I Hate Everyone
illustrated by Cinta Arribas
(Pow! Kids Books, 2018)
Repost about I HATE EVERYONE from @picturebookstogrow (Shoshana Magnet)
I love this book. I love it so much! Lots of parents and educators do not like it and will not use it. Hate is a powerful word, and it's a challenging time to think about hate when white supremacist/misogynist hatred is on the rise. Many of us wish our children wouldn't use the word hate and we try to get them to use more descriptive words to articulate their feelings. And yet, our children do use it, and we need to find ways of speaking with them about hate.
This book follows a little girl who is having a meltdown at her birthday party. She models so well the experience of when our emotions overwhelm us and nothing feels right. Also, a book that features a little girl who feels profound rage and is not shamed or talked out of her feeling is profoundly feminist (with thanks to my therapist for this point).
It makes me laugh when the little girl says: "I hate when the balloons pop! And I hate when you say stop popping the balloons!" Revealing how difficult it is to be a child where you are bossed around continuously. The little girl needs to push her parents away so that they can show they love her by staying close.
My eyes always well up at the end of the book when she says "I hate you but I want you to love me." Isn't this profound human desire to push people away just when we need them most something that persists into adulthood? How many times have we all told the people we love most: "I told you to leave! … Where are you going?"
To me, this book does the profound human work of unpacking what lies beneath the words "I hate you" and the yearning for connection they often reveal, as well as opening up the possibilities for talking to our children about the complexities of hate. Simply telling children "you can't say I hate you" (which I still do all the time) to me isn't as helpful as the nuanced conversations that are made possible using this book.
SO many women suppress so much of their anger under patriarchy that we don't even know when we are angry anymore. I Hate Everyone helps to remedy this failing while also suggesting that desire for connection is an intimate part of rage.
"You Don't Love Me!" is the theme of Ilana Kurshan's Biblical commentary, Torah Sparks, for the weekly portion Haazinu, September 18, 2021, in which she mentions my picture book, I HATE EVERYONE.
<And then one day, in the midst of a tantrum, I sat down quietly beside her and began reading her a picture book called I Hate Everyone by Naomi Danis. The book is about a girl who throws a tantrum at her own birthday party, insisting that she hates everyone around her and doesn't want them to look at her. But she doesn't want them to look away, either, and finally she realizes that even though she keeps telling everyone that she hates them, she loves them all the while, deep down inside. My daughter was captivated by the scowling girl on the cover with her arms crossed in fury – the same girl who manages, by the end of the book, to turn her lips up in a smile. Just after we turned that last page, my daughter looked into my eyes and told me that deep down she knows I love her, and she loves me. Since then we have read this book countless times. I learned to reach for it every time she fell apart, and soon I didn't have to read it anymore – the mere sight of the book would calm her down, and she'd pull herself up into a sitting position and begin "reading" it to herself, turning the pages intently until she reached the last page and her scowl, too, had turned into a smile. I realized the book was more than just a story; it bore witness to my love for her, and to our special connection. It was, in this sense, her Shirat Haazinu.>
Best of the Year Lists
I HATE EVERYONE made it into THREE of School Librarian Journal blogger and librarian Elizabeth Bird's 31 lists of chidlren's books for December 2018.
<<Come here you sweet little weirdo book! You unapologetic charmer. Yeah, it's not going to go down well with parents that have a strict policy on the "h-word", that's true. But Danis is funny and the book shows that. Kids love it because of the contradictions. You can't top a kid who says not to look at her and then dumps a full bowl of Cheetos on her head in an effort to get attention. A hoot.>>
<<Already made a nice appearance on the funny picture books list, but please make no mistake when I tell you that it's a strange little buggy. First off, using the word "Hate" not just in the title but repeatedly in the text is normally considered a real no-no by publishers. Some parents, after all, avoid the word like the plague. Its got guts, this book. To those nervous parents, I should report that I've read this to my own kids multiple times and neither the seven nor the four-year-old have ever used the word once. So it doesn't have some magical properties that will turn your children rude. Phew!>>
And finally BEST BELOVED PICTURE BOOKS. <<The titles closest to the heart of the children's book community.>>
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Jemima Shafei-Ongu Writer (Australia) on Facebook
<<Once in a while, a wonderfully written book comes along that makes you laugh and relate and learn and love all at the same time. Naomi Danis's I Hate Everyone (illustrated marvellously by Cinta Arribas) captures the roller coaster of emotions that is so often experienced by young children (and all of us, really). Yet, with therapeutic skill and understanding, along with creative talent, Danis so respectfully demonstrates the power of relational attachment that parents can bring to a young person's emotionally difficult experiences, to support growth and learning. This is SO one of my favourite books.>>