Christmas is a great excuse to buy Max more books. Not that we really need an excuse, but we feel more comfortable splurging on special occasions. And, since we took a trip over the holidays, we also got new souvenir books for Max! So our little Squishy library has a bunch of new additions.
1. Under the Love Umbrella
Divina Bell’s Under the Love Umbrella (illustrated by Allison Calpoys) was a Christmas gift Max received from his Ninongs Darm and Ram (THANK YOU! ❤️). It’s a beautiful book about a parent’s unconditional love for their child. It also has themes of equality and inclusion.
Char: I love that we have this book in our library. I love how real the kids are in the book—they have bad days and that’s OK. I like how it honors their experiences and their perspective. Sometimes, it may not seem like a big deal for us, but it is for our kids and that’s when they need to be reassured of our love the most. So when we read this book, it’s not just for Max to know how much we love him, but it helps me remember the kind of love I want to be able to give him. Oh! AND THE ART! It’s so vibrant and beautiful.
Mikey: Darm and Ram said that they got us that book for Christmas because they were sure that I would cry when I read it. They were right—I cried in their presence because they asked me to open their Christmas present immediately.
I also cried the second time I read it. Maybe even the third.
Max: Super Wings! Mama? Mama? Super Wings! Brralala. [Brralala = Umbrella]
2. Lost and Found
Lost and Found is Oliver Jeffers’ second book. This was one of our Christmas gifts for Max. It’s about a boy who meets a penguin and tries to help him find his way back home. It’s a heart warming story about friendship and altruism.
Char: Lost and Found was one of my favorite books as a pre-school teacher. The first time I read it, I cried buckets of tears. I knew right then and there that if I ever had a kid, this book would be a part of his/her library.
I love how the little boy in this book captures the helpful heart kids naturally have. The way the friendship between the boy and the penguin developed is magical. And I really hope that Max will have an open heart and mind to be able to experience and recognize all the magic that this world has to offer. It also gets a billion bonus points because the little boy in the book kind of looks like Squish. ❤️
Mikey: One of the things I’m most proud of about Max is how in touch with his feelings he seems to be. He appears to empathise with characters in his books and in movies he watches, crying quietly when, say, Simba tries to resuscitate Mufasa, or when Mister Fredrickson yells at Russell to go away, or when Bert can’t find his bottle caps.
So this book—which spends a few pages on the parting of friends, on acheyness caused by misunderstanding, and just plain old loneliness—is right up our wheelhouse. Or my wheelhouse. Life can hurt sometimes, Max, but also, things tend to work out too. I love that this book helps us impart that to him.
Max: Super Wings? Super Wings! That Super Wings. That Monkey. Penguin! Bye bye!
3. My Hong Kong Numbers
I found My Hong Kong Numbers by Sarah and Luke Garner while Mikey was geeking out at an Apple Store in Hong Kong. Whenever we travel, we like bringing home book as a family souvenir. It’s a counting book set in Hong Kong. It has the numbers in English on one side and the numbers in Mandarin on the other side.
Char: When I saw this book, I knew it was going to be our Hong Kong book for sure. The scenes in the book are so perfect because they’re so recognizable. And it’s perfect timing because Max is in a counting phase. To this day, Max recognizes some of the pages in the book. On the page with the taxis, he’ll say: “Max ride that with Lala and Lolo Benjie and Mama and Papa.” I also love that there are Chinese numbers on one side. There isn’t a lot about my culture that I think I’ll be able to pass on to Max, so I’m glad to have little helpful things like this book.
Mikey: Uh. The art is nice? And it reminds Max of our Hong Kong trip?
Max: Hong Hong Numbers, yes, taxi!
Someone decided to jump into my photo shoot. He said, “Mama, Maxie smile!” ❤️
We’ve officially reached the one-book-more at bedtime phase. It’s hilarious because every time we finish a book, Max will shout “again!” and run off to get another book. In the morning, I end up picking up a dozen books and putting them back on the shelf. My nerdy heart is filled with joy, but Mikey’s sleepy heart isn’t as thrilled. ❤️