You are Always Loved: A Story of Hope – written by Madeleine Dean & Harry Cunnane, illustrated by Holly Clifton-Brown

  You are Always Loved: A Story of Hope – written by Madeleine Dean & Harry Cunnane, illustrated by Holly Clifton-Brown, Random House, 9780593309247, 2021

Format: Hardcover

Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 5

Genre:  Picture book

What did you like about the book? Charming hand-painted, gouache illustrations cradle a loving story that buoys young readers as it reminds them that they matter, that they must be brave, and that hope surrounds them even when they may not see or feel it. On the surface, this story serves as a perfect complement to a nighttime snuggle, or a read-aloud as part of a lesson on social-emotional regulation and self-advocacy. And, on its merits, it is delightfully on target in this accomplishment. Upon closer inspection, and after reading the authors’ note, one realizes that this story is about so much more – lasting and enduring love and hope in the face of addiction. Madeleine (a congresswoman from Pennsylvania) and her son Harry are sharing their familial experiences of his addiction and recovery. Their hope is that readers will find comfort in this story and that families will begin the important dialogue and difficult conversations about how to manage fear, emotions, and uncertainty in healthy and adaptive ways. Whether one reads this story simply for the pleasure and connected experience or for deeper meaning and discussion, it is a gem worth revisiting over and over again.

Anything you didn’t like about it? No

To whom would you recommend this book? Those affected by addiction in their families and who are looking for developmentally appropriate texts for children. Also, those who wish to begin the conversations referenced by the author will want to purchase this book. Also, it makes a lovely read-aloud on the basis of the simplicity of the story just as it is.

Who should buy this book? Social workers and psychologists, homeless shelters, family addiction programs, elementary and public libaries

Where would you shelve it? Picture books or family support collection

Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? Yes!

Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City and State: Linda Broderick, Lincoln Street Elementary School, Northboro, MA

Date of review: 3/23/2021

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