sense of joy, love and warmth, and a celebration of life in its all of its variety.

And here they are. . .

The Author. . . .
Nikki Giovanni is one of the most decorated poets of our time. She is the recipient of seven NAACP Image Awards, a National Book Award, a Caldecott Honor, a Coretta Scott King Award, and a Grammy nomination. She is the author of three New York Times bestsellers as well as many poetry collections for children and adults.
You can visit her online a

The Illustrator. . .
Ashley Bryan grew up to the sounds of his mother singing from morning to night, and he has shared the joy of song with children ever since. A beloved illustrator, he was recently named a Newberry Honoree for his picture book, Freedom Over Me. He has also been the recipient of the Coretta Scott King—Virginia Hamilton Lifetime Achievement Award; the Laura INgalls Wilder Award; has been a May Hill Arbuthnot lecturer; a Coretta Scott King Award winner; and the recipient of countless other awards and recognitions. His books include Freedom Over Me; Sail Away; Beautiful Blackbird; Beat the Story-Drum, Pum Pum, Let It Shine, Ashley Bryan's Book of Puppets, and What a Wonderful World. He lives in Islesford, one of the Cranberry Isles off the coast of Maine.

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