Love Grows Everywhere

Illustrated by Tisha Lee

“Love grows everywhere… / from country farm to city square. / From desert village, hot and dry, / to mountain home where eagles fly.”

Love Grows Everywhere introduces readers to a green-thumbed family who experience various expressions of love, from kisses with Dad, harvesting or cooking, to acts of generosity from neighbors and playful moments with friends. The book opens with a bird’s eye view of several environments—city, town, farm, desert, forest, river, and mountains—that emphasize how love can flourish in different settings. The textual narrative is a poem that depicts the transformative nature of love: how it can lift hearts and minds in different forms. The openings that follow amplify the poem’s message. Illustrations of plants and nature thriving in different locations and environments act as a metaphor for human growth and community interconnectedness. Using catchy rhymes and images of plants and nature, Love Grows Everywhere highlights the importance of thought and care in nurturing. Multiple illustrations of family, friends, and community coming together encourage readers to extend love beyond familiar faces and to reach out to neighbors, friends, and those in need. “Love lifts hearts and minds… and comes in many different kinds. The kind that grows in peace and shade. The kind too bright to ever fade.” The story suggests that love can endure any hardships and grows even stronger when we show that we care. “A kind of magic happens then / and love begins to grow again.”

Love Grows Everywhere is a catalyst for meaningful conversations about love and climate literacy. It depicts the transformative nature of love and employs love as a metaphor for nature. Drawing multiple parallels between people and plants, the story communicates that human and nonhuman ecosystems are interconnected, dynamic, and need care to flourish (see People care, Systems care, Earth care, interconnectedness, web of life). The vivid descriptions of diverse settings, from country farms to city squares and mountain homes, create a strong connection between love and nature, providing a foundation for discussions on environmental stewardship and collective action. The metaphor of tiny seeds growing into something beautiful helps convey the idea that individual action, no matter how small, can lead to positive change. The book’s emphasis on love extending to neighbors, friends, and those in need provides a natural segue to discussions on collective action and Earth stewardship. For example, episodes when a diverse community interacts at a farmer’s market, in schools, and in other communal spaces helps link human diversity with nature’s biodiversity as a necessary condition for flourishing. Through episodes when people help those in need or hug others, children can be inspired to think about their community and participate in collective actions, such as community clean-ups or tree planting, as expressions of love for the Earth (see Earth care). The importance of resource conservation is reinforced by discussing charitable donations. This message becomes a springboard for discussions on reducing, reusing, and recycling as practical ways to show love for the planet and your community, emphasizing the significance of minimizing waste and protecting natural resources through sustainability (see People care, Systems care). The notions of nature’s abundance and honorable harvest are amplified by statements about love as not just growing everywhere but being “Enough for all. A gift to share / Budding, branching, leaves unfurled, / love will make a brighter world.” The various settings mentioned in the book, including desert villages, urban environments, and mountain homes, offer opportunities to teach children about biodiversity and the importance of preserving ecosystems in the wilderness. The idea of love reaching out to different places can be paralleled with the need to protect diverse habitats and contribute to a healthier planet (see planetary health).

Although climate change is not mentioned, the challenges such as times of hardship or gray skies, may serve as metaphors for climate change impacts, prompting discussions on climate resilience or climate emotions. However, educators should be mindful that while the environmentalist messaging of the book is implicit, younger readers may require significant guidance to make connections between the metaphorical themes and real-world climate issues. In all these ways the narrative fosters an understanding that the well-being of the planet is interconnected with the well-being of all living beings. Pairing the book with hands-on activities, such as planting seeds or creating recycled crafts, enhances the educational experience and reinforces the messages of the story. These activities not only make the concepts tangible but also empower children to take positive actions in their daily lives. Ultimately, Love Grows Everywhere encourages reflection on how each child can contribute to a more sustainable and love-filled world through their choices and actions.

©2024 ClimateLit (Afton Northrup

Publisher: Quarto Publishing, 2021

Pages: 29

ISBN: 978-0-7112-6422-9

Audience: Little People (4-7), Sprouts (0-3)

Format: Picturebooks

Topics: Biodiversity, Clean-up Operations, Climate Change, Climate Literacy, Collective Action, Earth Care, Earth Stewardship, Ecosystems, Habitats, Honorable Harvest, Individual Action, Interconnectedness, Natural Resources, Nature, Nature’s Abundance, People Care, Planetary Health, Recycling, Resilience, Resource Conservation, Reuse, Sustainability, Systems Care, Urban Environments, Waste Reduction, Web of Life, Wilderness, Zero Waste