4 months ago · Leah Fogt · 0 comments
“Something Beautiful” by Sharon Dennis Wyeth, illustrated by Chris K. Soentpiet is a poignant picture book that I was first introduced to years ago. I was working as a clinical intern at the Lt. Joseph P. Kennedy Institute in Washington DC, and one of the staff members shared it with me. I have used the book in my practice with adults and children ever since, as it tells a story of resilience, mindfulness, and gratitude.
The story is of a little girl growing up in a neighborhood where she sees a lot of things that are not so lovely: brick walls, broken glass, litter, graffiti, homelessness, and dangerous dark alleys. Then at school she learns to spell the word, “beautiful” and subsequently goes on a scavenger hunt through her little world, asking people to help her find “a something beautiful.” Various people share examples of ways they recognize beauty in their daily lives, and our little protagonist discovers ways to find beauty and create positive change. She even makes discoveries about her own beauty.
Themes of connection, friendship, hope, and resilience permeate this story, which both acknowledges the presence of ugliness in our world but celebrates the enduring beauty that can be found despite i
At a time when we are seeing a lot of fear, hatred, anger, violence, intolerance, disease, and death, I find this inspiring children’s book especially meaningful. It offers a reminder to readers, both young and old, that beauty in not lost in times of hardship. Going further, we are invited to participate in healing, positive change, and connection.
When I share this story with my clients, I typically encourage them to spend some time looking for the beautiful things in their world. Sometimes the answers are obvious, but other times we have to look really hard. However bleak it may seem, glimmers or hope and hidden treasures can still be found. It’s an exercise in mindful awareness and gratitude.
Making my own way through a very challenging time, I find myself searching for “a something beautiful” and feeling encouraged when I discover them. Below are a few examples of beautiful things that have been uplifting to me in recent weeks.
I give this book an A+.
What I love about “Something Beautiful” is that it is not a fluffy, saccharine story that tells children (and adults) that the world is all bubbles and sunshine. It acknowledges that there is ugliness in this world. It validates that life is hard and downright scary sometimes, but Wyeth and Sointpiet help us to remember that all is not lost, even in the darkest times. There is a great deal of beauty to be found, and I believe when we find beauty we can help it grow, as the little girl in the story does.
Soentpiet’s illustrations are very artfully done, depicting the realities of our world, celebrating diversity, and highlighting the human spirit. Wyeth’s simple and direct story telling inspires, brings a smile, and encourages gratitude.
The book itself is “something beautiful.”
Wyeth, S. D. (2002). Something Beautiful. New York: Random House USA Inc.
Categories: Book Review