Quote of the Month

When love and skill work together, expect a miracle. John Ruskin

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Here's To You!

Several years ago when I was spending one of her last days with my mom, a hospice caretaker told me no one lives to be ninety-four years old without true grit.  When she was still four years old my mom's father was killed in an accident.  There were several step-fathers.  Mom was only twenty-five years old when her beloved mom died.  After she started dating my father World War II took him away from home for more than a year.  During that time she and other women throughout the United States in a variety of capacities kept this country running.

When she was in her forties mom realized a dream and returned to college completing an associate degree in library science.  She was a rock when my dad suffered through ALS.  They were seventy-six years old, just short of being married for fifty years, when he passed away.  For the last eighteen years of her life she lived alone.  How fortunate for me, I got to experience and learn from her true grit for more than sixty years.

Lessons passed from mothers to daughters are generations strong, decades in the making.  Dear Girl, (Harper, an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers, December 26, 2017) written by the late Amy Krouse Rosenthal and her daughter Paris Rosenthal with illustrations by Holly Hatam cheers for, inspires and advises girls of all ages everywhere.

 Dear Girl,
Keep that arm raised!
You have smart things to say!

In the first of nineteen notes to readers, girls are reminded to not be afraid to speak out when they know the answer in a classroom (or a board room).  I wonder how many times girls have kept quiet rather than face being called a nerd or know-it-all.  Remember girls, you can be frilly and proper or coated from head to toe in mud, but you are still all girl.

You need to develop an appreciation for all those physical traits which make you uniquely you.  You will have days of unbearable sadness and days of incredible bliss.  Embrace them all.

Being curious about and grateful for your world brings greater understanding; never stop asking questions. Look around you using all your senses.  It's a good idea to write down what you thinking.  (Your older self will thank you.)

Being a friend with like-minded people helps you to create long-lasting memories but getting to know other people, different people, builds compassion. Regardless of what anyone says, go with your gut instincts. Always.

Not only do you need to recognize your physical characteristics but hone your individuality by the things you do.  Go forth with bravery.  Holding this book in your hands, girls (and all readers), is your key to confidence.  Someone who loves you, no matter where they are, will constantly support you.  Always.

The words of Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Paris Rosenthal will reach out and reverberate long after the final sentence is read.  Beginning each set of thoughts with Dear Girl, establishes a wonderful, intimate relationship between the authors and the readers.  Many of the sentences are structured concisely like pep talk phrases.  Others start with the word sometimes to depict the duration of the circumstances.  Here is a passage.

Dear Girl,
Sometimes you just need a good cry.
Sometimes you'll 
need a friend.
Sometimes you'll
need to be alone.
Sometimes you'll
need a tissue.
Sometimes you'll need a bucket.

No matter your age there is an indescribable feeling of complete joy when you are flying through the air on a swing.  This is the very thing sure to generate a smile to all who look at the front of the matching dust jacket and book case. The contrast of the green and splashes of shades of red on white only increases this feeling.  To the left, on the back, on a canvas of white, an interior image depicts the girl looking in a mirror and thanking the freckles spread across her face.

A muted red covers the opening and closing endpapers.  On the title page the girl is holding a book titled Dear Girl.  An array of scrolled stems covered in leaves and flowers is coming from the pages.  Birds are resting on those stems.  Another bird is flying toward the D in the title text.

Each page turn has the girl placed in many different and colorful situations courtesy of the charming and playful artwork of Holly Hatam.  They look to be a blend of drawings and realistic pictures careful designed and placed to enhance the text.  White space is used superbly.  The size of the images elevates the pacing; shifting from two pages to multiple images on a single page.

One of my many favorite illustrations spans two pages.  On the left is a bulletin board hanging over a desk.  The girl is cozily seated in a puffy chair reading.  A stack of books and a teddy bear are on the floor in front of her.  To the left her bed is between two lamps, one hanging from the ceiling.  A gauze curtain is draped from the ceiling over the bed.  On the wall hangs a poster of Amelia Earhart with one of her quotes. (Amelia Earhart was my mom's hero.)

You will want to have a copy of Dear Girl, written by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Paris Rosenthal with illustrations by Holly Hatam on your professional and personal bookshelves.  Girls will welcome a copy next to their beds so they can read pages before drifting off to sleep and dreaming of their best selves.  And guys need to read this so support can be offered to their fellow travelers in this life we live on this beautiful planet.

To learn more about Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Holly Hatam and their other work, please follow the links attached to their names to access their websites.  Both Paris Rosenthal and Holly Hatam maintain Instagram accounts.  Here are two links to interviews and broadcasts on Today highlighting Paris Rosenthal carrying on the work of her mother, April 28, 2017 and January 9, 2018.  Please visit StoryCorps for more about Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Paris Rosenthal.  Holly Hatam is showcased at Writing and Illustrating.  I hope you enjoy the book trailer, extra video and excerpt shown below.

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