In honour of Mother’s Day, I wanted to select a book that hit the mark with kids and their moms alike. With a handful of strong contenders in my lap, including, “My Mommy Hung the Moon” and “I Love my Mommy Because”, I kept going back to the same book. A classic in our home for the captivating illustrations and accompanying CD, “On the Night You Were Born” is this week’s spotlight. Written and illustrated by Nancy Tillman, this heartwarming book gets me teary-eyed every time!
The book reads like a beautiful lullaby that is perfectly suited for a bedtime story. The illustrations are equally beautiful with a whimsy and textured style that draws the reader into each page. I also think the placement of text and illustration is stellar in this book, with the words purposefully on blank white pages and the illustrations boldly on the adjacent pages. As a reader, this helps me deliver each word with meaning, (and without distraction), while my kids are captivated by the story-telling of each full-page illustration.
One of my favourite passages from the book:
"So whenever you doubt just how special you are and you wonder who loves you, how much and how far, listen for geese honking high in the sky. (They're singing a song to remember you by)."
Tillman perfectly describes the insane love you feel on the night your child is born. It’s that “thing” that every parent says they can’t explain. Yet, “On the Day You Were Born” manages to recreate that magic in book format. If I could go back to that terrifying night in labour, I would echo Tillman’s words, “…and the night wind whispered, ‘Life will never be the same’.”
My kids really enjoy the accompanying CD that came with the book. Unlike our frequent dance parties, this melodic audio version calms them and almost stops them in their tracks. They immediately recognize the words, and pay close attention to each verse. It’s almost as if they want to make sure the CD matches mommy’s bedtime story rendition.
“On the Night You Were Born” gets a huge thumbs up from me (and my kids). I dare any parent to read this book and not feel a tug at their heartstrings. As I reflect on this Mother’s Day, I hope my kids know just how much they rock my world. In Tillman’s words, “you are loved."
Tickled little toes,
Tiny scrunched up nose.
Eyes wide open and bright,
Sparkle like the moonlight.
A precious love that grew,
Then multiplied by two.
And it continues to grow and grow,
An everlasting love, this I know.
Blake & Austin, you are so, so, so loved.