A fresh celebration of love based on the African-American experience. The 22 selections run the gamut of all types of affection, from teenaged crushes to the feelings between siblings and the bonds between children and their parents. Bittersweet poems describe relationships between elderly relatives, as “Uncle Willis” looks after his sickly wife and a gray-haired couple enjoy a memory-filled moment: “The graying sweethearts/Young once more/Whirl and dance/Across the floor.” There is even a poem about the love Medgar Evers shared with his wife. All of the poetry is simple, written with everyday language in a straightforward style that needs no analysis or search for symbolism. Many of the poems are free verse and have a first-person narrator. Grimes has expressed a wide range of emotions in this collection, and each poem validates the importance of love in that situation. Rosales’s warm illustrations, rendered in pastel pencils on acrylic-and-oil paints, reflect the mood of each selection. Some of the paintings are framed like cameos, adding to the intimacy of the words. Red-heart accents near the page numbers and red titles on cream paper complete the look. This small treasury will lift readers’ spirits and touch their hearts.
Nikki Grimes began penning poetry at the age of six. Her many award-winning titles include the picture books Talkin’ About Bessie: The Story of Aviator Elizabeth Coleman, which won the Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award and a Coretta Scott King Author Honor, and Meet Danitra Brown, which won a Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor. Coretta Scott King Author Honors went to her novels The Road to Paris, Jazmin’s Notebook, and Dark Sons, and her novel Bronx Masquerade won the Coretta Scott King Author Award. She lives in Corona, California.