I Like, I Don’t Like, an imported nonfiction picture book from Italy, is a brief (85 words), elegantly designed book inspired by the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Every spread has, on the left side, a child doing some normal childlike activity. On the right side of the spread, a child in poverty is working in deplorable conditions. So one child says, “I like bricks” while building with Lego. On the facing page, children carrying bricks to a building site say, “I don’t like bricks.” A child playing soccer says, “I like soccer balls,” while on the facing page a child sewing soccer balls says, “I don’t like soccer balls.” It’s a sobering but sensitive depiction of child labor.
I wish the back matter had included explanations about each spread. For example, I didn’t really understand the “I don’t like popcorn” page. Where do children pop and then package large plastic bags of popcorn? And am I doing something to promote this type of child labor? It left me with unsettling questions that I’m not sure how to answer.
The art is collage, with both photographic and illustrated elements. This book is a great addition to the set of non-narrative nonfiction titles to use with young children. It uses comparison and contrast as a structure. It also could be an example of a book that takes a position and argues it.
The book is in translation from the Italian.
I Like, I Don’t Like by Anna Baccelliere, illustrated by Ale + Ale. Eerdmans: 2017.