Contours of Love Early Readers Features Genre It's Monday What Are You Reading Lifespan of a Reader Picture Books Reading Themes

[Monday Reading] A LOVE-filled 2018: Launch of Jan-Mar Reading Theme

Happy New Year!


It's Monday! What Are You Reading

Myra here.

It’s Monday, What are You Reading is a meme hosted by Jen from Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing Readers (new host of Monday reading: Kathryn T at Book Date). Since two of our friends, Linda from Teacher Dance and Tara from A Teaching Life have been joining this meme for quite awhile now, we thought of joining this warm and inviting community.

It is 2018! Another year has passed. I am sure every one is busy crafting their reading resolutions, planning what their reading will look like for the year, and joining a number of reading challenges. We are hosting the Literary Voyage Around the World 2018 Reading Challengeso please do consider traveling the world with us in books. I have joined quite a few challenges on Litsy, and will probably post about those soonest.

We have also posted our Jan-March linky – and you can share as many titles as you wish, even if they come from the same country. More details to be found in the link above.

We have also launched our Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) Bookshelf – which continues to be a work in progress because it is a massive project that will evolve as more books find us.

At the moment, there are already over 500 multicultural/ international picturebook titles that deal with self awareness (self and family, identity, spirituality, self-efficacy) and self management (overcoming fears, dealing with loss and grief, persistence and pursuit of dreams, creativity and imagination) for you all to enjoy. I am not even halfway through! I hope to add more pages across the three remaining SEL competencies (i.e. social awareness, relationship management, and responsible decision making) throughout the year.

January – March Reading Theme

As per usual, we are doing our usual reading themes – this time, we have decided to make it quarterly, instead of our regular bimonthly theme. We are hoping it would allow us greater immersion with some of the books related to the theme and give us more time to hunt down relevant titles. For January to March, we are looking for love-related themes in literature, or books that deal with:

  1. All kinds, forms, and types of love (love among friends, love of nation, love for one’s craft/discipline, parental love, etc)
  2. Valentine-themed, wedding-themed stories
  3. Love, romance, infidelities, unrequited love, quantum metaphysical entanglements
  4. Puppy Love, Infatuation, marriage and separation
  5. First loves, true loves, false loves, it’s complicated types of relationships

To kick off our theme, I have two lovely picturebooks that deal with love. We also welcome suggestions/recommendations from you if you know of any titles.


Written and Illustrated By: Birgitta Sif
Published by: Candlewick Press, 2012
ISBN: 076366247X  (ISBN13: 9780763662479) Borrowed from Jurong West Public Library. Book photos taken by me.

Oliver is not your ordinary boy. He enjoys his solitude, playing with his stuffed creatures, visiting the library, and reading his books.

It was perhaps the image of Oliver surrounded by books and hunting down books in the library (with the help of a staircase and a flashlight at that) which made me gravitate quite naturally towards this self-possessed young boy.

While pretty much comfortable with his own company and that of his stuffed animals, he also sometimes longs for something different. And so, when his lost tennis ball led him someplace different, to someone who has actually always been there in his surroundings, largely unnoticed, and enjoys pretty much the same things he does, it is not the end of the story, but the beginning of another:

This book gave me a Tim-Burton-esque vibe, sweet but not in a saccharine way. The colours evoke a haunting feel alongside a strong sense of place that is somewhat different yet remaining distinctly familiar, somewhere in the shadowy corners of our beings. Beautiful. Find this one.

Herman And Rosie

Written and Illustrated By: Gus Gordon
Published by: Penguin Books Australia, 2012
ISBN: 0670076031 (ISBN13: 9780670076031). Borrowed from Jurong West Public Library. Book photos taken by me.

So I read this book in 2015 and fell in love with it. For some reason, though, we didn’t have a chance to feature it here. Maybe it’s waiting for 2018. Again, I am a firm believer that books find us at the perfect time, and maybe find us again in another chance encounter, always with an astute sense of timing.

Herman and Rosie live next door to each other – both of them leading single and solitary lives. They each have their own quirks and strangenesses: wild boysenberry yogurt for Herman, and toffees that stuck to her teeth for Rosie; yet they share the same fascination with Cousteau and the ocean – and music, the type that fills one’s soul with ache, longing, and beauty.

There is a vintage sense to this picturebook that evokes a sense of nostalgia; made even more acute when both our main characters lost their jobs, which bring them both some sense of satisfaction, a way to fill a certain void in their lives.

As a reader, I feel like a voyeur seeing the characters go about their lives, almost parallel to each other. It also has a cinematic quality to it, that makes me want to cry out while reading: “please turn the other way,” or “say hello to each other, now!” – with the certainty that their lives would change drastically with their finding each other. Whether or not that happens, indeed, I shall leave for you to discover.

For other picturebooks that deal with romantic love, do check out these other titles we have reviewed here previously. Click on the image to be taken to the Book Depository link and the titles for our reviews.

Henry In Love by Peter McCarty.

The Owl And The Pussycat by Edward Lear and Illustrated by Stephane Jorisch.

Here Comes The Bride by Beatrice Masini and Illustrated by Anna Laura Cantone.

Little Love Story by Fernando Krahn.

The Day I Became A Bird by Ingrid Chabbert and Illustrated by Raul Nieto Guridi.

If you know of any other titles that deal with romantic love in picturebooks, we’d be happy to know more about them! Welcome the New Year with Love Love Love!

#LitWorld2018GB Update: 2 of 40 (Iceland – Birgitta Sif, Australia – Gus Gordon)

Free Delivery on all Books at the Book Depository

13 comments on “[Monday Reading] A LOVE-filled 2018: Launch of Jan-Mar Reading Theme

  1. Love is a great theme to start the new year with. Have a very Happy New Year!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Yes, love is perfect ~ especially with Valentine’s Day on the horizon! I love reading books from different countries!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. lindabaie

    I love Herman & Rosie, will have to find it again, Myra. Thanks also for featuring Oliver, looks good! Picture book love? Surely I can think of one. How about McDonnell’s South, about friends helping friends? I love the story. Happy New Year!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Since discovering your blog, I’ve found that picture books represent this whole other world that I really like stepping into. Herman and Rosie looks gorgeous and I really hope that one day they made an impact on each other’s lived.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I need to know what happens with Herman and Rosie! Sounds like a great book!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Oh! I *love* the *love* theme idea. Sweet beginning to the New Year. THank you for sharing these *love*ly picture books.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Henry in Love is so adorable. A few more love-themed picture books: The Dot and the Line: A Romance in Lower Mathematics by Norton Juster; Snowy Valentine by David Petersen; XO, Ox by Adam Rex and Scott Campbell; Slugs in Love by Susan Pearson; Madame Eiffel: The Love Story of the Eiffel Tower by Alice Brière-Haquet and Csil; and Bear in Love by Daniel Pinkwater. Happy new year and happy reading!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I should give The Day I Became a Bird a chance. It’s been calling me.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I am so excited to join in your literary voyage around the world, and hopefully discover some amazing new-to-me books! Wishing you all a very happy new year, and thank you for all the hard work you put into Gathering Books, it’s such a valuable resource!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. The Frog and Toad stories would fit this theme. Happy New Year. Come see what I’m reading.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Herman and Rosie looks adorable. I just put it on hold at the library.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Oh, this book looks so cute! I am going to look through my books to see if I can recommend one for this category.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Pingback: [DiverseKidLit] Little Girls From Iceland and Israel in Picturebooks – Gathering Books

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: