cover image The Boy Who Loved Everyone

The Boy Who Loved Everyone

Jane Porter, illus. by Maisie Paradise Shearring. Candlewick, $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-5362-1123-8

Dimitri, who has dark hair and light tan skin, spends his first day at a new preschool telling everyone and everything “I love you.” He professes devotion to classmates, a large tree, Berthe the lunch lady—even “to the guinea pig and to the paintbrushes, who didn’t seem to mind.” But when no one returns his explicit declarations, Dimitri informs his mother, who has dark skin and short black natural hair, that he doesn’t want to return to school the next morning. Mom imparts a lesson: “When you tell people you love them,” she says, “even if they don’t say it back or show it, they feel it. That’s just the way love is.” Pointing out how an elderly man shows love by feeding stray cats, Mom encourages Dimitri to preserve his tenderness—advice that serves him well as he embarks on another day at school. Shearring’s mixed-media illustrations present simple yet vibrantly patterned spreads, with people of various skin tones and hair textures populating Dimitri’s world. A gentle, resonant narrative for children navigating new social-emotional spaces. Ages 3–7. (Jan.)