Ten Beautiful things

Life is always changing, and sometimes, change is hard. In Ten Beautiful Things, we learn how finding beauty in our surroundings can make things easier.

The story starts with an illustration on the title page. Here, we see a grandmother loading up her car with suitcases and a moving box. A little girl with a backpack and a stuffed animal sits on a box marked “stuff.” She looks sad about moving.

When the trip begins, Lily, the little girl, looks at a map to find her new home in Iowa. She is moving in with her grandmother. To help Lily feel better, Gram suggests they look for ten beautiful things while they travel. The first thing they witness is a gorgeous sunrise. This helps Lily feel better for a few moments, but then sadness creeps in again.

Staying in the game, Lily finds beauty in the wind turbines along the road. Then, she spots a colorful bird. Gram counts the sound of moving water from a creek to their list. Lily adds the rich smell of mud.

Appreciating beauty gives Lily moments of peace. But she still feels hollow and queasy.

When Gram turned onto the last road, a magnificent storm filled the sky. They marveled at the dark swirling clouds and bolts of lightning. The beautiful strength of nature filled Lily with awe. She also realize how grateful she was to have her grandmother.

When they pulled up to Gram’s house, Lily realized they only found nine beautiful things. Gram gives her a hug and tells her what the tenth thing is. I’ll leave it at that so I don’t spoil the ending for you.

What I love about this book is that Lily keeps looking for beauty even though it only gives her moments of peace. At the end of the story, Lily is still not all that happy. She recognizes that her new situation will not be easy, but she finds strength in the love from her grandmother.

Lesson Activity for Ten Beautiful Things

AASL Standards Framework for Learners: Curate/Think IV.A.1 Learners act on an information need by determining the need to gather information.

Ask volunteers to share a time when they had to make a big change. How did they adapt to their new circumstances? Did someone help them feel better?

Discuss the strategy Gram used to help Lily. Explain that finding beauty in our surroundings can help us regulate our emotions. Tell learners that today, they will make a zine; or a small magazine. They will use the zine to jot down the beautiful things they see throughout their day. A zine is small enough to keep in pockets. This provides easy access to review things of beauty whenever they feel sad, anxious or overwhelmed.

Watch this video to learn how to make a zine without scissors, tape or staples:

More Books About Finding Beauty in Nature

Want to find more books that inspire readers to appreciate nature? Click here to find lesson ideas that will fill readers with awe.

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Cover of the book Lessons Inspired by Picture Books for Primary Grades by Maureen Schlosser and Rebecca Granatini.

If you like these lesson ideas, please take a look at our book, Lessons Inspired by Picture Books for Primary Grades. This resource includes ready-to-go lesson plans that meet the standards. Worksheets, assessments and rubrics are included

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