You Belong (Rachel Platten)

Hello, friends! As we gear up to Mother’s Day, we have a few lovely mama-themed books to share with you! Today, we’re reviewing You Belong, written by Rachel Platten and illustrated by Marcin Piwowarski, a tribute to the excitement and anticipation of a new baby’s arrival.

Adapted from singer-songwriter Platten’s 2018 single of the same name (which was itself inspired by Platten’s pregnancy with her first child), this sincere title looks at the exciting and anxious days leading up to a baby’s birth – from the nursery-painting, baby showers, and simple wondering – to the arrival and childhood of the baby-to-be. Following a central expectant couple (drawn as Platten and her husband), the artwork also features a diverse cast of families also anticipating, raising, and loving their babies, assuring them that no matter who they are or what they do, they belong.

Very sweet. Platten’s earnest lyrics translate well to book format; the rhythm flows well even when recited a-melodically, and the words have a strongly story-like narrative. A section in the middle where a bridge repeats is a little awkward for readers unfamiliar with the titular tune, and probably could have been omitted, but it’s also only two pages that feature some of the most beautiful art in the book so.. fair play. On that subject, the dreamy art is colorful yet serene, and fits the text perfectly. The racially-diverse families, which also include single-parent, mixed-race, and extended family are a nice effort; one couple was possibly LGBT+, but this was visually pretty vague. Still, the length was good, and JJ enjoyed this one. A solid addition to the new-baby picture book genre that is clearly straight from the heart, and it’s Baby Bookworm approved.

(Note: A copy of this book was provided to The Baby Bookworm by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.)

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