You Are My Miracle: Celebrating Simplicity this Christmas
Nothing beats the magic of time spent between parent and child, and perhaps no time is more magical than Christmas. You Are My Miracle, by Dr. Maryann Cusimano Love, is a children’s story that celebrates the everyday miracles of Christmas. While Christmas today can get lost in an avalanche of materialism, You Are My Miracle highlights the simple joys of family life, from reading together to tree trimming and carols. Booklist’s Connie Fletcher of The American Library Association describes Love’s work as “Thought provoking as well as delightful.” School Library Journal says it is “Rhythmic and lyrical…an appealing choice for bedtime sharing.” Children’s Literature says it is “sure to be treasured by all. Highly recommended.” Kirkus says “Newcomer Cusimano’s tale is a celebration of the transcendent, loving bonds that exist between a parent and child. In melodic couplets… Cusimano subtly conveys a powerful message about the intimate connection between these two… Warmly reassuring, this tale is ideal for sharing with loved ones, big or small.”
Dr. Love’s children’s books You Are My I Love You and now You Are My Miracle were inspired through her work with children in the PeaceKids program of the Sursum Corda housing projects in Washington, DC, blocks from the U.S. Capitol. “One in six children in America lives in poverty, raised often by single parents, who are short on time and money. The parents feel badly that they cannot afford Christmas gifts or the latest sneaker or video game for their kids, but what their kids really want is their time. The same was true for the upper income children I work with. To earn my way through school, I worked as a clown, story-teller, singer, puppeteer, and child caregiver, and I found kids all over were starved for their busy parents’ time and attention. All these children lit up whenever we spent time doing the simple things, walking outside, reading, baking. I wanted to capture the magic of simple time spent together in my books, the ying/ yang of the adult/ child relationship, the parent providing stability and constant love, the child bringing mischief and wonder,” said Love.
The books’ success has been a Cinderella story. Maryann earned her PhD in International Relations from Johns Hopkins University, and is a tenured professor of international politics at Catholic University in Washington, DC. She serves on the Board of Jesuit Refugee Services, and advises the U.S. Catholic Bishops and the Council on Foreign Relations, as well as government officials, on globalization and U.S. Foreign Policy. She teaches diplomats and military officers at the Pentagon, makes media appearances on CNN International, and has published numerous articles and books in her field including Beyond Sovereignty: Issues for a Global Agenda. But she was a newcomer to the children’s book world when she sent in You Are My I Love You to the unsolicited/ unagented manuscript “slush pile” at Penguin/Putnam/Philomel. Miraculously, the book was selected for publication, and became an international best seller with a half million copies sold, published in English, French, German, Japanese, and Korean.
Maryann Cusimano Love and illustrator Satomi Ichikawa have now paired up once again to create You Are My Miracle. “The success of the first book was overwhelming and we’re expecting similar results from this equally touching offering. Within the first week of its release, the book was licensed for publication in Japanese and Korean and more foreign language printings are expected,” said Editor Michael Green, Vice President of Philomel Books of the Penguin Young Readers Group`.
The books have taken on a life of their own. They are used for literacy programs, parenting classes, poetry classes, teacher training programs, children’s liturgies, as new parent and new baby gifts, and by parents separated from their children by military service. The National Institutes of Health’s Children’s Inn has used the books to console the families of critically ill children, and many schools have used the books in writing exercises for minority students.
Maryann lives on the Chesapeake Bay with her husband, Richard Love, and their daughter Maria, and finds consolation in children’s writing. “While there are some bright spots in international affairs, there is a lot of bad news to deliver. Thirty thousand children a day die from hunger and disease. It can wear you out. Children’s writing helps restore the balance, and reminds me of the hope and wonder in life. I also occasionally get to write a story with a happy ending.”
Publisher: Katrina Weidknecht, Director of Publicity
Penguin Young Readers Group
345 Hudson Street
New York, NY 10014-9605
Dr. Maryann Cusimano Love