“A tender story and beautiful example of a mother’s profound answer to a child’s sincere question.”
As Mario and his mother are reading on a park bench, Mario softly and thoughtfully asks, “Mom, why do we cry?” After thinking through her answer, Mario’s mother gives an equally thoughtful, meaningful, and poetic response that encompasses the wide expanse of emotions tied to crying. “Sometimes we cry because the sadness we feel is so great that we just can’t contain it.” His mother’s answers are deep and honest, leaving adults pondering, yet still concrete enough for a child: “Some people cry because shouting for hours doesn’t help,” and “We cry because . . . we don’t understand the world, and our tears go in search of the answers we need.” Whether describing seemingly insurmountable challenges, a need for healing, or not being able to express oneself through words, his mother describes all the reasons for tears, ending on a short, but positive note about crying due to happiness. Pintadera’s reflective text encompasses hard to express emotions, paired with Sender’s masterful illustrations gorgeously and uniquely portraying some abstract ideas. The comprehensive answer to a son’s question primes this story as a good discussion prompter about emotions and tears, especially with its more practical information at the back of the book about tears, complete with activity suggestions.
This sensitive, poetic picture book uses metaphors and beautiful imagery to explain the reasons for our tears, making it clear that everyone is allowed to cry, and that everyone does.
In a soft voice, Mario asks, “Mother, why do we cry?” His mother thinks for a moment, and then begins to tell him about the many reasons for our tears. We cry because our sadness is so huge it must escape from our bodies. Because we don’t understand the world, and our tears go in search of an answer. Because we can’t find the right words, and our tears speak a universal language. Most important, she tells him, we cry because we feel like crying. And, as she shows him then, sometimes we feel like crying for joy.
By exploring the causes of our tears, Fran Pintadera’s thoughtful, poetic picture book story defends the right to cry and reinforces crying’s importance as a way to release our pain, to calm us and to help us grow. Though the question is asked by the boy, the illustrations of his mother’s answers feature her as a child, adding a layer of empathy to her message. Ana Sender’s artwork uses color and symbolic images along with facial expressions and body language to beautifully capture the mood and emotion being described on each spread. This warm, reassuring hug of a book provides just the response every adult would want to have to the central question. Supporting social-emotional learning, it makes an excellent choice for discussions about feelings and crying. To extend the concepts in the story, back matter describes the physical aspects and benefits of tears and provides two activities.
You can really feel the emotions described in this book as conveyed through the illustrations—a great book to explain the science (check the back!) as well as the feelings behind tears.
Fran Pintadera is a storyteller, theater director and an award-winning author of more than a dozen books for children. He lives in Spain.Ana Sender began her illustration career in textile design but now mostly illustrates children’s books, and even writes them herself sometimes. Her books include The Cottingley Fairies and The Orchid Hunter. She lives in Barcelona, Spain.