Thankful, Thoughtful, Wonderful
Thankful, Thoughtful, Wonderful
There are so many things I could write about being thankful for, but since 2016 marked a year in which I almost lost two loved ones in separate near death experiences, I’m going to say that I’m thankful for my family, nuclear and extended. In fact, I don’t even have to write that distinction because my extended family has always been my family.
Books that focus on Thanks/Gratitude:
The Thank You Book by Mo Willems—This book is the swan song for Elephant and Piggie (AKA Gerald and Piggie) and Willems makes sure to thank all the characters and all the people who made the series such a success.
Penguin Problems by Jory John and illustrated by Lane Smith—see my previous review. A walrus gives a penguin a rude awakening which makes him re-think and be grateful for what he does have rather than what he doesn’t. Mostly grateful, in his own penguin-y way, anyway.
My husband is thoughtful in big and little ways. He gets up early to write, usually around 5am. He’s had this routine for the last 1-2 years. Often it would wake me up because we have a small house—so even though he’d write in the kitchen, I’d hear him setting his tea cup down on the table. Finally he has the routine down pat: he creeps quietly out of our room and closes the door. The night before he sets up his tea cup and essentials and his clothes in the kitchen. He places his tea cup on a napkin. And he wears the headphones I got him last Christmas.
Though he actually started writing much later than I did (I’ve never stopped writing stories since I was a child, though there was a moratorium during a few years in medical school and residency because my brain was too tired), he is much better at keeping a schedule. He’s an engineer, he focuses on a problem and then fixes it. The problem? He was too tired at night to write and—since he’s a hands on dad—he was too busy with the bookworm girls’ bedtime routine to write. The solution? Wake up early.
While I am grateful that he finds a solution to his problems, I am ever much more so grateful that he doesn’t try to solve all of mine. You know that male stereotype? The husband that tries to fix things? Nope. He lets me mull over my own problem, whether it be a disagreement with a family member or grieving over our daughter, and he supports me the whole way. So for Mr. Bookworm, Thoughtful = Thankful and leads to Wonderful.
Books that promote THOUGHT:
The Hello Goodbye Window by Norton Juster, illustrated by Chris Raschka
Oscar’s Half Birthday by Bob Graham
Both of these books promote thought in that the illustrations just happen to feature a mixed family. I love the way they thought to do this, without there being a specific mention about background, ethnicity, or color in the text. And Oscar’s ‘half’ birthday makes sense to me as he is a mixed race child and, in the end, the crowd at the park that celebrates his half birthday with him make zero assumptions or judgements. They are just there to celebrate life. And the coat hangar fairy wings just make me smile.
I also want to mention Let’s Celebrate Diwali by Anjali Joshi and illustrated by Tim Palin. When Little Lion was in kindergarten, one of the lovely moms came in to talk to her grade about Diwali and the festival of lights. Same for this year. I love that we now have a picture book that not only talks about Diwali, but also talks about the different ways in which Diwali is celebrated. Thank you to Bharat Babies for my copy—as a way to #GiveKnowledge and promote love after the recent election, Bharat Babies did a giveaway of their books for 24 hours. I love the sentiment about giving books for knowledge and I will definitely be looking through the rest of their lovely book catalog.
This Thanksgiving, I want to focus on the wonderful. When I was a child, Thanksgiving was one of my favorite holidays. It wasn’t just about the food though. Even then, I could sense the stress surrounding Christmas and gift-giving for a large extended family. So Thanksgiving was just about catching up and hanging out with my cousins and other relatives. Sometimes we’d play games. Once or twice we went to the movies. But we always, always had some quality time together.
So I want to focus on that again—the tiny little moments and connections that bring wonder back to our hearts.
Books that promote wonder:
I’m going to talk about books that promote wonder in two different ways:
Someday by Alison McGhee and illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds: I bought this book for Mini Me Bookworm several years ago as it is such a beautiful little poem about what it means to be a mother. I should get one for my mom too. (Hmmm. Pretend you didn't read that, Mom.)
Flotsam by David Wiesner or the Journey trilogy by Aaron Becker: as I talked about last week, these wordless picture books really let the imagination take flight.