I love to find children’s books that explore thought-provoking issues and encourage philosophical inquiry, promoting the mindfulness that can be so lacking in a full and busy life.
Full of beautiful pictures that reflect her dedication to the children of the Shanti Bhavan Children’s Project in India, the author, Monisha Vasa, defines the word ‘Gratitude’ through a young hyena’s words as he lies in his mother’s embrace.
‘Gratitude is a big word that means something very simple. Gratitude is about saying our thank yous.’
So begins a series of lovely illustrations and simple text which explore and express gratitude for the many things we might just take for granted, but which with a little more thought we might learn to appreciate and in so doing enrich our lives; food, warmth, love, the light in someone’s eyes, the plants, the animals, togetherness – so many ideas!
As the book concludes once again with the mother and her young hyena, asking ‘What do YOU say thank you for today?’ I can imagine a classroom of youngsters filled with ‘hands up’, desperate to get their teacher’s attention and bursting to tell everyone what they are grateful for.