I Know the River Loves Me

Katy Yan

Blues and greens swirl on the page and around a young girl who shares her love for her river. The river cools her in the summer, holds her up when she dives in, and takes takes care of her as she takes care of it. While rivers around the world are being threatened, polluted, and dammed, Maya Christina Gonzalez's book, I Know the River Loves Me, is a tribute to the relationship people, and especially children, continue to have with their rivers.

Each beautifully illustrated page carries a message, in both English and Spanish, about the personal relationship one can have with their river. While never talking explicitly about water pollution, one of the pages shows the girl with bottles and a six-pack ring beside her, as she says, "The river takes care of me and I take care of the river. I only leave behind what already belongs to her." 

Story and illustration by Maya Christina Gonzalez
Story and illustration by Maya Christina Gonzalez
This is a great book for a young child or classroom, but it also reminds the rest of us about the power that comes from combining words and art, poetry and paint. The author herself was inspired by the Yuba River in California, along with rivers in India, Puerto Rico, Brazil, and Mexico, to share her love of rivers with her daughter and a new generation of river protectors.

This year's International Day of Action for Rivers on March 14 is all about harnessing creative energy to protect and celebrate our rivers. Take this book and that day to remember that there are still free flowing rivers out there, and that no matter how threatened your river may be, it's never too late to protect, restore or fall in love with it again.

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