Bedtime is an important family ritual in the home of Leslie Odom, Jr. and Nicolette Robinson, who are parents to six-year-old Lucille and two-year-old Able. There's bath-time, dressing for bed, reading, singing, and prayer.
"We try to make bedtime end the day in a really positive way," says Robinson. "We want our kids to always feel empowered and secure and loved. Ending the day with that before they drift off to sleep is really important. So, we just wanted to contribute something to the book space that reminds kids constantly that they are loved."
That contribution is the new children's book I Love You More Than You'll Ever Know. The 32-page picture book is illustrated by another young parent, Joy Hwang Ruiz, whose warm pastels capture an array of families in joyful moments. Even illustrated versions of the Odom-Robinson family can be found throughout.
This is the second book for Odom, whose Failing Up: How to Take Risks, Aim Higher, and Never Give Up, was published in 2018 by Feiwel & Friends, an imprint of Macmillan. Odom and Robinson had had their own murmurings with each other about writing a children's book when they became new parents, and when it was mentioned at a Failing Up book release party to his editors, they were enthusiastic.
Of course, Odom (a Tony winner for playing Aaron Burr in Hamilton) and Robinson (who made her Broadway debut as Jenna in Waitress), were a musical couple long before they were authors. It's a talent the two leaned fully into when writing I Love You More Than You'll Ever Know. The text on the pages of the picture book are also the lyrics to a song, written with composer Katie Boeck.
"I grew up with books on tape. There are still ones that my sister and I quote to each other to this day," says Odom. "So this is our version of that. You can read the book as a book, or you can follow along with the song." Hear the song in the video below, activated with pages from the book.
I Love You More Than You'll Ever Know is now part of the Odom-Robinson family bookshelf, joining classics the couple remember from their own childhood (Go, Dog. Go! and A Birthday for Frances for Odom, Goodnight Moon and Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? for Robinson), as well as newer books What Do You Do With an Idea and The Rabbit Listened.
For Lucy and Able, the book is particularly fun as they love to find details from their own lives in its pages—such as Lucy's stuffed bear and Able's tiger Passy. Even their grandparents are illustrated.
For Robinson and Odom, the really special thing was including their children in the song. "At the very end, they join us singing the song," shares Robinson. "It's really sweet."
I Love You More Than You'll Ever Know is available now on Macmillan.