Posted in picture books, Preschool Reads

Love Made Me More imbues objects with love and magic

Love Made Me More, by Colleen Rowan Kosinski/Illustrated by Sonia Sánchez, (Dec 2022, Two Lions), $17.99, ISBN: 9781542006200

Ages 4-7

A boy and with brown skin and dark hair, and his grandmother with tan skin and greying hair sit at a table, folding origami cranes. The boy’s paper – “just a piece of paper – orange with white and blue spots” – transforms into Origami Crane, and his love for his Boy runs deeply. The feeling is mutual, as we see Origami Crane provide friendship and comfort, imagination and adventure. As the boy grows older, he and Crane go on fewer adventures, and when a new person enters the Boy’s life, Crane is momentarily upset: and then the Crane discovers that love can multiply, not divide. A superb story of the magic we give objects, Love Made Me More spans generations and illustrates the passage of rituals. Uncomplicated storytelling, narrated by the Crane, is moving and creates an invested relationship between the Crane and the Boy; children and adults alike will understand the relationship and the meaning of the phrase, “Love has made me so much more”: it’s the love, the memories, the feelings, that create our investment with certain objects. Digital illustrations have a hand-colored feel. The Crane gives off a warm glow during time spent with the Boy. Bright oranges and deep greens bring the spreads to life, and movement swirls around each spread: pieces of paper, dream journeys, tendrils of light. An excellent readaloud choice, Love Made Me More allows for discussions on our favorite objects and the memories they hold for us.

The Spruce Crafts has step-by-step instructions on folding a paper crane, complete with photos and a video.

Love Made Me More has a starred review from School Library Journal.

 

Colleen Rowan Kosinski is the author of A Home Again and the author-illustrator of Lilla’s Sunflowers and A Promise Stitched in Time. She received her BA from Rutgers University in visual art, is an alumna of Philadelphia’s Moore College of Art and Design, and spent many years as a successful freelance fine artist. Colleen calls New Jersey her home and resides there with her family. Learn more at http://www.colleenrowankosinski.com.

Sonia Sánchez is the illustrator of a number of picture books, including Evelyn Del Rey Is Moving Away by Meg Medina, A Crazy-Much Love by Joy Jordan-Lake, and The Little Red Fort by Brenda Maier. Her books have been nominated for the Eisner Award and named a CBC/NCSS Notable Social Studies Trade Book for Young People and a Bank Street College Best Book of the Year. She lives with her husband, her kids, and a sleepyhead cat in Barcelona, Spain.

 

Posted in picture books, Preschool Reads

Blog Tour and Giveaway! A Home Again by Colleen Rowan Kosinski and Valeria Docampo

A Home Again, by Colleen Rowan Kosinski/Illustrated by Valeria Docampo, (Nov. 2021, Two Lions), $17.99, ISBN: 9781542007207

Ages 4-8

This book will tug at those heartstrings in the most delightful of ways. A home excitedly waits for its new family to arrive, and enjoys the warm, loving presence a growing family brings to its walls. But one day, the family packs up, waves goodbye, and… leaves. Devastated and confused, the home refuses to let anyone else look at it, swelling its doors shut, rattling its shingles, and creaking its stairs. Love always wins, though, and one day, two men manage to break through Home’s protective shell and start a life there. Afraid to love again, Home quietly observes at first; as the two set about making the house a Home once again, it warms to the thought of housing a family again. Told from the Home’s point of view, A Home Again captures the wonderful feeling that make us think of home: the smells, the sounds of a growing family as pitter patters become stomps and clomps; the comfort of having everyone existing in the same space. What we don’t think of, and what A Home Again shows us, is that our homes become part of our family; we breathe life into our homes by living, loving, and being within, infusing every wall, every floorboard, with laughter, tears, love… just everything. I love that this sweet story also illustrates that anyone can be a family.

Warm illustration invites readers into Home’s happiest moments. When left alone, the colors grow cool, even dark, until we see Home’s newest family arrive on the scene. Even empty, we know that Home is considering these two gentlemen; a lone chair is bathed in the warm sunlight coming in through a window, casting a long shadow behind it. One gentleman holds flowers, ostensibly from the area around the Home, seen through a window as the other kneels in the doorway, looking in, as their dog stands with him, surveying their new digs. It’s a spread filled with opportunity and possibility.

I love A Home Again, and you will too. Display with The House of Grass and Sky by Mary Lyn Ray and E. B. Goodale for a similar take on a home that needs a family to bring it to life. This is a great book for social-emotional learning collections, and a great book to read when talking about emotions and feelings, especially for younger learners who are still learning to identify their own feelings and to recognize those feelings in others.

 

The expert use of light and dark creates beautiful, emotional contrasts of warmth and isolation—a wonderful match of both verbal and visual tone…Heartfelt and filled with possible connections for families.” Kirkus Reviews
“Sleekly rendered acrylic and colored pencil art…casts the house’s interior in rich chiaroscuro…in this familiar narrative of being left behind and learning to love again.” Publishers Weekly
 
Colleen Rowan Kosinski is the author-illustrator of Lilla’s Sunflowers and A Promise Stitched in Time. She received her BA from Rutgers University in visual art, is an alumna of Philadelphia’s Moore College of Art, and spent many years as a successful freelance fine artist. Colleen calls New Jersey her home and resides there with her family. Learn more at colleenrowankosinski.com.
Instagram: @colleenkosinski
 
Valeria Docampo has a background in fine arts and has also been a teacher. She is the illustrator of many books for publishers around the world, including La Grande Fabrique de Mots, which has been translated into thirty languages. Originally from Argentina, she now makes her home in France with her family. Learn more at valeriadocampo.com.
 
Facebook: Valeria Docampo
Twitter: DocampoValeria
Instagram: @valeriadocampo
 
One lucky winner will receive a copy of A Home Again courtesy of Two Lions (U.S. addresses). Enter the Rafflecopter giveaway!

 

Posted in Uncategorized

A haunting across decades: A Promise Stitched in Time

A Promise Stitched in Time, by Colleen Rowan Kosinski, (Sept. 2018, Schiffer Publishing), $12.99, ISBN: 978-0-7643-5554-7

Ages 10-13

Eighth grader Maggie McConnell is still grieving the loss of her father to cancer. The budding artist is agonizing over a project that will get her into the prestigious Peabody Academy; it was a promise she made to her father and herself. When she discovers a an old coat at her local thrift store, she’s drawn to it and buys it on the spot. Immediately, she begins having hallucinations about starving, burning chimneys, cruel voices and beatings, and terrifying dogs waiting to attack. She sees visions of a girl wearing the coat and reminding her of a promise made to a girl named Gittel. Turning to her friend Taj for help, the two try to unravel the source of the haunting. Meanwhile, Maggie is at odds with her popularity-obsessed sister, Patty, who doesn’t agree with Maggie’s choice in clothing or friends. As Maggie works toward the heart of the mystery, she discovers that Mrs. Berk, an elderly resident at a nursing home where Maggie teaches art, plays a key role.

A Promise Stitched in Time has an interesting main story that gets lost in its attempt to create a paranormal story. Having a coat haunted by a spirit of its former owner – a girl who died at Auschwitz – is an interesting concept on its own. Maggie’s father’s story seems to be more of a plot device that gets in the way, and the story’s resolution felt rushed, overcrowded in an already full narrative. It starts off strong, but ultimately left me wanting more.