With Lots Of Love by Jenny Torres Sanchez
Illustrated by: André Ceolin
Publisher: Viking Books
Summary: A beautiful, lyrical story about a girl who moves from her home in Central America to the United States, and everything she leaves behind and longs for–especially her Abuela–as she makes a new life. Rocio has grown up in Central America, but now she and her family are moving to the United States. Rocio does her best to adjust to a new way of living, but there are many things she misses from her old life–Abuela’s cooking, Abuela’s pinata creations, Abuela’s warm hugs, and of course, Abuela herself most of all. But Abuela finds a way to send Rocio something special just in time for her birthday–a gift wrapped with lots of love–and that fills Rocio to the brim.
My Rating: ★★★★★
My Thoughts: With Lots Of Love is a gorgeous picture book with a quietly emotional story that explores the bond between grandparent & grandchild! With poetic prose, the experiences of homesickness and power of familial love carries with each page. The spectacular illustrations, full of vibrancy and color, beautifully amplify story and its heartfelt themes. Simply put, this is such a beautiful story!
Jenny Torres Sanchez’s picture book explores topics from immigration to the homesickness associated with the experience, in addition to family and specifically the bond between a grandchild and grandparent. However, at its core this is a story about…love!
Rocio has recently moved with her family are adjusting to their new home in the US, however she can’t help but feel somber and sadness in remembering her life from her vibrant community in Central America, with her Tia Rosa, cousins, and more importantly her Abuela.
From piñatas to bunelos, treats & tortillas, Rocio reflects on the beautiful sights, smells plus sounds of her home. Through Ceolin’s masterful illustrations, on some pages Rocio’s memories reflect that of a small toy set where she sits on the floor remembering her Abuela’s store where she sold her delicious fruit pops, pan dulce and other delicious produce. Transitioning throughout her day, Rocio’s memories collide with her current stay at home that reflect the warmth of her former home: from a simple glass jar of candy paralleling the colorful piñatas that her abuela made by hand. These pieces of home beautifully intertwine with the narrative to bring to life these delightful memories that Rocio has.
However, when Rocio’s birthday arrives she gets a wonderful surprise from her Abuela, with mucho amor!
There’s that heartfelt message woven throughout the pages that the love we have for our family can travel vast distances, no matter where we are, which is such a marvelous message for kids who pick up this book (especially if they have relatives who live far away).
As a Latina reader, there was that familiarity through the story that made each page remain all the more special! My heart overflowed with the memories associated with the mention of ‘Las Mañanitas’ for instance, which was surreal to me with how close to home that smallest detail meant to me as I continued reading.
With Lots Of Love is heartfelt not only in its themes, but in the way it celebrates the vibrancy of Latin America, and the love between grandparent & grandchild. With the stand-out illustrations, lyrical storytelling and exceptional underlying messages, this picture book is a must read!