America, My Love, America, My Heart

HarperCollins/Harper. Apr. 2021. 40p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780062993298.
Gr 2-4–The endpapers of this book depict the red, white, and blue American flag with the Pledge of Allegiance written in its stripes as if they are lines of wide-ruled paper. This flag, as the Pledge states, stands for “liberty and justice for all.” But does it really provide those things to all its citizens? Throughout the pages of this book, various Black children ask the flag—and, by extension, the nation itself—do you love me back? It becomes a powerful refrain. Louisiana Creole words are mixed in with Spanish and English. Like most of the pictures in this book, the people are colored with shades of gray, but they have a variety of natural hairstyles, braids, and beautiful hats. Besides gray, the only other colors that appear are red, white, and blue. Shirts and blouses are white, the sky is a pale blue, church walls are a vibrant red. The patriotic symbolism is evident, but because color is used so sparingly, and the narrative arc so muted, the sequencing can start to lag. This book interrogates the concept of a nation that asks for unconditional love, respect, and honor but does not provide them to all its people, equally, in return. Back matter includes the author’s mission statement, the history of Louisiana Creole, and pictures of the author with her family.
VERDICT A book that encourages children to ask questions, this is a solid selection for all Americans.
Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing