Love Was Inside

Random House Studio. Dec. 2021. 40p. retold by . Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780593375181.
K-Gr 3–Without mentioning the pandemic, Joyner presents the quintessential book about what we’ll all take away from it. A small girl, who is white, lives in an apartment with her parents, and she is inside. Class is inside (on a computer screen), and her grandmother is inside (from her home, on a video call), and all of life is inside. The girl dreams of the day when the streets will be busy again, when she’ll go have pizza with Nan, and see the throngs of people in the street, but for now, she is inside, where there is love. It’s a simple conceit, and says it all for the many readers who have also been inside; Joyner doesn’t bother with explanations of how we came inside or what it takes to be outside again. It simply expresses, in a positive way and ebullient line drawings, what nesting and being home has meant; the book is ripe for families or classrooms to share and discuss.
VERDICT The pandemic shelf is still lightly populated; here’s a title that presents what’s happening in an upbeat, quietly joyful way.

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