‘Hope’ by Matthew Cordell is a beautiful love letter from grandparents to their grandchild


“Hope” by Matthew Cordell follows his beautiful picture book, “Dream,” which is “a poem of love and the book is a poetic ode in words and pictures to the power of parental care.” “Hope” features lions instead of gorillas, and the voice is one of the grandparents sharing their hopes and dreams and wishes for their grandchild.

“You will meet so many. Many who are like you. Many who are not. Continue looking. Continue seeking. And for the future, there will always be hope.”

Because this book is written from the grandparents’ point of view, the text evokes feelings and thoughts about the endless circle of life, and how we repeat what our forefathers had done and those who come after us will repeat actions that we have taken. In the lions’ lives, their grandchild will drink from the same streams that they drank from, and those before them. They remind their grandchild about the everlasting paths and stars that will continue to be trod upon and gazed upon for generations to come.

But because this book is from the grandparents’ point of view, it’s also about separation and loss. And in the natural scheme of life, what is supposed to be, is that grandparents die before their grandchildren. “When one light dims, another will brighten.”

The book shares the wisdom of all loving grandparents. That even when we are gone, we will not be forgotten. That our grandchildren as well as our children will remember our love for them and that that love will shine and bring hope.

As the first part of the book is a letter (typed on what appears to be an old-fashioned typewriter) to their grandson, the last part of the book is a similar letter written to “dearest grandparents” and shares what the grandchild feels and has become because of that love from the grandparents.

From the colorful endpapers filled with pastel confetti-like specks which represent the hope that fills the story and surrounds the animals within it to the colorful yet simple renderings of the animals, the illustrations work perfectly with the text. They neither overpower the text nor are subordinate to it — rather each compliments the other. The white space surrounding the illustrations highlights the simple text that consists of short sentences.

The sentences are purposefully short and simple, filled with wisdom and worthy of thought. Each sentence is like a small jewel, to hold and appreciate and ponder. And all together, the book is a wonderful, touching communication from a grandparent to a grandchild.

Please note: This book is based on the final, hardcover book provided by the publisher, Disney Hyperion, for review purposes. 

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