When I first heard about the children’s book The Day Leo Said I Hate You by Robie H. Harris, I was intrigued by the story and attracted by the illustrations (by Molly Bang), but I wasn’t sure I wanted to give it to my children because of the title. I know it may seem silly; it’s not that I thought there wouldn’t be a positive message in the book, but – on some level – I assumed my children would take the title as a license to say “I hate you!”
I was completely wrong. I gave the book to my son for his 7th birthday and I read it to him, his siblings and one of their friends the day of his birthday. (A perfect chance to get children’s reaction on a book I’m reviewing, right?) Well, they were mesmerized by the dialogue between Leo and his mother. They silently listened to the book as I read in my perfect storybook voices. When Leo told his mother that he hates her the children’s faces registered shock even though they already knew he was going to say it.
In the end, Leo’s mother explains to him why it was wrong and hurtful to say those words and tells Leo why she loves him anyway. The book ends with the two of them cuddling and laughing at their own list of things they hate and, ultimately, what they really love.
I really enjoyed this book and I’m glad my children did as well. Here are two things I like the most about it: 1) The images of Leo and his mother are ethnic in appearance. Their skin is tan and their hair dark. It looks like they may be Asian, but at least they are more representative of my children and their friends compared to the majority of children’s books on the market. 2) It clearly relays the message with few words and with colorful and engaging illustrations.
Whether you have this concern with your child or not it’s still a good lesson to teach and a great book to read. If you’ve read it, let me know what you think about it. And, if you plan on buying it, would you be so kind as to click my Amazon link below? I get a small commission for purchases. :-) Thanks!
Disclosure: I received a copy of The Day Leo Said I Hate You!* by Robie H. Harris free of charge to facilitate my review. No other compensation was received. Any opinions expressed here are my own. For more information review my complete policy.
*Released new in paperback next month.