You Are My I Love You

The bestselling You Are My I Love You series has sold over a million copies, and been published in six languages.

“I am your parent; you are my child.
I am your quiet place; you are my wild. . . .”

A day in the life of parent and child-full of smiles and giggles, messes and meals, boundless energy and well-earned naps. Not to mention lots of love.

~ Illustrated by Satomi Ichikawa



 Origin of the Story – In the Author’s Words

I was driving in to teach at Catholic University one morning in 1998, half awake, and I couldn’t listen to one more minute of the news. I clicked off the radio and was thinking about the beautiful kids I do volunteer work with at the Sursum Corda housing projects in Washington, D.C. They are raised mostly by single moms or grandmothers and aunts. The parents feel bad that they can’t afford trendy sneakers or video games for their kids, but what their kids really want is their time. The same was true for the upper-income children I served as a childcare provider, when I was working my way through school, who were starved for their busy parents’ time and attention. All these kids lit up whenever we did the simple things — walking outside, reading, baking.

As I was thinking all this, on autopilot through Washington traffic, there appeared this lovely verse in my head: ‘I am your parent; you are my child. I am your quiet place, you are my wild.’ I got to the university parking lot and stayed in my car scribbling against the car dashboard. Students gave me odd looks streaming past on their way to class, but I wanted to capture the magic song that was playing in my head about the ying/yang of the adult-child relationship, the parent providing stability and constant love, the child bringing mischief and wonder.

I was thrilled when Penguin/Putnam/Philomel published it, and Satomi Ichikawa illustrated it with her beautiful watercolors.  I continue to be amazed and humbled by how the book has taken on a life of its own.  I could never have imagined the ways readers have embraced the book, using it at weddings, at funerals, in hospital neonatal centers, for military families and others separated by distance, for college Parent weekends, for parenting classes, for teaching English, for homilies, for professional development seminars for teachers, for early childhood literacy campaigns, and for teaching poetry.  The book has been published in English, Japanese, French, German, Korean, and the bilingual Spanish-English board book edition will appear in the Spring of 2013.

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Literary Reviews:

Kirkus Reviews

Newcomer Cusimano’s tale is a celebration of the transcendent, loving bonds that exist between a parent and child. In melodic couplets, a father croons a tender lullaby to his child, describing their mutual adoration. Alternately sentimental and comical, the verses focus on the minutiae of a child’s daily life: silly games, carrot stick snacks and chocolate desserts, and bedtime stories. The lyrical verses capture the yin and yang of the parent/child relationship; the parent’s role provides the security a child craves while the child’s part illuminates the joyous freedom that comes from that sense of sanctuary. Cusimano subtly conveys a powerful message about the intimate connection between these two roles; for every way in which the beloved child is the epicenter of the parent’s universe, the parent in turn is the steadfast mooring of the child’s world. “I am your water wings; / you are my deep. / I am your open arms; / you are my running leap.” While the introspective verses are more reflective of an adult’s sensibilities, the depth of the emotion expressed will resonate with young readers. Ichikawa’s soft pastel watercolors complement the heart-felt verses. Her beguiling artwork features an animated pair of stuffed teddy bears frolicking about, with the little bear’s antics perfectly portraying the exuberance and reckless joie de vivre that is part and parcel of a happy, well-loved tot’s existence. Warmly reassuring, this tale is ideal for sharing with loved ones, big or small. (Picture book. 3-7)

Children’s Literature
Parents and children often struggle with one another and this precious book is a subtle reminder that we are meant to balance each other daily. With lines like “I am your way home; you are my new path. I am your dry towel; you are my wet bath” readers are encouraged to see things from another’s point of view. The rhyming text is soothing and thought-provoking. Ms. Ichikawa’s soft, fluid watercolors add life to the text and make this book all the more endearing. This is a wonderful book to share with children and it would be a wonderful gift book, sure to be treasured by all. Highly recommended.
Reviewer: Trina Heidt

From School Library Journal
The rhythmic and lyrical text of this beautifully illustrated picture book explores the special connections between a parent and child. The opening pages show an adult teddy bear curled up with a baby bear: “I am your parent;/you are my child./I am your quiet place;/you are my wild.” The verses that follow describe the activities of a busy day. While they play outside, the grown-up explains, “I am your water wings;/you are my deep./I am your open arms;/you are my running leap.” After a bath, dinner, and a favorite story, the poem ends with a quiet moment: “I am your lullaby;/you are my peekaboo./I am your good-night kiss;/you are my/I love you.” The soft watercolor illustrations bring the spirit behind the text to light. The joy and movement of running, spinning, splashing, and hugging are all captured in a warm and lighthearted manner, and the baby bear’s small toy animals often join in the fun and games. An appealing choice for bedtime sharing.
-Genevieve Ceraldi, New York Public Library
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

In the tradition of Margaret Wise Brown’s Little Bunny, this book celebrates mother-child love and offers reassurances about a mother’s watchful presence when her child begins to explore. Two teddy bears, mother and baby, play outdoors, with an assemblage of tiny stuffed animals looking on. On each double-page spread, a statement juxtaposes images of comfort and security with those of exploration and risk-taking: “I am your calm place; / you are my giggle”; “I am your open arms; / You are my running leap.” After a full day of play, it’s bedtime: “I am your good-night kiss; / you are my / I love you.” The gentle watercolors sweetly capture the loving mother and child and the fun they are having. Thought provoking as well as delightful, this is a good choice for reading aloud. Ages 3-7.
Connie Fletcher
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