“All You Need Is Love” in These Uncertain Times. A Great Message for Young Readers in A Picture Book called “The Invisible String” by Patrice Karst; illustrations by Joanne Lew-Vriethoff
I have just read a picture book whose message was very comforting to me an adult. Its message I have innately felt at some level, but somehow, in the hurley-burley of life, it tended to get lost.
I’m glad I remembered to remember… via a picture book.
And for young readers, I believe its message is an essential one not just to know factually, but to feel viscerally, always in the midst of life’s tumult.
Patrice Karst’s narrative, aided by Joanne Lew-Vriethoff’s warmly executed depiction of the power of love and its accessibility by the tug of an Invisible String is a great book to share with those young readers who may have anxiety separation or just need to know that love is a reality and a force for binding the world of all of us together.
Its opening is a scene that most parents and children can relate to; a thunder storm rumbles outside at night and the lightning flashes and crashes. The kids run into mom’s room. And, she is there alone. Is she a single parent? Is dad traveling? Is she a widow? It doesn’t matter. Mom is the one tasked with calming the kids.
“Don’t worry, you two! It’s just the storm making all that noise. Go back to bed.”
“We want to stay close to you,” said Jeremy.
“You know we’re always together, no matter what.”
And here, mom lets them in on her belief, even though they question:
But, how can we be together when you’re out here and we’re in bed?” said Liza
“I was about your age when my mommy first told me about the Invisible String.”
Mom goes on to explain that “people who love each other are always connected by a very special string made of love.”
And even though “you can’t see it with your eyes, you can feel it with your heart, and know that you are connected to everyone you love.”
When you’re at school and you miss me, your love travels all the way along the string until I feel it tug on my heart.
Jasper the cat seems to have one too, and best friends as well.
It can reach the farthest depths of the ocean, on the tops of mountains, and even in the reaches of space and most importantly, it can even reach to Liza and Jeremy’s uncle in heaven.
Does the String go away when you’re mad at us?
“Never,” said Mom. “Love is stronger than anger, and as long as love is in your heart,
the String will always be there.
What a comforting message for young readers to hear in the midst of the rancor and rage running amok in the country of late.
And, even as young readers get older and can’t agree with parents on what movies to watch, what games to play, what time to go to bed and all the rest of the teenage angst producing divisions between parent and child, if real and true, the String of love continues.
And somehow, deep inside, the children in “The Invisible String” can see, on some level, love is the energy that binds us and that, in some sense we are not alone.
Here are some reviews of the picture book called “The Invisible String” by Patrice Karst with illustrations by Joanne Lew-Vriethoff :
“Delivers a particularly compelling message in today’s uncertain times that though we may be separated from the ones we care for, love is the unending connection that binds us all.”
The American Academy of Pediatrics
Children of all ages (and yes, adults too!) feel a great sense of peace and joy realizing that we are all connected to the ones we love through the Invisible String.”
The National Association of School Psychologists
“A wonderful way of describing that while someone dies, love never dies.”
The Washington Post
Maybe a quote from “The Little Prince” by Antoine de Saint-Exupery said it another way… and best:
“It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.”
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