A celebration of Children's Love:
Jerome by Heart

"And the passers-by pointed
their fingers at them.
But the children who love each other aren't there for anyone else" [Jacques Prevert]
This is the quote introducing the book and perfectly summarising its spirit. 

Jerome and Raphael are two young boys who love spending their time together, they are both kind and delicate souls, they care for each other. Their love is genuine, happy and pure.
Raphael faces his parents' hostility because of his feelings which they label as above the line and wrong, and he will need to overcome the insecurity that comes with judgement, to finally be able to follow his heart.
A sweet, unconventional story celebrating children's love and dismantling gender stereotypes.
Delicate yet assertive words by Thomas Scotto are accompanied by Oliver Tallec's engaging illustrations. Tallec's style is very immediate and somehow visionary and introspective. The colour palette and the use of light to mark the passing of time reminds me of  'Moi Devant' (Passo Davanti) which I talked about here

This book has just been published in April 2018, and has been internationally acclaimed.
It has also been mentioned in book lists as part of the conversation around Pride month, which takes place every year in June.
Although I see the reason behind this, I feel that this book is mainly a tribute to children's love, which is gender-neutral by definition.

It's a story that wants to free children from conventions and categories (Jerome is not 'strong enough' according to Raphael's dad) encouraging to fully embrace friendship and the strong emotions that come with it,  following the heart.
I honestly don't see any other aim besides this.
Up until puberty (and sometimes beyond) children tend to model same-sex peers, establishing very strong connections with each other, this is completely natural. 
An inspiring read for parents too, especially for those with boys, who are more often overwhelmed by judgement when they don't seem to conform to the stereotypes of masculinity.
Our world clearly doesn't need books feeding the macho culture, we need more Jeromes.
Jerome by Heart [2018] available here
Words by Thomas Scotto
Art by Oliver Tallec
English language edition by Enchanted Lion Books
Reading age: 4+
Themes: Friendship, Love, Identity 

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