“We can choose to be grateful, no matter what.” —Dieter F. Uchtdorf.
Making the choice to be grateful can be difficult at times, but it doesn’t have to be. The daily choices we make are more than often small everyday instances. Cultivating gratitude starts by small means, like sitting down at the end of a day, looking around and finding joy in the simple things—even if it’s that you’re finally able to rest after a long stressful day. Our thoughts become us, so let’s fill our minds and lives to the brim with positivity.
Instagram friends @ohcreativeday and @hidden_egg share four things they love every Sunday. I’m joining in and have four things I love about our life in little NZ, which does include some smashing reads. Books are always on the brain.
1. Beaches off the Beaten Track
Once we hit the gravel road the excitement levels in our car quadruple. We’re almost there. It’s not long before we can sink our toes in the warm sand of one of New Zealand’s many tucked away beaches.
2. The Beginning of Summer
Sharing the name, I do have an affinity for the Summer season. And, there’s so much to enjoy—swimming, surfing, beach walks, building driftwood forts, collecting shells, exploring rock pools, ice blocks, long days, summer reading…
3. The Car Ride Home with Sleepy Kids
Car rides to our destinations are a delight—singing together, munching on potato chips and lollies, playing games, the start of our adventure—but car rides home also hold oceans of charm. I especially love turning back and seeing my kids practically passed out from pleasure, knowing that treasured memories have been made.
Bear is Waiting for Goliath—very patiently he waits at a bus stop for his friend, from spring, through summer and as the leaves fall in autumn, through a snowy, sleepy winter. Day after day, night after night, Bear waits. Who is Goliath? We don’t find out until the very end of the story, upon a dear reunion. The illustrations are lovely photographic dioramas. Robin has her babies. A spider spins a web. With each turn of the page, time passes, and Bear waits. Waiting for Goliath, by Antje Damm, is a sweet example of patience and true friendship.
Waiting for Goliath, by Antje Damm
The Lost Kitten, by Lee and Komako Sakai
It didn’t take us long to fall in love with The Lost Kitten. Our love grew along with Hina’s and was strengthen by a relatable and emotional incident in the story. There’s a clue in the title—yep—the tiny kitten gets lost. Hina’s worry is convincingly depicted and you can’t help but feel for her. Efforts to find the kitten are precious. So is their reunion.
Don’t Cross the Line! by Isabel Minhós Martins and Bernardo P. Carvalho, is a beautiful creation that is entertaining to read. It calls attention to injustice and peaceful revolution, power of the people, cleverly utilising the elements of the book to assist the story, and does all of this in a risible manner.
Don’t Cross the Line! by Isabel Minhós Martins and Bernardo P. Carvalho
If I Was a Banana, by Alexandra Tylee and Kieran Rynhart
The ordinary becomes extraordinary through the eyes of a curious child in If I Was a Banana. Tylee’s story and Rynhart’s illustrations work hand in hand to honour this truth. We see a moment of inspiration in the boy’s day, and then we’re taken into his mind, watch his train of thought evolve. Colours are soft. The vignetting on panelled illustrations focus our attention on the delightful details and enhance that dream concept. Although there’s a lot of dreaming and ifs, at no point do you get the feeling that the boy is unhappy or discontent. Quite the opposite. The heart-warming ending (especially since it’s the first time we see the boy’s face) conveys his self-confidence, an inner strength we hope all kids can possess.
At Don’s Safari, you’ll find every creature in the land, all roaming safe, wild and free. But it seems the Hippopotamus has gone missing. A diverse class of energetic children are on the case. Follow them on their delightful pursuit. “I see him, Miss!” the children call, but they’re often mistaken. First a giraffe, then a snake, a skunk—these gloriously funny blunders make for an enjoyable story time, so does the seek and find aspect. Kids can find the sneaky Hippo, often in disguise, on multiple pages. This fast-paced adventure is lively and joyful in every respect.
That’s Not a Hippopotamus, by Juliette MacIver and Sarah Davis
The Line, by Paula Bossio
If you’re a fan of Harold and the Purple Crayon, you’ll also enjoy The Line, by Paula Bossio. There is slight difference between the two books—Harold creates his story with his purple crayon, while the young girl in this wordless wonder happens upon a pencil drawn line. She interacts with the line, plays with it, slides down it, swings along it like a monkey. The line turns into a monster, but all is well when the monster is frightened away. There are lots of little surprises in The Line, especially when its creator is revealed.
“But that’s life, thought Death.” Death is a part of life, and Duck, Death and the Tulip portrays this upfront and honestly. Tulip in hand, Death visits Duck. They interact for a time and Duck comes to the realisation that Death is not to be feared. The representation of Death, as a smiley skeleton dressed in plaid who smiles at times, enforces this. When the end comes, all are at peace. This book may be unsettling for some, but we found it witty and heartfelt.
Duck, Death and the Tulip, by Wolf Erlbruch
Have You Seen Elephant? by David Barrow
In Have You Seen Elephant, by David Barrow, a boy and his elephant play a game of hide-and-seek. Elephant insists that hiding is a particular talent of his. “I must warn you though. I’m VERY good.” This statement and the cover alone is enough to make you adore this book. But its sweetness continues. The illustrations are soft and delightful. Kids will laugh at Elephant’s various hiding places, and because they can easily spot him while the boy can’t, or is otherwise pretending not to—either way, it’s great fun. Turtle has been watching them play and wants to join in. He suggests a game he’s VERY good at—tag. ZOOOOM!! Turtle is ready, sweatbands in place, lightning bolt painted on his shell. Off they go.
What are you grateful for?