Griffin, Molly Beth

Ten Beautiful Things

(2) K-3 Illustrated by Maribel Lechuga. We don't know why Lily is going to live with her grandmother in rural Iowa, but we join her as she begins the long car ride there, roof and backseat piled high with suitcases and boxes. Lily has emotional scars that manifest in a forlorn expression, bellyaches, and "hollow places" inside her. Gram drives through the night and into the next day (seemingly unfazed), and charges Lily to "find ten beautiful things along the way." Initially, Lily replies, "There's nothing beautiful here," but then she and Gram begin to identify things: a sunrise, a windmill farm, a red-winged blackbird, as well as the smell of mud and a "falling-apart barn." Richly colored mixed-media illustrations offer views from multiple vantage points: we see the view from inside the car; the car from high above; Lily in Gram's rear-view mirror. This simultaneously heartbreaking and reassuring book acknowledges the realities of grief ("None of this was easy"), the slow process of healing ("Maybe it would never be easy"), and hope ("She belonged with Gram now. She belonged here now").


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