'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Monday 17 October 2022

Review: 11 Words for Love

You've heard the word love, but how do you explain it?

In the Arabic language there are more than 50 words for love (al-Hob). This picture book focuses on eleven of them and what they mean.

Author Randa Abdel-Fattah and illustrator Maxine Beneba Clarke share this from the perspective of a child whose family, although not really explicitly stated in words, leaves their homeland for a new one. It's there in the pictures and the emotions expressed.

They make a new life and new memories, experiencing love in many of its forms. Love for family, or which grows between new friends. Love for neighbours. Love for home. Also sudden, romantic love, love for siblings, and for the loved ones who are no longer with us.

The illustrations in 11 Words for Love are full of colour, texture and movement. A suitcase and photographs are recurring images, along with symbols of love. And each expressed example is accompanied by both words and the Arabic script.

The text makes use of rhythm and rhyme as it encourages readers to consider all the ways we experience love.

As the story’s narrator repeats throughout the book, ‘There are eleven words for love, and my family knows them all’. How many will you recognise and how many more kinds of love can you name?

11 Words for Love is a happy, hopeful book, perfect for family and intergenerational sharing.

Teacher’s notes are available to download from the publisher’s website.

Title: 11 Words for Love
Author: Randa Abdel-Fattah
Illustrator: Maxine Beneba Clarke
Publisher: Lothian, $24.99
Publication Date: 28 September 2022
Format: Hardcover
ISBN: 9780734421203
For ages: 4+
Type: Picture Books