It’s Book Birthday time again,
and this week we are celebrating Lindsay Bonilla‘s picture book,
I LOVE YOU WITH ALL OF MY HEARTS (Illus. Eleonora Pace/ Creative Editions).
“Animals come in many shapes and sizes-some have large ears, others have distinctive noses, and still others have far too many eyes! They express emotions in different ways, too, but one thing remains the same: love.”
Let the Questions begin!
Q 1. What was the inspiration for I LOVE YOU WITH ALL OF MY HEARTS?
Lindsay Bonilla: It actually came from something super silly I used to do with my oldest son when he was about 3 years old. I’d tell him, “I love you with all of my ears,” then I’d rub my ear on the top of his head. Or “I love you with all of my toes,” and I’d tickle him with my toes. I was always adding different parts – elbow, nose, etc. – but whatever I said, it always made him laugh hysterically! At the same time, it conveyed a deeper truth – that he was loved 100%.
Q 2. They say each of our books are a tiny bit autobiographical. Which of the animals in I LOVE YOU WITH ALL OF MY HEARTS is most like you?
Lindsay Bonilla: Probably the kangaroo! I’m very energetic and always hopping from one thing to the next. I’m also a pretty protective mama who usually has a kid hanging on me! LOL So I definitely relate to the marsupial side of the kangaroo. Interestingly enough, some years back I asked two people who know me well which animal they thought I was most like and independently of each other, they both came up with the kangaroo!
Picture Book LOVE
Q 3. What message or emotions do you hope young readers will take away after reading your book?
Lindsay Bonilla: I hope young readers will come away with the feeling that they are deeply loved. Knowing that you have the unconditional love of someone, that you don’t have to measure up or earn that love, gives you such a firm foundation. I was blessed to grow up with that, and that unconditional love is what I feel for my sons. I wrote this story because I just didn’t have enough words to convey it to them! So I hope that every reader will come away knowing that they are unique and loved completely, just as they are.
Q 4. How has your theater experience influenced your writing process?
Lindsay Bonilla: It helps me to think visually. I tend to see my stories like plays or movies playing in my mind.
It also helps me write dialogue. In the theater, you have scripts which are all dialogue with a few stage directions thrown in. The actor has to give the words meaning, figure out the subtext, etc. I’ve actually written quite a few play scripts, sketches, even a few screenplays, so writing believable dialogue comes pretty naturally to me.
When I get stuck, I will sometimes even “act out” my stories, finding voices for the characters, walking around the house like them, etc!
Q 5. I see that you love folktales. Is there a particular one that resonates with you or teaches a key lesson for young citizens of the world?
Lindsay Bonilla: There are SO many that I love, but with me being a runner and watching a lot of Olympic track and field these days, one that stands out is How the Cheetah Got Its Speed. It’s a folktale from Africa about a race between cheetah and tsessebe, an African antelope. Whoever wins is going to be given the title of the fastest animal in the world. When tsessebe falls, cheetah, has a choice to make – keep running and win the title or stop and help a friend. Cheetah stops to help and in the end is rewarded for his kindness.
Even more than the feats of athletic greatness, I think what moves us most and what we remember the longest are those expressions of kindness when we least expect them.
Q 6. Tell us about your upcoming projects: THE STORYTELLER (Nancy Paulsen/Penguin, 2022), THE NOTE WHO FACED THE MUSIC (Page Street Kids, 2023).
THE STORYTELLER is extremely special to me. As a professional storyteller, I set out to write a picture book that celebrated the power of oral storytelling. It turned into a book about deep family relationships, the bonds that we form around the stories we share, and how stories anchor us and give us hope. I am incredibly proud of this book and can’t wait to share it with the world. I think Noar Lee Haggan’s illustrations are going to be stunning!
THE NOTE WHO FACED THE MUSIC is about a Half Note who feels like she’s not as good as the other notes in the musical staff. It’s a humorous, pun-filled story about learning to be yourself and love yourself. It will definitely resonate with music lovers and anyone who’s ever felt like they just don’t measure up. (Pun intended!) 🙂
To learn more about Lindsay Bonilla and her books, see LindsayBonilla.com and
Next up on the blog: A Happy Book Birthday celebration for Katelyn Aronson’s CLOVIS KEEPS HIS COOL.