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How We Say I Love You

How We Say I Love You by Nicole Chen, illustrated by Lenny Wen

How We Say I Love You tells the story of Hana and how her family shows love to each other without verbally saying it. “My mom stirs her love into a pot of steaming xi fan.” Each spread shows different family members–grandparents, parents, even an expected baby soon to be born–and how they show love. Back matter includes a glossary for Mandarin Chinese & Taiwanese Hokkien words used in the book.

But as a kindergarten teacher, my absolute favorite part was when Hana tells how she shows love to her parents. By doing her best at school so her parents can feel proud! She follows the rules and tries her hardest.

This really spoke to my students, especially one kindergartner who had been having a rough time lately. We discussed that if you don’t follow the rules at school, it breaks your parents’ hearts and your teacher’s heart. After I read the book, he straightened up and was well-behaved so that he could make his parents proud like the girl in this story.

As a follow-up activity, you could have students write about how their families show love to each other. I will also use this book in the fall as part of my “back to school” picture book reads.

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