Ten Beautiful Things
by Molly Beth Griffin
illustrated by Maribel Lechuga
review copy via the public library
FIRST THE PICTURE BOOK
Lily doesn’t want to live in Iowa with her grandmother, but as they drive, they play a game where they try to find ten beautiful things, which brings them home. I love that this book doesn’t explain why Lily needs to live with her grandmother, and it doesn’t even get them inside the front door at the end, so we don’t know for sure what her new life will be like in Iowa. This is very much a book about focusing on the present, and mindfully finding beauty around us, in spite of what might be going on inside us.
AND NOW THE POEMPAIR
This book with its list of ten beautiful things seemed to want a list poem as its pair. An excellent mentor text for list poems is, of course, FALLING DOWN THE PAGE: A BOOK OF LIST POEMS, ed. Georgia Heard. This poem was inspired by our recent drive from OH to CO and back.
Things To Do If You Are A Road Trip Perch hawks on fence posts. Pinwheel the wind farms. Create curiosity with road cuts. When a trailer tire ahead shreds let all who follow dodge the pieces. Conveniently space rest stops and gas stations. And as for destinations, if they do not include the open arms of family or friends, make every traveler feel welcome. ©Mary Lee Hahn, 2021
It’s important to remember that the privilege of a road trip has not been/is not now equally accessible. After spending some time enjoying this book, make sure to explore the history of The Green Book, or The Negro Motorist Green Book. This guide was published (starting in 1936) during the Jim Crow era until just after the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (in 1967) to give African American travelers a list of safe places to get gas or service, eat a meal, or spend a night. Jim Crow was a system of open and often legal discrimination against African Americans, who were frequently refused by white-owned businesses the selling, servicing, or repairing of their cars (often bought to eliminate the segregation experienced on public transportation). African American travelers were denied food or accommodation, and their safety was at risk in “sundown towns” where there was a possibility of physical violence. The Green Book gave Black travelers the same kind of safe path through the United States (and later abroad) that earlier publications provided for Jewish travelers.
Christie has this week’s Poetry Friday Roundup at Wondering and Wandering, along with a FANTASTIC crowd-sourced “Poetry Is” poem (facepalm…I forgot to submit a line).