The Children’s Book Review | October 26, 2018
Mary Lyn Ray’s Selfie with The Thank You Book
When I start to write a story, I don’t usually begin with an idea or someone’s suggestion. Instead, something that seems to have story around it pulls me in, and from what attaches to that I discover what it’s about. So when my editor asked if I might write a book for young readers about gratitude, that was different. I sat a long time with blank paper. How to even introduce this word that’s not in our first vocabulary? But if “gratitude” isn’t, “thank you” is; and with that I found a way in. Now, here’s the book—twined around a child’s day, a child’s year, and their place in the world they are part of.
This is not, however, a book of manners. Nor is it really anything that has to be taught. In the privacies of their lives, children often feel already a certain “happy little hum” of gratitude but may not know the name of what they’re feeling. Or they may not go through a day thinking about it. In celebration of glue and glitter, laps and books, zippers when warm days turn cold, as well as this earth we ride on, family and home, and all else we say a thank you for, this book invites that.
Mary Lyn Ray’s Shelfie
Books outgrew my library shelves, so they’re all through the house. The ones you see here are mostly poetry and books about a sense of place. Poetry is necessary to me, reminding me of what the heart can know and where we can ride language to. And place? From my earliest memory, that was my first subject, when I was first looking around at the world. And some place is often where my stories have their beginnings.
To the right, in the next room, is my piano–almost the only thing shiny in my house. To the left, at the far end of the table, are windows that look out on fields and woods and stonewalls. Usually my camera is on the table. And, always, something to write on and write with. Because looking, listening, waiting, windows, piano, and writing (besides the stuff of a life–and my dog!) are what shape my days.
Written by Mary Lyn Ray
Illustrated by Stephanie Graegin
Publisher’s Synopsis: Perfect for fans of Margaret Wise Brown and Pat Zietlow Miller’s Be Kind, The Thank You Book explores the many ways of being thankful that can fill a child’s day. Timely, wise, and accessible, the poetic text and tender illustrations celebrate the powerful impact gratitude can have on our lives.
Thank you isn’t just for learning manners.
It’s also for when something wakes a
little hum—a little happy hum—inside you
and you want to answer back.
The Thank You Book explores the many ways we can be thankful for the pleasures great and small that await us every day. Tender and poetic, it reflects on the role gratitude can play in our lives and celebrates the powerful impact it can have on us.
Ages 4-7 | Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers | September 4, 2018 | ISBN-13: 978-0544791367
About the Author
Mary Lyn Ray has written many acclaimed books for children, including New York Times best-seller Stars, illustrated by Marla Frazee; Pumpkins, illustrated by Barry Root; and Red Rubber Boot Day and Mud, both illustrated by Lauren Stringer. She lives in South Danbury, New Hampshire. Visit her online at marylynray.com.
Discover more books like ‘The Thank You Book,’ written by Mary Lyn Ray and illustrated by Stephanie Graegin, by checking out our reviews and articles tagged with Gratitude, Picture Book, and Thanksgiving; and be sure to follow along with our Selfie and a Shelfie series.