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

Friday 6 January 2023

Review: Letters to Live By

Gotta love an alphabet book. They are ever such fun, and it's even lovelier to find one that sits outside the square and is clever in so many ways, it entices both adults and children in equal measure.

'An alphabet book with intention', Letters to Live By features a range of vibrant children from around the world, engaging with each other, caring for animals, sharing emotions, discussing differences, giving, learning, offering, embracing good things, resisting not so good things, and honing that desperately underrated gift - being kind.

Each page features just two or three [mostly alliterative] words, making it perfect for early childhood, and kids learning to read. 

I love the balance in the text - meandering from art to bravery, through forgiveness and justice - and providing the opportunity for readers of all walks of life to find themselves (or their children) in word or image.

Åsa Gilland's superb illustrations are drenched with colour, pattern, movement and character. Each page is so thoughtfully constructed, and her children are vibrant and thoughtful, sassy and sweet - each one earning their place in this inspiring text. I simply adore her focus on diversity - cultural, ethnicity, size, physical ability - and I will happily admit, there are no better-dressed characters than Åsa's kids!

Letters to Live By is meaningful without being twee or didactic, and is a fine way to inspire children to seize life and be their very best selves. This is a warm, active and uplifting picture book... and it will now sit alongside my most favourite ABC books for kids.

Title: Letters to Live By
Author: Lisa Frenkel Riddiough
Illustrator: Åsa Gilland
Publisher: Running Press Kids, $24.99
Publication Date: 31 May 2022
Format: Hardcover
ISBN: 9780762473083
For ages: 0+
Type: Picture Book