Ma has to convince Jay that she loves him as much as ever, but now it’s time for Jay to be more independent and sleep on his own bed, in his own room.
Written by Karishma Mahbubani and illustrated by Suzzanne Rebello, the book draws its inspiration from the resistance they faced from their 5-year-olds when they broached the topic of sleeping separately in their own rooms.
“There is a certain amount of separation anxiety that keeps both kids and parents from letting go,” says Karishma, drawing from her own experience.
“And thus, I Love You More was born. Not only does it depicts Jay’s fears quite realistically, it shows Ma as a gentle yet firm communicator. She understands her son’s misgivings and never brushes them off, but ultimately refuses to cave.”
The character uses Love as a tool of reassurance, gently telling Jay, “Though I love you up to the moon, it’s time you slept in your own room.”
The main challenge Suzzanne faced was figuring out how to quantify the depth of a mother’s affection.
The Illustration Process Behind ‘I Love You More’
“The more Jay questions how much Ma loves him, the more creatively she has to get her point across. Visually, I had to think about how to represent those moments of whimsy while still keeping the subject grounded in reality,” says Suzzanne.
“Making the drawings emote the bond between a mother and her child- that was a challenge too.”
I Love You More is a star performer during storytelling sessions- both in the classroom and at home. Mothers have reached out to Karishma and Suzzanne time and again, to express how much their kids enjoyed the book. They have also marveled at their children’s marked difference in attitude towards sleeping alone, post-read.
At the end of the day, that is what every book sets out to achieve. Creating a positive impact that its readers can cherish for a long time to come.
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