Hey you. Yes, YOU. The sorry so-and-so who’s forgotten it’s Valentine’s Day and are now scrambling to find a last-minute present for your boo.
Why don’t you skip the tacky bodega carnations and dusty CVS chocolates this year and go with a gift that really means something? Why don’t you head on down to your neighborhood bookshop and pick up a copy of Worm Loves Worm?
This book, written by J.J. Austrian and illustrated by this guy, is a thoughtful, poignant, adorable celebration of love in all its wormy splendor. Its simple, cheery illustrations and sweet, inclusive message have won the book heaps of praise, including a spot on The Advocate’s “21 LGBT Picture Books Every Kid Should Read” list, and today’s great write-up in the New York Times Sunday Book Review:
J. J. Austrian and Mike Curato’s “Worm Loves Worm” … brilliantly explores the idea of love between two beings, regardless of gender (or species) and despite societal pressures.
Curato’s spare but sure silhouetted images and Austrian’s straightforward text are a perfect match to deliver the simple story of two characters who just want to declare their love and commit to each other.
And of course, the story of Worm holds tremendous personal significance for Mike and me, which my hubby explains with touching eloquence in his own writing about its release:
Throughout our lifetimes, each of us will be criticized for something that we cannot change (in other words: for being yourself). During those times, it’s paramount to remember what is most important in your life. For me, love is what is most important. Some people see the love that I have for Dan as being “different.” I beg to differ. In Worm Loves Worm, no matter the opinions and criticisms of others, Worm and Worm hold fast to what is most important to them: each other.
Sure, a few angry wormophobes have been upset by this book. For them, its depiction of G-rated affection between sexless garden-dwellers, and the image of spritely cartoon insects throwing their friends a little party, crosses a line. (The objections usually go something like: “I have no problem with the wormos personally, blah blah blah. I’m just worried that the wormos are trying to EAT MY BABIES.”)
But if Worm comes with any “agenda,” it’s nothing more sinister than the wish to offer a positive lesson in open-mindedness, acceptance, and love.
Though marketed as a children’s book, Worm Loves Worm is a story about eschewing rigid categorization. So, whether it’s for a dear little one, or a grownup sweetheart, this book’s heart-tugging, family-friendly message makes it the perfect Valentine’s Day gift for loves of all ages.
Now get out there and grab your Valentine a copy before this holiday is over!