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FINDING GRATEFUL by Dianne White Kirkus Star


by Dianne White ; illustrated by Faith Pray

Pub Date: April 16th, 2024
ISBN: 9781797211237
Publisher: Chronicle Books

In a busy city, a mother and child go on a meditative journey.

The title spread depicts the two protagonists, both beige-skinned and brown-haired, looking distressed as their car emits smoke. Soon, the two leave the broken-down vehicle, and Mama, undaunted, leads her apprehensive child on an impromptu adventure through the city. Worry is replaced by curiosity as the child narrates their experience. “Mama says: / you don’t need a map / to find grateful,” the little one tells us. “Grateful means / noticing / this thing / that thing / anything, really”—bending down to touch bright yellow flowers poking out from the gray sidewalk, smiling and waving to a friendly stranger, enjoying the cool spray of a sprinkler, chasing a boisterous puppy…even taking a tumble that causes sore knees and some tears. Comforted by Mama, the resilient little one continues to explore and then reflects on the simple moments of the day. Perhaps the young narrator has found “grateful” after all. White’s spare, lilting prose evokes the playfulness of this unexpected day with age-appropriate whimsy, using language such as “I tiptoe-lean” and “I stand tree-still.” Pray complements the text with soft, curved lines, a delicate pastel palette of pinks, blues, and greens, and varying perspectives that pinpoint tiny luminous details amid a bustling environment. This one’s just right for social-emotional storytimes.

A pitch-perfect introduction to gratitude, reflection, and the art of noticing.

(Picture book. 2-5)