A book about love – the perfect book for this time of year! The Boy Who Loved Everyone, by Jane Porter, is the story of a young boy, Dimitri, who is a preschooler. Dimitri goes to school and he tells everyone he loves them, but he doesn’t always get the response he expects. Some kids laugh, some run away, and some, like the ants and the trees, simply don’t respond. Dimitri grows sad and quiet, especially after being scolded by an older gentleman on his walk home.
When he tells his mom he doesn’t want to go back to school because “no one loves him” his mom explains that we show love in a lot of other ways than by saying. As they walk to school, she points out a man feeding a stray cat and a friend that smiles and waves and she explains that those are ways we can show love to someone or something.
As he arrives at school. Dimitri sees many acts of love, such as friends inviting him to play and another friend who gives him a big hug. Dimitri realizes that there is, and truly feels, love all around him.
I read this book to a first grade class and, after reading, we talked about what love feels like or means to them. They each got an opportunity to share one way they felt or showed love to a friend or family member. We each decorated hearts with our “Love Is…” response. I have to say, we had some pretty deep answers coming from a group of 6 and 7 year olds!
- Love is a hug from your mom
- Love is when your dog cuddles up on your lap
- Love is when your grandma reads you a special book
- Love is when my big sister helps me with my homework
- Love is when my parents take care of me when I’m sick
- Love is snuggling with my brother on a snow day
The kids all agreed that love is everywhere and there are many ways to show someone you love or care about them. We all left my session with them feeling warm and fuzzy inside!
Besides the positive message in this story, I really love the illustrations. Maisie Paradise Shearring draws characters of a variety of colors and ethnicity on every page, even though the story has nothing to do with race or culture. Even the main character’s name, Dimitri, is not one you hear often. I think it gives kids a wonderful opportunity to see characters that look like them, as well as characters that don’t, in a regular, every day setting. The illustrations truly reflect the makeup of an American classroom and I love everything about it!