America, My Love, America, My Heart
By Diondra Brown,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Powerful poem asks the U.S. if it loves all its people.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Readers will be exposed to many poetic metaphors, as well as phrases in Louisiana Creole and Spanish throughout the book. The Author's Note shares important information about the lived experience of Black and brown children in school, especially when it comes to reciting the Pledge of Allegiance.
Embrace your family's cultural background. Accept everyone and love all of yourself. Question things that seem unfair, and advocate for everyone to be treated fairly.
Positive Role Models
America, My Love, America, My Heart offers a positive representation of cultural identity. This poetic examination of whether those who are culturally and ethnically diverse are accepted in the United States inspires developmentally appropriate questions and practicing emotional intelligence. Ilustrations depict a diverse group of children and adults.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that America, My Love, America, My Heart is a poetic examination of the love and respect the United States has for people of color. Written and illustrated by acclaimed author Daria Peoples-Riley (This Is It, I Got Next), it considers the Pledge of Allegiance and the song "America the Beautiful" as the basis for the promise the United States has made to all its citizens. The book lets readers peer inside the hearts of children of color as they experience life in America while trying to balance their thoughts and emotions of feeling different or unaccepted. The story emphasizes questioning things that don't feel right.
Where to Read
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What's the Story?
AMERICA, MY LOVE, AMERICA, MY HEART centers on the question, "America, do you love me?" This lyrical book compares the spirit of the American dream of inclusion with the realities of our world. It's told from the perspective of racially diverse American kids who question if they're truly loved and valued. "Do you love me from the inside out? Do you love me from the outside in?" Written as a poem, the book uses both concrete and abstract concepts to tell the story.
Is It Any Good?
This beautifully created book is a timeless read for all Americans. Author-illustrator Daria Peoples-Riley uses melodic words and exquisite oil paintings to both challenge and inspire readers. The book contrasts the bold color pallette of the blue and red of the American flag with muted grays and white to tell the story and draw emotion from readers. This poetic book serves as a homage to all those who question their place in the United States, and it encourages them to love every part of themselves. It's also a call to action for those who are not aware of the imbalance that exists in our society, based on color and spoken language, and it can spark important conversations about these topics. America, My Love, America, My Heart allows readers to know that they are not alone, and that it's OK to question things as they are in order to create change.
Peoples-Riley takes a vulnerable role with this book, as she shares her own story of feeling different as a child in the Author's Note. She illustrates her journey from questioning her own identity and place in society to fully embracing who she is by including both Spanish and Louisiana Creole phrases in the text to celebrate her heritage.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about how America, My Love, America, My Heart questions and challenges how and why people of different colors are treated differently in America. Have you ever felt treated differently for any reason? What could you do to help others who feel they're treated differently?
The author-illustrator includes words in Spanish and Louisiana Creole throughout the book to honor her family's heritage. Which language(s) do you speak in your family? Would you like to learn a new language?
Do you recite the Pledge of Allegiance in school? What is that experience like for you? Do you think there are children in your class who may feel differently than you do?
- Author: Daria Peoples-Riley
- Illustrator: Daria Peoples-Riley
- Genre: Picture Book
- Topics: Activism
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Greenwillow Books
- Publication date: April 6, 2021
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 4 - 8
- Number of pages: 40
- Available on: Nook, Hardback, Kindle
- Last updated: June 17, 2021
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.
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