Sidewalk Flowers by JonArno Lawson and Sydney Smith

Inspired by the author’s own experience with his daughter, this heartwarming wordless picture book centres on a little girl taking a stroll home with her father after a grocery run. But, despite walking side by side, what they each see and experience along the way cannot be more different.

While her oblivious father is preoccupied with his mobile phone, the little girl is quietly collecting — and then thoughtfully giving away — the pretty little weeds and wildflowers that she picks from the cracks in the pavement.

Beautifully illustrated, the spots of colour on otherwise monochromatic townscapes are a clever way to shine a spotlight on the girl and accentuate the things that catch her eye (and, belatedly, ours). As the story progresses, the purposefully incremental use of colours also subtly illustrates the lasting positive impact that little acts of kindness can have.

Children are naturally inquisitive, observant and empathetic, and this quietly evocative picture book is a poetic celebration of their ability to see the extraordinary in the ordinary, and to feel for even the smallest creatures. Like someone once said, through the eyes of a child, you will see the world just as it ought to be.

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