Children's Book Review: I'm Thankful Each Day

On January 29, 2013 I met my daughter Lily for the first time and I introduced her to the book I'm Thankful Each Day by P.K. Hallinan. I remember browsing the children's section of the local bookstore with my husband, as we were often found during those days of waiting, shopping for special gifts. With tear streaked faces, we would browse the shelves for anything to connect us to our daughter. Those days were some of the hardest, filled with joy, sadness, worry, anticipation, and hope, all bundled together into one tightly wrapped package.

As I picked the book off the shelve, the illustration on the cover caught my attention immediately. There stood a little boy, arms stretched to the sky, a smiling face, the sun shining behind him, his bare feet planted in the ground, and 4 birds flying in the air. If the book cover had a voice, I believe it would say "Life is JOY!"

During the months prior to traveling to China, I would often sit in Lily's room, rocking in her glider, reading this little book silently to myself. Leaving behind drops of tears, I flipped through the pages to find so much comfort in the words and pictures. I'm Thankful Each Day allowed my mind to wander to a place where I held Lily in my arms, a place where we were together, finally.

On the day we were scheduled to meet Lily for the first time, we gathered her special items together, not really knowing what she would want or need. Lying next to the crib was the little book, waiting for her little eyes and hands to explore the pages, and to enter a life of joy and gratitude.

As I read aloud I'm Thankful Each Day to Lily for the first time, I watched as her curious eyes wandered back and forth from the pages to me. Even though my voice was foreign to her, I felt as though she understood the story and mostly, I felt as though she understood me, her mother. During those moments, I felt a surge of emotions. I felt a connection to my daughter, that can't be expressed in words, one that travels back to many lives before this one. I felt her soul. I felt thankful.

I'm Thankful Each day has truly touched my heart, unlike any other children's book. I found it difficult to express here, in words, how much this book guided me during an excruciating wait, one where time seemed to stand still. The story is of a little boy, expressing his gratitude for life, through every season of change, with a joyful rhyme, that is hard to forget. This book will forever be a classic in my eyes. 

Today, January 29, 2014, we celebrated a year with Lily. This afternoon I asked her if she wanted me to read the special little book to her. She immediately replied "No, Mama." She took the book out of my hands, flipped through the pages, and read her own little version of the story, like most 2 year olds do.

I'm Thankful Each Day
Author: P.K. Hallinan
Publisher: Ideals Publishing (2001)
Age Range: 1-6 years old

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