In Every Life

in every life

Book Information

Beach Lane Books February 2023
Year Published

A simple and profound meditation on the many wonders of life from two-time Caldecott Honor recipient Marla Frazee.

In every life, there is love and loss, hope and joy, wonder and mystery. With glowing art and spare, powerful text, Caldecott Honor–winning creator Marla Frazee celebrates the moments, feelings, and experiences, both big and small, that make up a life.---from the publisher

32 pages 978-1665912488 Ages 4-8

Keywords: feelings, emotions, being present, loss, love, human life, lifetime, 4 year old, 5 year old, 6 year old, 7 year old, 8 year old, humanity

Read Alike: What's Sweeter? by June Tate


There are so many different countries, different races, different languages..... all kinds of differences...on our planet. All kinds of differences depending on where you started life on Earth.

Here is a story to connect us to each other because it turns out in every life, no matter the country, the race, the language, the food, the difference... it turns out in every life there will be sadness, love, hope, wonder, tears, comfort and so much more. We are human beings first...before we are all the other things that define us.

This is a beautiful homage to all the curious shared moments and feelings of every single life. A hopeful invitation to accept the humanity that connects us from our neck of the planet to those we may never meet.

The next time you meet someone who looks different, eats different food, speaks in a different language remember this story, remember these pictures and give yourself the chance to look beyond the differences all the way to what is the same about them...and with any luck at all...the other person will look at you that very same way.

Recommended by: Barb Langridge,


“Love can change the world

Love can change your life

Do what makes you happy

Do what you know is right

And love with all your might before it's too late”

– Mike Pinder, “My Song” (1971)

“In 1998, during a service at All Saints Church in Pasadena, California, I heard a call-and-response version of a Jewish baby-naming blessing and immediately felt its potential as a picture book. The original source of the poem is unknown, but it has been adapted and used widely in welcoming ceremonies of all kinds.”

– from the author’s note on the copyright page

“In every birth, blessed is the wonder.

In every smile, blessed is the light.

In every hope, blessed is the doing.

In every sadness, blessed is the comfort.

In every moment, blessed is the mystery.

In every love, blessed are the tears.

And in every life, blessed is the love.”

– complete text of the book

A quarter century after first imagining this book, Marla Frazee has brought IN EVERY LIFE to fruition. It’s a stunningly beautiful, light-filled, meditative read that is a must experience for all ages.

IN EVERY LIFE has a large 11”x11” trim size, providing plenty of space for multiple illustrations on each two-page spread. There is an alternating pattern to the book: A line of the poem is accompanied by ten or so individual, unbordered, uncaptioned illustrations in Ms. Frazee’s distinctive pencil and gouache style, depicting scenes related to that line. Each is a snapshot of one or more people, caught at a moment in a story that one can only imagine. The  subjects and their relationships are various, but all radiate a sense of humanity and kindness.

Turn the page, and there is a double spread with a wordless, grand work of art. A unifying color scheme links each set--the pages with the line of verse and unbordered vignettes, and the pages with the single illustration.  The illustrations for “In every birth, blessed is the wonder,” have a pink color theme, the ones depicting sadness have gray, while mystery is blue, life is purple, and so on. The use of color helps to set a tone that touches the reader emotionally.

I particularly enjoy the cleverly humorous illustrations that little kids and not-so-little kids will pick up on. For instance, within the orange-themed “In every hope, blessed is the doing” spread, I smiled at the guys holding a kite and looking upward as if studying the (lack of) wind. When you look closer, one of the men is wearing a JPL sweatshirt. JPL is NASA’s famous Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, where Ms. Frazee lives. In the same spread, also humorous, is a little kid sitting on the potty, hoping…waiting to do.

Altogether, the book contains eighty illustrations, each one offering readers and listeners the opportunity to contemplate the unwritten stories behind the pictures.

Like a song that you listen to again and again, this lovely reflection on humanity is a treasure that many readers will pore over and repeatedly enjoy. We are blessed to live in an age where creativity and book-making technology come together to provide such jewels as this.

Recommended by:  Richie Partington, MLIS, California USA

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