Thursday, March 31, 2022

TEN BEAUTIFUL THINGS by Molly Beth Griffin & Maribel Lechuga - a book about feelings and appreciating the world


Why this book?

If my children were younger, this would definitely be a book I'd want to keep on our bookshelves to return to over and over again. As a person who is always looking for the small joys in life, I really connected with the idea of finding "ten beautiful things" in the world. This is a lovely story that shows us how looking for the positives and small joys in life can help with the anxiety and fear that comes with big changes -- or even with the ups and downs of everyday life.

My thoughts as a creator:

One of the things I enjoyed about this book was the way the author used all the senses for different perspectives on “beautiful things.” It was sweet the way Gram began choosing the things and then Lily joined in with her own ideas – which Gram accepted. The relationship between Gram and Lily showed love and care and respect. So much to love about this story!!

I also loved the sense of place all around them as they travelled, created by the lovely illustrations. I especially liked the way light and shadow added an additional level of realism to the computer-generated illustrations. It was wonderful to see that the body shapes of the characters were realistic and not idealized.


My thoughts as an educator:

I liked the thought-provoking distinction made between “pretty” and “beautiful.” This would be interesting to discuss with students, especially in light of the idea that beauty depends on the beholder.

It was wonderful to see that the body shapes of the characters were depicted realistically and not idealized. This book made me think about people in my own life I can rely on for support – another great subject for classroom discussion.

Ages: 5-9

Grades: Suitable for K - 5

Connections: life changes, feelings, positivity, small joys of life


Writing: Have each student create their own list of ten beautiful things or create a class list of beautiful things. A class activity could be to create a calendar or classroom tree where each day, a different child records one “beautiful thing” they noticed that day.

Social-Emotional Learning: Discuss the difference between “pretty” and “beautiful”? What things make you feel beautiful inside? What things do you think are beautiful?  Have students draw a picture or make a mind map to show all the things that they think are beautiful.

Social-Emotional Learning Challenge: Have students think about and share  their responses with partner: How do you cope with difficult emotions or challenges? Use art materials of their choice to create their own “beautiful thing” that shows their feelings.

Outdoor Learning: Take students on a nature walk or a walk around the neighbourhood. Have them use their five senses to discover the world around them on the walk, for example, the smell of cut grass or the sound of boots crunching on snow. What beautiful things will did they find?

More resources:

Here’s an interview with author Molly Beth Griffin and book publisher Yolanda Scott.


Here's another take on this book by author Pat Zietlow Miller at Picture Book Builders:

Summary from the publisher:

Lily and her grandmother search for ten beautiful things as they take a long car ride to Iowa and Lily's new home with Gran. At first, Lily sees nothing beautiful in the April slush and cloudy sky. Soon though, Lily can see beauty in unexpected places, from the smell of spring mud to a cloud shaped like a swan to a dilapidated barn. A furious rainstorm mirrors Lily's anxiety, but as it clears Lily discovers the tenth beautiful thing: Lily and Gran and their love for each other.

Ten Beautiful Things leaves the exact cause of Lily's move ambiguous, making it perfect for anyone helping a child navigate change, whether it be the loss of a parent, entering or leaving a foster home, or moving.

Ten Beautiful Things, written by Molly Beth Griffin and illustrated by Maribel Lechuga, was published by Charlesbridge in 2021.


  1. This sounds like a lovely book to share with kids. And I'm pleased that it depicts a relationship between a child and her grandmother. I also am a fan of ambiguity in picture books, since it leaves children space to fill in the story on their own. Great rec!

  2. Never too early to teach kids about the beauty and joy in our world. And I'm a suck for intergenerational stories. Who better than to teach wisdom to a child than a grandmother. Enjoyed the video. Am adding this to my wish list. Thank you for sharing!

  3. I wish this book had been around when my kids were young. What a great way to deal with all the uncertainty and change these days. Great activities, Andrea. Thanks for hightlighting it.

  4. I love the idea of looking for ten beautiful things ... it would make a great theme for a nature walk, too.

  5. This sounds like a fabulous book. Adding it to my list. Love the cover and the discussion points. Thanks for sharing. :)


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