Holly M. McGhee & Pascal Lemaître’s Come With Me is timely, beautiful

Come With Me Holly McGheeCOME WITH ME, by Holly M. McGhee and Pascal Lemaître, G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers, Sept. 5, 2017, Hardcover. $17.99 (ages 5-8)

As the parent of a small child, I find myself worrying about things in a new, different way than before. In my past life, I worked at a newspaper and then in a combined newspaper/television newsroom. I was a news junkie. I consumed the news all the time.

Having a child changed that for me. I don’t want her to see the news, to see the ugliness on social media and the Internet. It’s depressing and full of hate so I hide it from her.

In her latest picture book, Come With Me, Holly M. McGhee and illustrator Pascal Lemaître tackle the above with kindness, bravery and hope.

All over the world, the news told
and retold
of anger and hatred—

People against people.

And the little girl was frightened
by everything she heard
and saw
and felt.

She asked her papa
if there was something
she could do
to make the world a better place.

Her papa said,
“Come with Me.”

So begins Holly’s lyrical text. Hand-in-hand the girl and her papa make their way to the subway, tipping hats to strangers. The next day the girl joins her mama shopping for dinner at the import market. Later, the girl walks her dog on her own and invites a neighbor to “come with me.”

Come With Me was born out of an 18-year-relationship between Holly and Pascal. After 9/11, Holly and her daughter found comfort in an illustration sent by Pascal. In 2016, Brussels, where Pascal lives, was attacked. Holly reached out to him, and they emailed every day. As they discussed seemingly normal activities — walking the dog, taking the subway, shopping in the Moroccan grocery store — it became clear that even the smallest of actions make a difference.

It was from these observations that Come With Me was created.

I came away from Come With Me with an overwhelming feeling of hope. And I began to look at people differently. While terrorist attacks brought this book about, right now, the political climate in the United States is not united. The anger and fear mongering is incessant. Racism is rearing its ugly head. But if you look for it, you begin to see these small actions, small kindnesses that go beyond differences and create a sense of calm.

Pascal’s sweet illustrations are set against a white backdrop, allowing the emotion to take center stage. And Holly’s prose is gentle and honest.

I wish a book like this did not have to exist, but I’m glad it does. It’s a great starting point for parents.

© 2017, Cracking the Cover. All rights reserved.


About Author

Jessica Harrison is the main reviewer behind Cracking the Cover. Prior to creating Cracking the Cover, Jessica worked as the in-house book critic for the Deseret News, a daily newspaper in Salt Lake City. Jessica also worked as a copy editor and general features writer for the paper. Following that, Jessica spent two years with an international company as a social media specialist. She is currently a freelance writer/editor. She is passionate about reading and giving people the tools to make informed decisions in their own book choices.

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