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Sidewalk Flowers

4.27  ·  Rating details ·  3,317 ratings  ·  707 reviews
In this wordless picture book, a little girl collects wildflowers while her distracted father pays her little attention. Each flower becomes a gift, and whether the gift is noticed or ignored, both giver and recipient are transformed by their encounter. "Written" by award-winning poet JonArno Lawson and brought to life by illustrator Sydney Smith, Sidewalk Flowers is an od ...more
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published March 1st 2015 by Groundwood Books
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Rosemary Sullivan "The New York Times" review of the book,, recommended ages 3-8. …more"The New York Times" review of the book,, recommended ages 3-8. (less)

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Average rating 4.27  · 
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Nov 19, 2015 rated it really liked it
Really a cute and beautiful picture book. Caught my attention because it was nominated last year by Goodreads. Otherwise I probably would not have found it, it is not my usual type of book.
Without text, it tells the story of a small girl going home with her somewhat distracted father in a big city, while she finds flowers in the sidewalk, collects them and in the end gives those flowers to various beautiful purposes. The use of black and white drawings combined with only the red of her coat, in
Nov 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone
This book has no words.

A little girl in a red coat walks around the city picking flowers from various places, accompanying her very distracted father. At the end, she gives the flowers to different people/things such as
- laying them on a dead bird
- sticking them in a sleeping homeless man's shoe.
- slipping them under a dog's collar.
- When she gets home, putting them in her mother's and little brother's hair, and putting them in her baby sibling's stroller.

The illustrations are a little ugly.
Jun 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
To see this week's Wordless Picture Books, please visit

In this picture book, a little girl takes a walk through the city with her father and while on the journey, she decides to start collecting little wildflowers she discovers along the way. Her father is busy doing his own thing and is quite distracted. By the time they’re about ready to head home, she has collected a beautiful bouquet of flowers. What she decides to do with the flowers on her way back home is touch
Mar 11, 2015 rated it it was amazing
When you live in a city, nature's successes can feel like impositions. We have too many pigeons. Too many squirrels. Too many sparrows, and roaches, and ants. Too many . . . flowers? Flowers we don’t seem to mind as much but we certainly don’t pay any attention to them. Not if we’re adults, anyway. Kids, on the other hand, pay an exquisite amount of attention to anything on their eye level. Particularly if it’s a spot of tangible beauty available to them for the picking. Picture books have so ma ...more
Apr 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books

Sidewalk Flowers is told with no words. A walk with a little girl and her father depicted in pictures. But so many words and emotions flow and move and live on the pages. So many words can be seen in the art, in the colors, in the details, and in the actions of a little girl and her flowers.

Adorable. Kind. Sad. Healing. Caring. Sharing. Heart. And Unforgettable.

The world would be an ugly place without the little acts of kindness. Something as small as a wave or a flower can brighten and affect s
Apr 12, 2017 rated it liked it
I was asked to fill in for an elementary school colleague for grade 1 and 2 yesterday. This was the book chosen for our read aloud. Wordless, Sidewalk Flowers illustrations calls on the young reader to make inferences about the story. Some of the most sensitive children quickly realized the "daddy" character was distracted and not paying attention to his daughter. It was interesting to listen in as the children began to state their opinions on whether that was okay . They all agreed that it was ...more
Jon Nakapalau
May 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A little girl is the only person that takes notice of flowers growing out of the cracks of sidewalks. A beautiful metaphor about our perception and what we notice as we go about our tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow...
Nhi Nguyễn
What a beautiful book! Beautiful story, beautiful illustrations. And powerful too, how small things, small people and small gestures can leave big impact on other people. Sometimes you don't need words to understand the power of a story; you just need pictures and let your heart feel that power. ...more
Alice (Married To Books)
3.5 stars!

This is a picture book with no text, about a young girl who collects flowers and then gives them to other people. One of those people is her Dad, who doesn't want to pay attention to her. I feel this would be a lovely read for children who love to create their own character names or settings. For me as an older reader, I feel like a teeny bit of text would have made me enjoy the story more. Again, this is just personal views!
I'm glad I stopped by the Groundwood booth at ALA midwinter. This is a moving picture book featuring a child noticing others and sharing kindness with them. ...more
Cindy Dobrez
Feb 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing
A wordless reminder to pay attention and that random acts of kindness add color to our world. This book is a gem. This little girl might grow up to be Miss Rumphius! The art is amazing and children and adults will have much to examine, ponder, and discuss after reading this. Who needs May Day baskets when you can tuck flowers in your dog's collar! I'm eager for the snow to melt here so I can look for sidewalk flowers--Queen Anne's Lace is one of my favorites to pick from the roadside. ...more
Gary Anderson
Nov 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing
The artwork in this wordless picture feels like a throwback to iconic classics like Make Way for Ducklings. A young girl walks through the city with her preoccupied father and finds flowers growing through the pavement. There are so many lessons here, but maybe most importantly we're reminded that beauty is always there if we look for it. ...more
Feb 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Ah... this book was describing how I look to this world wordlessly! it is always that the unnoticed is what gives us the most closest sweet and gracious feeling we can ever get.. I hope one day we p[en our eyes and ears to discover and listen devotionly to what god is sending to us.. they may be so close to us that we really don't notice. ...more
Vikki VanSickle
Sidewalk Flowers follows a little girl as she walks through the city with her father. While he spends most of his time on the phone, she collects sidewalk flowers and then gives them out to people and animals she meets along the way. In the beginning, only the girl is in colour- wearing a vivid red cloak- along with the flowers she spots in a black and white city full of black and white people. But as she noticed things- a patterned dress, a vase, a bird- they too become brightly coloured and by ...more
Dave Schaafsma
Nov 05, 2015 rated it really liked it
The whole family will read all these Goodreads Children's Illustrated book nominees for 2015 and rate all of them.

To be fair, I liked this one more than any of the rest of them, so gave it MY rating, but in general, my rating is sometimes affected by the family ratings.

This is a silent or wordless story about a man and his daughter walking through the city and the girl picking wild sidewalk flowers and giving them to various people along the way: a dog, a homeless man sleeping on a bench, and t
Apr 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: children, illustrated
I love this "silent" children's book. I love that it starts out with only the little girl's coat having any color. It's a really cute story about seeing the not always evident beauty around you, about taking time to stop and smell the coffee, and about the love in small gestures.

I wish I could read this to my little niece. We'd have so much fun making up our own dialogue for this.

Love the artwork too.
All books for children need to be this intelligent. So, with no words whatsoever, this book tells the story of a little girl whom walks home with her father one day whom is, alas, on his device the entire time. She holds his hand diligently. With her other hand, she holds the flowers. With her eyes, she sees the city. her father continues to absorb all that technology has to offer. The little girl holds the flowers up, then places them precisely where her father has placed his device; hers is be ...more
Beautifully illustrated wordless picture book. At first it reminded me of The Red Balloon, because initially the little girl's red coat and the flowers are the only colored objects on each page. As the book progresses and she gathers more and more of the sidewalk flowers, her acts of kindness in distributing them make the world more colorful and beautiful; by the time she gets home, the illustrations are in full color. I thought this was a novel approach and applaud the poet-writer, JonArno Laws ...more
Dov Zeller
Nov 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-book, kids
I loved this wordless picture book. Maybe partly because I love the wildflowers that grow in poor soil, and sometimes it seems, no soil (aka citified asters and wood sorrel, pineappleweed and clovers...)

The art is beautiful and the story tender, the use of color fantastic. It is a story about, among other things, the separate worlds inhabited by a kid and her caretaker. A little sad, but also full of wonder.

I highly recommend this book.
Oct 12, 2015 rated it it was amazing

Sidewalk Flowers in a wordless story, and I don't think is a good idea to put it into too many words here. But I wanted to bring this book into your attention because it really worth a try. This story is a tribute to the small gestures that make big differences.

Check out more children's book reviews in my Reviews in Chalk Blog!
Mary Catelli
May 16, 2015 rated it really liked it
A light little wordless picture book.

We follow a little girl as she goes for a walk with her father, and returns; first she notices and picks flowers, and then she distributes them.

Art's nice. Most of it in black and white and gray, with various splashes of color to nice effect.
Nov 04, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Enlarging your world, finding beauty everywhere, showing kindness, warmth... and so much more. This one is really a piece of art that should be shared around the world.
Thing Two
Nov 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: best-of-2015
This is a lovely book where color contrasts with the black and white drawings to bring the story to life. No words necessary!
Laura Harrison
Mar 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Wow! I am not sure where to start with this wordless picture book. A little girl walking in the city with her dad (who seems distracted,oblivious or is just letting his child do her thing) builds a lovely collection of flowers she finds in various nooks and crannies. Bursts of color are added for a flowered dress, glass vases etc. The child gives out the flowers to the homeless, animals (dead and alive), her family and lastly herself. The gifts are transformative. Sidewalk Flowers is one of the ...more
Sue Smith
Nov 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing
A sweet visual story of a little girl that sees the beauty in life that grows between the cracks and alongside ignored spots, and how that beauty can be passed along.

Fantastic use of black and white with - initially - the intermittent scattering of color for emphasis which becomes more and more frequent as the reader sees what she sees. I loved it's subtly.

I also loved the lack of words. As a story book for kids, it has a wealth of opportunity for imaginative storytelling for kids.

Lovely, lovel
Apr 16, 2015 rated it it was amazing
There seems to be a theme in children's picture books lately of recognizing the beauty in urban environments. This wordless book is a wonderful addition to the theme. ...more
Alyson (Kid Lit Frenzy)
I have read this one many times. I love this beautiful and touching story.
Mission Blue
Jan 21, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Our world is all about small things, small people and small gestures.
Apr 13, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: graphic-novels
1. What makes this novel somewhat difficult is that there are not any words besides the title. It is up to the reader to interpret the events and meaning behind the images. Luckily, the images move at a slow pace and are easy to analyze and follow. The story follows a little girl as she walks with her dad through the city. Dad is constantly distracted or focused on getting home, while she is noticing the details along the way. She starts to pick up flowers on the walk and slowly gives them away ...more
Mar 06, 2015 rated it it was amazing
In Sidewalk Flowers, a girl and her father go on a walk in the city, but this one has a different feel to it–there is a push and pull of the father’s hurried, purposeful walk and the girl’s wide-eyed, attentive stroll. The wordless book shows a father (rendered in black and white) who is disengaged with his kid for a good part of the story–for the first half, he’s often looking at or talking on his phone or distractedly walking ahead while the child (whose bright red jacket, recalling Little Red ...more
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JonArno is the author of two books of poetry for adults, Love is an Observant Traveller and Inklings, as well as a contributor for The Chechens: A Handbook. The Man in the Moon-Fixer's Mask is his first book for children. He lives in Toronto, Canada, with his wife and two children. ...more

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