Book Inspired Recipes, Book Reviews

Love is… Book Review + Spotlight + Inspired Recipe for Multicultural Children’s Book Day

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Have you heard of Multicultural Children’s Book Day?

January 25th, 2019 is the day we join together to share more awareness for many authors who write beautifully in a wide range of topics that help children learn tolerance, respect, understanding of different cultures as well as topics that encourage children to love others, and themselves!

I have been blessed to be a Multicultural Children’s Book Day Book Reviewer and I have recently sat down with Author, Deirdre Pecchinoni Cummings, and Illustrator Erika Busse to talk about life, and where they both find the inspiration for their creativity! You can find their spotlights a little further down this post! We are so lucky to be reviewing 5 of their most beautiful books with you this month in celebration of Multicultural Children’s Book Day, or MCBD for short on our blog, and on our Instagram Account.

Today we will focus on the book  “Love is…”

A lovely story, with a lyrical verse for early readers and beyond, is about a little girl who understands that love is everywhere, and for everyone. I was drawn to this book by the thought of picking hearts from a tree and the concept that love is in nature and truly free!

The little girl takes us on a journey from the moment she picks the hearts from the tree and begins sharing them with everyone around her.

She shares them with the mermaids she sees in the ocean, which represent loving the childlike nature of ourselves, as well as our dreams.

She then snuggles her kitty cat at home, whom she loves and takes care of, which represents the daily life we enjoy and cherish.

 “This book is my favorite, I love how she fills up her basket and gives love away”. ~ Claire age 8

“Love is… everywhere. Just look… you’ll see. Love is… a gift for every being. It’s for you and it’s for me.” ~Quote from Love is…

Beautifully written and illustrated, your children will be reminded of the love inside themselves, and around them, as well as the truth that they are free to give and receive love to their family, friends, pets, and even their dreams! I feel very happy reading this book to my children, like all of us, need to be reminded about love, and it’s power. They ask for it at bedtime, and they call it ‘the love book’. A must-have for your child’s library.

Our Favorite Books from Deirdre Pecchioni Cummings:


Let me introduce you to the Author of Love is…

I have recently sat down with Author, Deirdre Pecchinoni Cummings, to talk about life, and where she finds inspiration for her writing!

Deedee Pecchinoni Cummings was born in Wichita, Kansas to parents who she says ‘were true hippies’ and she now lives in Louisville, KY the city of her childhood, with her husband, Anthony land their three children. Deedee shares that she went to an all female Historically Black College in Greensboro, NC, called Bennett College, which has also been a source of inspiration for one special book of hers, called I want to be a Bennett Belle. She then went on to earn a Master’s Degree in Education and Counseling, and a Law Degree from the University of Lousiville. In addition to all of this, she is a therapist and CEO of an intensive therapy agency, called ABI, where she helps children in need. Deedee recalls that her inspiration to write ‘came from a traumatic career in Child Protective Services and Foster Care. The work was so very sad that I started writing stories with children to help them heal. Then I began to write my own.’

DeeDee in Montego Bay, Jamaica talking about writing and being an author to children at a local school.

It is clear that DeeDee gains inspiration from her experiences in life, and has the wonderful ability to look on the bright side of life, no matter what, and she has written 10 children’s books about love, self-acceptance, finding balance in life, setting goals, and learning to breathe and love. Her diverse children’s books and stories have inspired many, including myself and my children.

Deedee shares that her latest book she has written is called This Is The Earth” and it is currently being illustrated now. (Follow this link to see some behind the scenes pics of the illustration in progress) It is a book about love, compassion, and peace. She hopes it will be available in the spring of this year, which we are very excited to hear about! Looking forward, she says that she will be focusing her writing on stories from her career, geared towards adults.

The next most recent book she has written is called “Like Rain Water” and we have also been blessed to review this wonderful story and coloring book, dedicated to DeeDee’s late Mother, who passed away from breast cancer. This coloring book is so beautiful, with deep life lessons on love, self-discovery, self-control, and finding happiness in life! This book will be published shortly, and be available for purchase very soon. Check out the post here, when it’s live.

Deedee Shares her Creative Process for Writing

“My creative process mostly comes from things I see that I want to talk about or offer solutions on how to view a problem differently.”
Once the idea comes to her, she will ‘sit down and write out the problem and ideas for handling the problem.’ She shares that ‘sometimes these ideas rhyme and the words come’ to her, and sometimes it is simply a story ‘that seems to flow from my heart’. Either way, she writes down the ideas that she has and turns them into a book that she hopes others will enjoy!
“I love kids books because I am amazed at how a picture can help further make your point and even leave the reader with an idea in their minds. Sometimes those images are easier to hold on to and carry with us that the words are.”

DeeDee’s Advice for the budding writer:

“The advice I would give to someone who is interested in writing is to write. Silly as it sounds that’s what you need to do and most writers will probably say the same thing. Write anything. Ideas, statements, pieces of a conversation in your mind. Don’t think what you have to say is not important or has been said before. Your story belongs to you. No one else can tell it. Keep writing and write all of the time. No matter what anyone (especially the voice in your head) says.” ~ Deedee Pecchinoni Cummings

Follow Deedee:




Let me introduce you to the Illustrator of Love is…

I recently sat down with Artist Erika Busse to talk about life, and what inspires her with her beautiful artwork!

Erika Busse is an Illustrator, and Artist who believes that ‘everyone is an artist who has the ability to tap into their childlike instincts.’ Originally from Lousiville, Kentucky, she is currently enrolled as an art and business student at the Universtiy of Alabama.

Erika says that she ‘draws inspiration from wandering in nature’ and letting her mind do the same. Her artwork is inspiring, youthful and fresh. She paints large landscape paintings, nature-inspired projects such as leaf printing, detailed coloring pages, like in the book “If a Catapiller Can Fly, Why Can’t I?” which we will be sharing more about on our Instagram account and the occasional funky animations of her paintings! She has also traveled to many beautiful places to paint, including most recently an amazing trip to Sorrento, Italy, and Rome, plus lots of travel through The United States, where she draws inspiration for her artwork, paintings, sketchbooks and more!

Erika’s Advice for the budding artist:

“Keep making the art that makes sense to you. Be inspired by other artists and the world around you, but be true to yourself always. Make what you like to make, and most importantly, never stop!”

Follow Erika:





Multicultural Children’s Book Day 2019 (1/25/19) is in its 6th year and was founded by Valarie Budayr from Jump Into A Book and Mia Wenjen from PragmaticMom. Their mission is to raise awareness of the ongoing need to include kids’ books that celebrate diversity in homes and school bookshelves while also working diligently to get more of these types of books into the hands of young readers, parents, and educators.

Additional Resources for Multicultural Children’s Book Day:

Book Lists + Activities for Teachers and Parents Free Classroom Empathy Kit  + Free Classroom Poverty Kit

MCBD2019 is honored to have so many amazing Medallion Level and Author Sponsors on board:

 2019 Medallion Sponsors  2019 MCBD Author Sponsors

Meet MCBD’s impressive CoHost Team who hosts the book review link-up on celebration day, and spreads the word for this event:

Our Book Inspired Recipe:

Heart Sugar Cookies Recipe

Reading this book has inspired us to make heart sugar cookies! Let me share this fabulous, no-chill-needed sugar cookie recipe with you! Also, find the best Sugar Cookie Icing at the end of this post.

Ingredients needed:

  • 2 cups of Sugar
  • 2 cups of Soft Butter (Tip, leave cold butter on the counter for 1 hour, then use. If it’s too soft, the cookies can become dry)
  • 2 Eggs
  • 2 tbsp Vanilla
  • 6 cups of Flour
  • 4 tsp Baking Powder
  • Heart Cookie Cutter

The method for making your own Heart Sugar Cookies with your kids:

Cream your soft butter, with the sugar, until it is fluffy and smooth. Add in your eggs, one at a time. Next, the vanilla extract and slowly, 1 cup at a time, beat in your flour until you have a soft, perfect cookie dough that looks like this.

Once your dough has come together, you can simply begin to roll it out, without chilling. How great is that?

Prepare your surface with a dash of flour, and begin to roll out your sugar cookie dough. I like to roll it fairly thin.

Bake at 350F for 6-8 minutes, depending on the size of your cookies. These hearts took 8 minutes, and no longer.

They will always look not done, but they will be perfect after a couple more minutes sitting on the baking sheet, out of the oven.

Once cooked, ice with a simple icing recipe:

Sugar Cookie Icing Recipe:

  • 1 cup of powdered sugar
  • 2 teaspoons of milk
  • 2 teaspoons of light or dark corn syrup
  • 1/4 tsp almond or vanilla extract
  • desired food coloring

Icing tip: as seen on my Instagram account, to ice your cookies, simply place your cookie upside down, in your bowl of icing. Press gently, then lift the cookie up, letting the icing drip down until it stops dripping really fast. Then flip your cookie right side up, and place it on your cooling rack to harden, then enjoy! If you have some air bubbles simply press them with your finger to pop. My 7-year-old iced these cookies all by himself, and he loves to see the bubbles. My kids, LOVE these cookies, and they are our favorite for any occasion, with any color and shape. A perfect recipe to have up your sleeve!

Suggested Kitchen Tools:

Thank you for reading today, and when you read this book with your kids and make these adorable and yummy Heart Sugar Cookies, please share and tag me @alexandra.derry and I can share your creations on our account!

Also, come and join us all on Twitter for the MCBD Twitter Party and enter to win 1 of 12 book bundles and one grand prize 12-book bundle!

Plus, we will be hosting a SPECIAL giveaway of our own (coming soon) on our Instagram Account, you won’t want to miss it!

Til next time,

Breathe deeply and enjoy building your masterpiece with scissors and glue, and heart cookies too!




If you enjoyed this post, you may also like these too:

Monster Cookies

Chocolate Chip Cookies

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1 thought on “Love is… Book Review + Spotlight + Inspired Recipe for Multicultural Children’s Book Day”

  1. Amazing what DeeDee is doing for kids through her company and her books! Love is sounds like a wonderful book!

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