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Ruth Baird
Author, Illustrator
I Love You 10!
Ruth Baird, author
On the day of a fun family party, a child wants to find 10 kinds of love, one for each finger, before night comes. At the family reunion, Parents, Sisters, Brothers, Grandparents, Aunts, Uncles, and Cousins come, but is that all the love there is? Wait, the child sees friends and a puppy. Can they be counted too? Ruth Baird studied art from age 11 through college. She grew up in Arizona with many siblings and enjoyws hanging out with her own big family, dogs and chickens. She enjoys saying "I love you 10!"
How many different kinds of love exist? The protagonist of Baird’s vibrant children’s book debut challenges herself to list ten different kinds of love that she observes over the course of a family party her parents host, and she notices that there are types she experiences in her life and others that her family and friends experience as well, including “Parent love,” “Creator Love,” and “Nature Love.” Love is a richly complex topic, and I Love You 10! succeeds in showing young readers that love is not just one thing—and that it can be experienced in numerous ways, even more than the ten that author/illustrator Baird presents as building blocks for a wider understanding.

The title phrase provides the book’s structure. On the day of a family party, the young narrator shows her family—and readers—that she can count ten kinds of love. As the party approaches and family arrives, she counts “Creator Love” (as in the love expressed in prayer), “Romantic Love,” “Parent Love.” Charmingly, Baird tracks the numbers of types of love with inset illustrations of the fingers the narrator is counting on. Baird’s intentional portrayal of a mixed family bound together through an intricate network of love ensures that kids from racial backgrounds that are historically under-represented will see themselves in these pages. By observing the ways love manifests in her life, the narrator also demonstrates a practice of gratitude for her nurturing family.

Baird’s illustrations, though colorful and lively, have an abrasive, somewhat unfinished quality, but there is a delightful attention to detail regarding the small flourishes of imperfection found in a healthy home: spillage, antics of pets, children falling, playing, exploring, toys strewn across the floor, stained shirts worn by smiling kids. All of it amounts to a wholesome, loving family anyone would be grateful to be part of, and it’s a fine choice for children seeking a story that celebrates love in all its forms.

Takeaway: A child’s charming celebration of the many types of love.

Comparable Titles: Dan Sak’s and Brooke Smart’s Families Can, Barry Timms and Tisha Lee’s Love Grows Everywhere.

Production grades
Cover: B
Design and typography: B
Illustrations: B
Editing: A
Marketing copy: A-