Books | Pop Culture | 90s
The True Story Behind The Book Our Moms Read To Us Is Actually Heartbreaking
Robert Munsch is responsible for a lot of our favorite children's books. He wrote so many silly stories that kids and parents loved.
Whether it was a book about pigs, a paper bag princess, or even bodily functions, the writer could turn anything into a great story.
There was always one story that seemed to have a little more oomph than the rest, and always managed to make us all cry. 'Love You Forever' is the kind of story that is loved by millions of people, no matter when they grew up, even though we all end the book in tears.
The story is simple, it's about the love between a mother and her son. She sings him a special song that we all remember to this day:
I'll love you forever,
I'll like you for always,
As long as I'm living,
my baby you'll be.
It turns out that the reason that this song and story are able to make us all so emotional is because it was based on a truly heartbreaking story from Robert Munsch's real life...
Munsch explained that the story started as a song that was stuck in his head for years. It isn't a happy song, even though it might seem like it has a sweet message. It was actually a song that upset him greatly for a very long time.
He said that "For a long time I had it in my head and I couldn't even sing it because every time I tried to sing it I cried."
The reason why it was so upsetting was that it was dedicated to his wife. He explained that "I made that up after my wife and I had two babies born dead. The song was my song to my dead babies."
This book took on a strange and unexpected life. His regular children's book publisher had rejected it, but he was able to find another home for the book fairly easy. That wasn't the weird part. He said that it was the sales of the book that were stranger than anyone expected.
"One day the publisher called up and said 'This is very strange. It is selling very well in retirement communities in Arizona. It is selling in retirement communities where kids are illegal. This is supposed to be a children’s book. What is going on?'"
Munsch realized that adults were buying the book for each other. He said, "Parents buy it for grandparents and grandparents buy it for parents and kids buy it for everybody and everybody buys it for kids."
While the story that prompted the book is heartbreaking, the book has helped millions of people express their love for a friend or family member.