islandparent Things To Do Reading Grumbly Glasses & Humble Hearts

Grumbly Glasses & Humble Hearts

As the characters in this month’s selection can assure you, it’s easy to fall into patterns because the ways we’ve always done things are comforting and consistent. It isn’t easy for us to swallow our pride, admit we were wrong, and make a new choice. But this selection of stories will show you and your children that change—while it might be uncomfortable and squishy at first—is possible, and it can lead to so much more joy and contentment than you thought possible.

Often we can make changes on our own, with a bit of encouragement from those who love us, like Scarlett does in in Scarlett’s Spectacles by Janet Surette and illustrated by Shane Crampton (B&H Kids, 2019). This adorably illustrated story is about a young red-headed girl who complains about everything—going to bed, having a bath, cleaning her room. Even going to the park is not enough to make her smile.

One day Scarlett’s mom reminds her “Everyone has glasses: a glad and grumbly pair. And every day it’s up to us to choose the pair we’ll wear.”

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At first, Scarlett is unconvinced and continues to choose her grumbly glasses, but what her mother said gets her thinking about whether or not she could be happy just by choosing to be. For ages 3 to 5.

We might make changes after stepping back and trying to see the situation from someone else’s perspective as happens in Now? Not Yet? By Gina Perry (Tundra, 2019). Moe and Peanut are going on a camping trip. Moe wants to go for a hike and set up camp first; Peanut wants to go swimming, and finds it hard to wait. The two friends get into a fight, with Moe storming off on his own. While Moe is gone, Peanut has the chance to think about what happened, and looks at their camping trip from Moe’s perspective. For ages 3 to 7.

King Mouse by Cary Fagan and illustrated by Dena Seiferling (Tundra, 2019), also highlights the importance of paying attention to the feelings and emotions of others. In this story, a mouse wakes up one morning to look for food. Instead of something to eat, he finds a crown. When he puts it on his head a bear lumbers by and asks if he’s a king. Mouse thinks about it for a moment before saying yes. All of the other animals begin celebrating mouse, until all but one of them finds a crown. For ages 3 to 7.

The Little Pink Rosebud was originally by Sara Cone Bryant but has been retold by Jennifer Shard with the help of Sally Garland’s illustrative talents (Flowerpot Press, 2019). In this story, the Little Pink Rosebud is perfectly content to remain exactly where she is. She wants nothing more than to spend her entire life in her cozy home underground. It isn’t until the Sun and the Rain start knocking on her door and window that she considers venturing out of her secure surroundings to see what else the world holds in store for her. For ages 3 to 7.

Sometimes, our circumstances and the world around us catch up to us and force us to change like the hedgehog in in Hedge Hog by Ashlyn Anstee (Tundra, 2018). In this story, all of the animals are getting ready for winter. Unfortunately, all of the cozy burrows and holes fill up so not everyone has somewhere to stay. One by one these worried creatures ask the hedgehog if they can share his hedge for the winter.

The hedgehog is not okay with this and throws tantrum after tantrum every time he is asked. The cold creatures do find a place with the grasshopper under the hedge. But, in his anger, the hedgehog destroys his home, and now he has to find a place for winter. For ages 3 to 7.

As you and your kids take time to enjoy these stories and the last days of this weird summer, try to enjoy the small things, to see things from someone else’s perspective, and to remember that a change of heart can refresh you and revitalise your relationships with others.

Christina Van Starkenberg
Christina Van Starkenburg lives in Victoria with her husband, children, and cat. She is the author of One Tiny Turtle: A Story You Can Colour and many articles. To read more of her work and learn about her upcoming books, check out her website at