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Ten Beautiful Things

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A heartfelt story of changing perspectives, set in the Midwest. Ten Beautiful Things gently explores loss, a new home, and finding beauty wherever you are.

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 dilapitated 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.

32 pages, Hardcover

First published January 1, 2020

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About the author

Molly Beth Griffin

20 books25 followers
From Molly Beth Griffin's Website: "I am a graduate of Hamline University's MFA program in Writing for Children and Young Adults, and a writing teacher at the Loft Literary Center in the Twin Cities. ... Though my writing reaches across all age groups and genres, it all demonstrates my passion for exploring young people's changing relationship to the natural world."

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5 stars
473 (52%)
4 stars
323 (35%)
3 stars
96 (10%)
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6 (<1%)
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1 (<1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 224 reviews
Profile Image for Natalie  all_books_great_and_small .
2,117 reviews80 followers
December 24, 2020
I received an advance reader copy of this book to read in exchange for an honest review via netgalley and the publishers.

Ten Beautiful Things is a beautifully told story about a little girl who is going to live with her grandma very far away from her home. The story doesn't tell you why this is but this could be a great conversation starter to use with children in therapy or in a class or even with a child at home.
The girl is sad and her grandma decides to play a game in the car - to find ten beautiful things on their journey. The moral of the story is that even though we may not want to do something or even be happy about it, there is beauty, wonderment and amazing things around us that make everything more worth while.
I loved the illustrations and the reference to mindfulness when the little girl stops to inhale the smell of the earth slow and steadily.
A beautiful book for any child and we really do need more books like this in the world today.
Profile Image for Donna Maguire.
4,407 reviews104 followers
January 16, 2021
This was a really beautiful children’s book and I loved it!

The story and the illustrations were wonderful and the book is a one that tugs on the heartstrings. We don't know what has happened to Lily's parents but the book dals with it as a loss and the impact that is on her as she makes a new life away from everything she knew with her grandma.

The book is really well written and it has such a lovely flow to it. . I liked that the book looked at the loss of a parent or what they knew as the norm in this was as it deals with the grief and anxiety from the associated changes too.

I loved the way the book encourages the reader to look around you and that you can find beauty in everything, even when life is hard.

It is 5 stars from me for this one - very highly recommended!
Profile Image for Mid-Continent Public Library.
584 reviews188 followers
April 13, 2021
Lily and Grandma are travelling across Iowa to Lily's new home. It is an anxious time for Lily. She is sure there will be nothing beautiful to see. But she keeps watching and here are some of the beautiful things she sees: the sunrise, a wind farm, a red-winged blackbird, and a gurgly, melting creek. As the trip continues, Grandma and Lily see six more wonderful sights. I love the heartwarming Iowa sights that fill this book. It is also a lovely tribute to the relationship between a grandmother and her dear granddaughter. The way this grandma fills a gap in little Lily's life is beautiful thing #11. * Review by Darla from Red Bridge*
Profile Image for Tarissa.
1,354 reviews80 followers
January 13, 2021
This book is achingly beautiful! It's the story of a little girl who has to go live with her grandmother from now on. (We are not told why, so you can interpret your own reasons.) On the road trip to her grandmother's house, the two of them choose 10 things that they pass by which they deem beautiful, leading right up into the girl's new life. A great book choice if this situation hits close to home for a kid in your life.

Thanks to NetGalley for providing me with a free copy in return for an honest opinion.
Profile Image for Alicia Bayer.
Author 7 books192 followers
January 2, 2021
This is a really lovely children's book, both visually and emotionally. A little girl and her grandmother are driving the long drive to the grandmother's home and the grandmother encourages her to find ten beautiful things on the way. The book doesn't come out and say what's going on and you realize slowly that she is moving to live with her grandmother and clearly anxious and sad, but the grandmother's love and comforting joy help her navigate it. There are so few books dealing with topics like parents' death, foster care and so on, and most try to hit kids on the head with moralizing messages if they do have characters who are dealing with these issues. This one puts the child's circumstances on the back seat and just treats her as a main character learning to see beauty even in sad times and reminds kids that love and beauty can come from many places. Well recommended.

I read a temporary digital ARC of this book for review.
6,297 reviews69 followers
December 8, 2020
This really good book shows a young girl being driven across country to move in with her grandma. We're never told why, although the adults amongst us can guess, all we know is she has a full set of luggage and cases on top of the car and an empty feeling inside, until the elderly lady tells the girl to find ten beautiful things before the journey is over. What we get is a bit too close to mindfulness and all that malarkey at times, but still steers us assuredly towards the natural conclusion the trip needs. The success of this would mean little without strong artwork, but we get that, and even if it kind of goes over-the-top with the four-seasons-in-a-day drama of the visuals at times, this was a great success all told. A strong four stars that will certainly reassure some readers in valuable ways – and still look pretty and dramatic enough for the rest.
Profile Image for Reading_ Tamishly.
4,297 reviews2,293 followers
December 9, 2020
This is the kind of storybook which almost makes you feel sad wanting to know more about why the child character in the storybook seems so sad and bitter but yes, while reading the whole, beautifully illustrated storybook, you would feel the same what the little girl's feeling and you would see things differently when her grandmother shows you not only the pretty things but the most beautiful ones which our eyes can capture.

Thank you, author and the publisher, for the advance reading copy.
6,161 reviews69 followers
December 10, 2020
I really like the artworks of this book! The story is also great, but most of all it is the morale in it, the way it tries to show you how you can beauty in everything and everywhere if you know how to look. Well done!
Profile Image for Erica.
311 reviews
December 10, 2020
This is the book 2020 needs! We should all take a moment and look for and appreciate 10 beautiful things every day! There is beauty everywhere, we just need to stop and look.
5 stars all day long!
Profile Image for Shannon.
620 reviews39 followers
December 10, 2020
This is such a beautiful children’s book, both in the story itself and in the illustrations. The story follows Lily and her Grandma as they travel through Iowa to her Grandma’s house and Lily’s new home. We don’t read the backstory but it would appear that something has happened to Lily’s parents and she is on her way to live with her Grandma. It’s an interesting story, looking at grief and anxiety from a child’s perspective, but also has a great lesson about finding beauty in everything around you, even when it’s hard. And the illustrations are beautiful!

Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for providing me with an ARC.
Profile Image for Hannah.
657 reviews48 followers
February 8, 2021
This is a beautiful expression of loss and grief and filling up those empty spaces within oneself with beauty and joy. And it's told in a simple way to which kids can relate and understand, plus gorgeous illustrations!
Profile Image for Shanna.
212 reviews6 followers
February 23, 2021
What an extraordinary book. I picked this, not expecting much. The artistry is beautiful and I love the theme of a grandmother and granddaughter trying to find the good in every day moments.

Lily does not want to move to her grandma’s house in Iowa. She is nervous of all the changes it will cause. But grandma makes up a car game—“let’s find ten beautiful things,” she tells her—and soon the little girl is seeing the world around her in a new light. A good reminder to all of us that, even in the hardest times, it’s nice to look for the good. #Mindfulness #Grandparents
Profile Image for Rosh.
1,451 reviews1,411 followers
December 10, 2020
Most adults know the challenge of taking a long car journey with a child. Car games are a fun way of keeping the children busy.

Our little lead character in this book, Lily, is also going on a car journey with her grandma to her new home. To keep her attention diverted, Grandma begins the game of finding "Ten Beautiful Things".

Now the most important factor is that Lily is sad but we do not why. Is it because of some death in the family? is it because she doesn't want to leave her old home? Or is she missing her friends? The beauty of this is that the story can be adapted to incorporate any reason for Lily's loss and a beautiful way of dealing with the pain. initially, I wasn't sure why the reason for Lily's sadness had been left unclear but on reading the Goodreads synopsis, I realised that it makes perfect sense to keep the reason hazy. The book can be used by parents/guardians to help children deal with any personal loss or pain.

And what fabulous illustrations! They look as if they have been lovingly drawn with crayons.

I received an advance review copy of the book from NetGalley, and I am leaving this review voluntarily.

Join me on the Facebook group, Readers Forever! , for more reviews, book-related discussions and fun.
Profile Image for Bell Of The Books.
228 reviews2 followers
August 24, 2022
This really was a beautiful story.
We arent informed why Lily has to move to grandmas, but that isn't important to the story.
This quick children's picture book is a good reminder to the adults reading it as well as the littlest listener.
A reminder to focus on what's beautiful even in the middle of ugly moments in our lives.
I love the vocabulary that simplifies our deepest feelings, like:
"Lily felt the complaints starting in her belly again, coming up her throat and nearly out of her mouth."
"Lily popped a handful of crackers into her mouth, but food didn't fill up her hollow places."

As well as reminders to breathe in, ground yourself, focus on one sensory thing.
For Lily that was mud.
"Lily breathed in the mud smell and focused on just that. It poured into some of the empty spaces in her."

And shows that children also struggle with accepting sad things and this book gives them the permission to possibly never fully embrace them.
Lily realizes...."None of this was easy. Maybe it would never be easy. But she belonged with Gma now. She belonged HERE now."

If little Lily can see this and at least come to terms with what life has dealt her, we too can.

This book is just one of the beautiful things about being a reader.
Read it yourself. To yourself. To little ones in your life.
Profile Image for Linda .
3,708 reviews42 followers
February 1, 2021
I suspect when there is something bothering, something sad, reading this book or even taking this idea as one's own, with thanks to Molly Beth Griffin, will be a big help. With Maribel Lechuga's gorgeous illustrations of scene after scene, seeing Lily's and Gram's expressions, the story becomes extra special. For an unexplained reason, it's clear that Lily needs to live with Gram, not a happy thing at all. Lily's hollow chest and other hollow places call for something to fill them up and Gram has just the idea. On this long, sad drive, she calls for a search for ten beautiful things. "Lily gasped. 'There's number one!' she cried." as the sun rises and fills the world with color. Along the way, other hollow spaces don't fill so quickly, but Lily is interested in this game and it helps! Gram spots a wind farm; Lily chooses the smell of mud at a rest stop. It's one special book that's needed for THOSE times
Profile Image for Sandy Brehl.
Author 8 books131 followers
March 23, 2021
The premise of this seemingly simple book is common enough that it should connect with many readers. Young Lily and Gramma as loaded beyond imagining for their cross-country trip to a new home. That opens as a a painful process, from Lily's point of view, from the hollowness that defines her heart, her stomach, her sense of self as this story unfolds. Gram's gentle prompting to focus on finding ten beautiful things engages and extends their combined sense of filling those empty spaces with newfound hope and familiar love. Throughout the book various scenes reflect that hollowness, the filling up, the difference between "pretty" and beautiful, and the remarkably lovely smell of mud.
This is a thoroughly useful mentor text for young (and other!) writers, incorporating figurative language, sensory images, emotional power, and thematic transitions.
Profile Image for Shari.
466 reviews14 followers
January 20, 2021
Thank you to #NetGalley and the publisher for the eARC of this lovely picture book. Wow, there is such a big story tucked in this little book, and the beauty of it is that the story is as big as the reader needs it to be. We see Lily and Gran loading up Gran's car, preparing to travel across the state to Gran's home - Lily's new home. We aren't told the why or how, but Lily's sorrow is as evident as Gran's compassion. Gran suggests they find 10 beautiful things on the way, and their choices along the way mirror the hope that we see growing in Lily's heart as they approach Gran's home. This is a simple story, with few words, but those words are so powerful and able to instill courage in readers who are facing difficult life changes.
Profile Image for Sarah Verno.
98 reviews18 followers
February 27, 2021
Uprooted, displaced, lost, scared. Grief has a horrible way of leaving us feeling incomplete and alone. The thing I loved about this book is that it doesn’t try to be a roadmap for curing children’s heartaches or a guide to protecting them from ever feeling hurt. Instead, it acknowledges the continuous presence of grief as the girl journeys with her grandmother toward a new home, and celebrates the moments of relief she experiences when she discovers unexpected beauties along the way.

The choice of the grandmother and girl to intentionally look for beautiful things in the midst of their pain doesn’t downplay or erase their feelings but rather it simply helps them to keep looking forward, as if they are learning to breathe again.
Profile Image for Pam.
642 reviews
November 24, 2021
This is a lovely book about a little girl whose life is obviously being upended as she travels with her grandmother to go and live with Grandma on her farm. The reader doesn’t learn about the circumstances that cause this change in the child’s life, but to ease her anxiety, Grandma says they should find Ten beautiful things as they take this road trip. They find sweet and gentle things to admire, as well as experiences that fill their senses (impressive thunderstorm and the rich, earthy smell of damp mud). The tenth beautiful thing is the love they have for each other, so the book ends on a hopeful note.
Profile Image for Holly Mueller.
2,197 reviews
June 13, 2021
Gosh - this book so lovingly embraces a young girl's emotions - sadness, loneliness, love, hope. We don't know why Lily is moving in with her grandmother, but we know she has experienced great loss. Her grandmother wisely and quietly helps her think about beauty and hope by gently suggesting, "Let's try to find ten beautiful things along the way". Despite her initial reluctance, Lily finds them, even #10. A tribute to the healing power of nature and love.
Profile Image for Becky Loader.
1,725 reviews14 followers
June 18, 2021
Lovely story, but the illustrations were not as appealing as I thought they would be.
Profile Image for Elise.
386 reviews
November 19, 2022
A sweet story about a little girl who has to move in with her grandmother. Gram helps her find beauty even in her sadness.
3,224 reviews27 followers
December 18, 2020
Sad that stories like this are needed , but they are as so many grandparents are raising their grandchildren. It's not stated why the child is going to live with her grandmother, but she's sad and her grandmother is trying very hard to keep the move light and happy by looking for ten beautiful things on the way to her home on a farm in Iowa. Child is skeptical that there will be ten things, but grandmother gets her started and before long they arrive home to their new lives. Lovely tale. Would make a good read to a child in similar circumstances I would think. Illustrations were wonderful.

I received a Kindle arc from Netgalley in exchange for a fair review.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 224 reviews

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