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Thankful

Illustrated by Samantha Cotterill
LIST PRICE $17.99

Stunning, diorama illustrations bring to life this lullaby of a picture book about celebrating everyday things that make life wonderful.

I am thankful for a home where I am safe and warm.
Thankful for parents who read me stories and comb my hair gently, gently.
Who whisper the same poem every night when they tuck me in.

When the first snow falls, a little girl writes down the things she’s thankful for on strips of paper and links them together. As one idea leads to another, her chain grows longer. There’s so much good in her life: a friend, things that are warm, things that are cold, color, things that can be fixed. This beautiful story is a much-needed reminder to observe and honor life’s small joys.

Photo courtesy of the author

Elaine Vickers is the author of the middle grade novels Like Magic and Paper Chains, which have received starred reviews, Whitney Award nominations, Mighty Girl’s Book of the Year picks, PJ Library licenses, and sold translations in four languages. She is also the author of the forthcoming YA novel, Fadeaway, and picture book, Thankful. In her non-writing life, Elaine teaches college chemistry. She lives with her family in Utah.

Photograph courtesy of the illustrator

Samantha Cotterill has written and illustrated many popular books for children, including the Little Senses series. The Wall Street Journal praised her “fabulously fun artwork” in Jinx and the Doom Fight Crime! by Lisa Mantchev and called it an “exuberant picture book.” She also illustrated Just Add Glitter by Angela DiTerlizzi, which The New York Times called “a sparkle of genius.” Samantha lives with her family in upstate New York. Learn more at SamanthaCotterill.com. 

“This is the coziest book I’ve ever edited. It’s perfect for beginning conversations about everyday things that enrich our lives, things that we often take for granted. The warm text takes the reader through a year, looking for things for which to be grateful: kind teachers, pets, books, family. The art is a conversation-starter on its own! Take the hot air balloons: Sam, the artist, taught herself how to weave them by hand! Truly, this book is so, so special. I hope you and your family enjoy it at bedtime, holiday time, and really, any time.”

—Slyvie F., Senior Editor, on Thankful

A child enumerates all the things to be thankful for throughout the year.

At the beginning of each year, a child starts making a “thankful chain” to last through December, writing on each paper link something to give thanks for. As the child moves through the daily routines, there are many things to be thankful for, both at home and out and about. Though the sentiment is worthy, the text feels more adult-driven than childlike. It is hard to imagine a young child expressing thanks for “love and dreams, night and morning. For a moon and sun that always come back” or saying, “I am thankful for a heart that beats, and every breath, in and out.” Nevertheless, the book could be used as a springboard to help children notice, appreciate, and enjoy the small gifts of life. The illustrations for the book are hand-built 3-D dioramalike sets, made from paper and cardboard, that are quite remarkable. Charming, engaging, and chock-full of little details, they will transfix readers. The family—mother, father, infant sibling, and the narrator—appears to be an interracial one. Mother and children have dark hair and olive skin; the father present White. They and other characters are represented as paper cutouts, drawn with lively lines and colored, then collaged into the scenes. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A visual delight, best used to motivate appreciation of the world around us. (Picture book. 4-8)

– Kirkus Reviews, August 1, 2021

More books from this illustrator: Samantha Cotterill