It’s not hard for me to be thankful. Like J. Bradley Wigger in Thank You, God, all I have to do is look around me to find blessings aplenty to inspire my gratitude.
His book takes me through a litany of thanksgiving, as together we give thanks “for the sun smiling on our earth to wake up the day” . . . “for meals together, with good food to smell” . . . “for stories shared, for songs sung, and for love whispered.” I add a silent “amen” to every page.
And to all these good things to be grateful for each day — bees and beetles, stars and moon, trees and leaves and sky — I add one more: picture books.
Inspired by Thanksgiving and Picture Book Month, and, too, by Brad Wigger’s beautiful words, I’ll explain:
I’m thankful for picture books,
for well-chosen words and lovely pictures
stitched expertly together on the page.
I’m thankful for bedtime stories,
for four children trying to crowd onto a lap built for one,
for the warm crush of bodies, the awkward page turns,
and for reading until my voice gets scratchy and their eyelids grow heavy.
I’m thankful for the bits and pieces that stay with me always,
for “Did you ever hear of Mickey?”
and “In the great green room,”
for “Dogs in cars going away, going away fast,”
and all the other timeless fragments that will still float lightly off my tongue long after my babies aren’t babies anymore.
I’m thankful for old favorites,
and for the invitation to read the same sweet stories “again” and “again” and yet “again”
until they become woven through the fabric of my mind.
I’m thankful for new favorites,
for the thrill and delight of seeing, touching, hearing
something entirely unremembered.
I’m thankful for the simple books
that invite even reluctant children to begin lifelong friendships with words and letters and ideas.
I’m thankful for the complicated books
that invite them to sprawl across the carpet on their bellies —
noses inches from the page —
and stare, and stare, and stare.
I’m thankful for the books that make us laugh together,
and — even — for the ones that make us cry.
I’m thankful for the books that help us grow —
that stretch us, teach us, and inspire us,
that help us begin to catch a glimpse of how big and strange and wonderful the world really is.
I’m thankful for all the picture books I never have outgrown
and never will.
About Rachel in Review:
Life for this kid lit enthusiast and working mother of four can be messy. Confusing. Painful. Funny. Breathtakingly beautiful.
Enter the Eerdmans books. So, so many of our books, whether they’re bedtime books for babies or coming-of-age novels for young adults, seem to have a single uncannily common quality about them: they just fit. These wise, wonderful books somehow manage to tie into — and by so doing, help me sort out — the knotty complexities of life as I actually experience them.