Written By: Marilyn Singer
Illustrated by: Alette Straathof
For Ages: 4-8 years
Topics Covered: Nature, Relationships, LGBTQ, Love, Friendship, Animals.
Summary: This is a ridiculously adorable book about how different creatures on earth show each other they care. In rhyming verse, readers learn all about how different animals show each other they’re interested. Garter snakes huddle, swans hiss, and whales sing. On the other hand, humans prefer to pass notes, dance, and cuddle.
The language on the different pages in the book play off one another, one page being animals and the opposite being people. Although the text is heteronormative, the illustrations do a lovely job of being inclusive to LGBTQ relationships and interracial couples! In the back is more information about the animals mentioned in the book, so the reader can learn more about the mating habits in the animal kingdom.
Ways to Say I Love You is a book that I’ve read and returned to several times already. I love that it teaches about animals, and so importantly has representation of all kinds of love. The reader can trace a specific couple throughout the story, but we are also introduced to a variety of couples from cool rockstars to older couples dancing lovingly. The color palette is so gorgeous, and I can’t wait to share this story!
This book was kindly sent by Quarto, but all opinions are my own!
Winner of the 2015 NCTE Award for Excellence in Poetry, Marilyn Singer was born in the Bronx (New York City) on October 3, 1948 and lived most of her early life in N. Massapequa (Long Island), NY. She attended Queens College, City University of New York, from which she received a B.A. in English, and for her junior year, Reading University, England. She holds an M.A. in Communications from New York University.
In 1974, after teaching English in New York City high schools for several years, she began to write – initially film notes, catalogues, teacher’s guides, and film strips. Then, one day, when she was sitting in the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, she penned a story featuring talking insect characters she’d made up when she was eight. Encouraged by the responses she got, she wrote more stories, and in 1976, her first book, The Dog Who Insisted He Wasn’t, was published by E.P. Dutton & Co.
Since then, Marilyn has published more than one hundred books for children and young adults. Her genres are many and varied, including realistic novels, fantasies, mysteries, short stories, non-fiction, fairy tales, picture books, and poetry. She likes writing many different kinds of books because it’s challenging and it keeps her from getting bored.