Tuesday, September 06, 2016
All We Know
Mothers know a lot. So do lambs and bears and dogs and cats, and birds as they wheel overhead, and trees as they shed their leaves.
In All We Know, Linda Ashman's prayer-like prose and Jane Dyer's lush illustrations move us around the year, from season to season, with language that echoes the depth of nature's wisdom and the gift that comes from being with a child. This is a picture book for nap time, for bedtime, for soft visits with little ones. It's a lesson in the competence of the living world to do what it must to grow and live. Rhyming text makes the story capable of being put to a tune, and the beauty of color and light enchants every moment.
What really moved my heart was the last few pages, when Dyer's image of a pregnant woman standing by a moonlit window reminded me that a child teaches his or her mother to love from the inside out. Despite the fact that the days and seasons change, and the child grows, the mother says
"I know how to love you. No one taught me, I just knew."
It's hard to be a parent. It takes determination and patience along with the joy that springs up when you see your baby learning about the world, glorying in discovery, as if he is the first human who ever noticed a flower or picked a green bean.This book reminds us to see our children and the earth with simplicity and love. I hope the parents of our grandboys find it in their libraries.
Other newly published books that enchant and engender warmth in relationships with babies include Laura Krauss Melmed's beautiful Before We Met, and Our Love Grows, by Anna Pignataro.
Kathleen Fogarty is the Youth and Family Services Librarian at Princess Anne Library.