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Before You Were Born

ISBN-13: 978-1772780826

Illustrated by Suzanne Del Rizzo

Published by Pajama Press

*2019 Canadian Children's Book Centre Best Books for Kids & Teens 

STARRED Selection*

2019 Northern Lights Book Award Winner - Best Illustration*

*2019 School Library Journal’s “35 Books for Toddler Time” selection*


"Before, you were...a song in our hearts, a star in our eyes." 

Told from the perspective of new parents welcoming their baby to the world, this touching love letter to young children by Governor General’s Literary Award–nominated author Deborah Kerbel describes with lyrical grace all of the promise held by new life. As the seasons change from fall through winter and into spring, the expectant parents’ anticipation over the baby’s arrival is mirrored in the animals around the family’s seaside home, marrying the natural world to the family’s experience.

* "Kerbel's poetic text is lyrical and rhythmic...Del Rizzo's gorgeous illustrations perfectly embody the tone of the text."

-Canadian Children's Book News, Fall 2019 Red Leaf Literature Selection

"A gorgeous, captivating, and moving story, this book will touch the hearts and mesmerize the eyes of readers both young and old. New parents will love reading this book as they prepare for and welcome new additions to their home.”

-School Library Journal

“Beautifully illustrated and poignant...”

-Kirkus Reviews 


“Lullabylike...Del Rizzo brings eye-catching allure to Kerbel’s wistful welcome.”

-Publisher's Weekly

“Heartfelt...magnificent...Before You Were Born will be a hit with parents and children alike, so consider it your future go-to book for celebrating an upcoming birth.”

-CanLit for Little Canadians

"This breathtaking weave of prose and stunning artwork pulls at the heartstrings from start to finish. Highly Recommended."

-CM Magazine

"Distinctive...poetic....a sweet addition to the genre."


"This would make a fantastic baby shower gift or a good choice to read to a child to remind them about how much they are loved."

-Resource Links 

"Exceptionally beautiful....moms, dads and grandparents will love reading this picture book to the new baby to tell them how much they were anticipated and how greatly they are loved."

-Winnipeg Free Press 

"Absolutely breathtaking, stunning, gorgeous, and brought tears to my eyes..."

-Mrs. Book Dragon 

"The rich & vivid language is delightful AND illustrations are so beautiful they make me want to reach out and be a part of every picture! Perfect gift for new parents and wonderful addition to classrooms/home libraries."

-Lit Review Crew

A poetic, poignant, and harmonious ode to new life and family."

-Fab Book Reviews

"A lyrical celebration of the joy and anticipation that comes along with starting a family....a lovely gift for new or expectant parents."

-Kids Make Mess 


“A perfect gift for a new mother or father, and a perfect bedtime read for a little absolutely beautiful picture book.”

-Canadian Bookworm 

"Before  You Were Born is a true celebration of life — a visual and lyrical delight. Its tender language reads like a lullaby, making it a wonderful gift for expectant parents."

-Northern Dawn Awards

“A unique and charmingly presented picture book story for children ages 4-7, Before You Were Born will prove to be an enduringly popular and appreciated addition to family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library collections.”

—Midwest Book Review

“We rated this book: [5/5] Before You Were Born is the sweetest book I have ever read….A beautiful, lovely, gorgeous, elaborate tale of the life of nature, the glory of seasons, and the beauty of human beings.”

—Alexandria, Age 7, Kids’ BookBuzz

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