Hoo-boy, the books in my TBR pile have been stacking up since "Junior" was born, but a sprained ankle forced me to take a break this weekend, enabling me to put a dent (a small one) in the pile. Many book lovers can relate to the feeling you get when you pick up a book that's remained un-read for whatever reasons and falling in love with it. It's like finding $10 in the laundry (heck, I'm excited when I find $1.)
Anyway, Pat Mora's Gracias / Thanks
has been hiding in the middle of my TBR pile for months, and the minute I read the first page, I felt like I'd hit the jackpot. In the book, a young boy thanks the big and small things in his life. For example, "For the ladybug that landed on my finger, a little red flying surprise, thanks," or "For my family, who clapped and clapped even when I tripped on the stage in my school play, thanks." The book is written in both Spanish and English, making it perfect for a bilingual family or children learning either English or Spanish.
To say it's heartwarming and inspiring is an understatement. I've seen similar books that are very cheesy (trust me...I abhor "cheesy"), but the language, the things and people the little boy thanks, and Jon Parra's warm illustrations make it very "uncheesy." You don't feel like you're being taught a lesson or talked down to.
As I was reading it, I found myself smiling and thinking about things I was grateful for like my daughter who drew me a picture to make me feel better when I hurt my ankle. Books like these can lead to wonderful discussions with your kids (or students if you're a teacher) and help everyone take a step back from the daily grind to think about what they're grateful for in their lives.
Have children make their own "Gracias/Thanks" books. If your students or their family members speak another language at home, have them write in both their home language and English if they are able to.
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- Reading level: Ages 4-8
- Hardcover: 32 pages
- Publisher: Lee & Low Books; Bilingual edition (October 20, 2009)
- Language: English, Spanish
- ISBN-10: 1600602584
- ISBN-13: 978-1600602580
- Source: Review copy from publisher