In her latest picture book, Dehghanpisheh (#BabyLove: My Social Life, 2016, etc.) shows the life of a curious child through the frame of the cellphone used to take his photo—until he gets his hands on the device.
The hero of the #BabyLove tales, now a tanned toddler, obviously has a mother who loves him. While he’s creating his art, she’s taking a photo of his paint-splattered smock. (The dog, with paint-dripped ears, looks less impressed.) After the art lesson, there’s reading and toy time, followed by a drumming session. Each shot features a view of the boy framed by his mother’s phone. Mother and son take a smiling selfie together, posting it to friends with the hashtag #mommyandme. With so much activity around the phone, it’s no surprise that the boy wants to experiment with it himself, so when Mommy leaves it on the counter, even though he knows better, he picks it up. First, he pretends he’s making a real phone call; then, he starts taking selfies. His huge smile shows how much fun he’s having: “I hold a button, and then say ‘Cheese.’ / I click, click, click, click with such ease.” When he hears Mommy coming, though, he drops the phone and makes a run for it. But rather than becoming angry, Mommy takes time to look at the photos with him, showing him the parts of his face in each shot as well as family pictures. And as Mommy looks at these photos, she realizes just how precious time with her wee one is. When they return to playing together, Mommy puts the phone down so she can fully engage with her son. With simple rhyming phrases that scan well and the author’s enticing illustrations, the volume should surely appeal to young readers, who have almost certainly been told not to play with a parent’s phone. But the book works on another level as well: the boy teaches his mother a valuable lesson about mindfulness. After perusing the old photos, she tells her son: “These moments with you, / I love and treasure.” This stirring story reminds busy parents that even though those photos they take show how much they love their children, there’s joy and wonder in leaving the technology behind.
This poignant and entertaining tale about a playful toddler aimed at young lap readers works on a much deeper level for parents.