Today’s poetry picture book collection brings together two acclaimed talents: Nikki Giovanni and Ashley Bryan.
“I Am Loved” is a collection of some of Nikki Giovanni’s poems paired with illustrations by Ashley Bryan. This combination creates an eclectic anthology that vibrantly sings in both the text and the paintings.
This picture book is full of Nikki’s poems from many different collections, some I’d seen before and others I hadn’t. But even if I’d read the poem before, the illustrations brought them to new life. This is another one of those unions that leaves the reader in awe at the symbiotic relationship.
In fact, I have to laugh. I thought about sharing one of the poems from this book at Valentine’s day this year, but it turns out that I had already shared it a few years ago (just the text of the poem)! It was a poem that I liked more than once (imagine that).
But it isn’t the only poem I liked in the book (again, not a surprise I’m sure). There was one that haunted me as I read the book and I had to go back and read it several times. I was surprised at its inclusion in a picture book (as it was about a “quilt” at the end of her life–I kept asking if that was too dark for young readers), but then I had to keep reminding myself that this is a unique project. And the picture surrounding the text was brilliantly colorful. Perhaps that helped tone down the text? I found it an interesting and beautiful conundrum. I’ll let you decide.