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Good Day, Good Reads

Posted about 1 month ago by Eric P

Posted in 101 Picture Book Challenge and Children and Parenting | Tagged with animals, early literacy, emotions, feelings, friendship, humorous stories for kids, mood, picture books and stories for children

A Good Day

A Good Day by Kevin Henkes

The most jarring thing about “A Good Day,” by Kevin Henkes, is the first page, the way it begins:

“It was a bad day…”

Kind of seems like false advertising, yeah? I mean, look at the title. The title, Henkes! There were promises made!

But indeed, the first half of the book is all about characters having a real bummer of a day.

But then...

Things get better. And by the end, the way they get better intersects unexpectedly with the events of the first half of the book, an elegant overlap that may satisfy fans of “This is Us” or, depending on your tastes, “Pulp Fiction."

The plot’s overall simplicity is part of the book’s genius. Things were bad, things got better. Meaning what? Things aren’t as bad as you think they are? You should sit tight and wait for improvements to happen? Life is an unpredictable mosaic of suffering and joy? The fact that Henkes doesn’t tell you what it’s all supposed to mean is another part of the book’s genius.

Which is no surprise: writer/illustrator Henkes has a history of folding complicated emotions into deceptively simple narrative packages.

Picture Books by Kevin Henkes

Kitten's First Full Moon by Kevin henkes
Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse by Kevin Henkes
Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes
Wemberly Worried by Kevin Henkes
Old Bear by Kevin Henkes
Egg by Kevin Henkes
My Garden by Kevin Henkes
A Parade of Elephants by Kevin Henkes

Above all, “A Good Day” is not so much about luck or fate or fairness – it’s about feelings. Often feelings are directly influenced by outside circumstances, and sometimes you can control the impact of outside circumstances by managing your reaction to them, but the fact remains that sometimes you’re the little yellow bird who lost his tail feather, and sometimes you’re the little brown squirrel who found the biggest nut ever, and either way, there are going to be feels.

And one of the biggest challenges about being human, at least for those of us who are somewhere roughly between the ages of 2 and 115, is confronting and controlling and understanding our feelings. Good thing there are picture books to help us with that.

Picture Books About Feelings

I Hate Everyone by Naomi Danis
Are You Scared Darth Vader by Adam Rex
I'm Sad by Michael Ian Black
Penguin Problems by Jory John
Grumpy Monkey by Suzanne Lang
The Bad Mood and the Stick by Lemony Snicket
I Love You Like a Pig by Mac Barnett
Mr Particular by Jason Kirchner
Bug in a Vacuum by Melanie Watt
Now by Antoinette Portis
The Heart and the Bottle by Oliver Jeffers
Grump Groan Growl by bell hooks
Crankenstein by Samantha Berger
My Friend is Sad by Mo Willems
Grumpy Gloria by Anna Dewdney

What is the 101 Picture Book Challenge and How Do You Take It?

The 101 Picture Book Challenge is for anyone at any age. Librarians hand picked the titles on the list which includes classics, new titles and everything in between.

To get started, register online. You can track your progress online or if you prefer a paper log booklet, pick one up at your neighborhood Library. The books are organized into categories but you can read the books in any order and at your own pace. When you read all 101 titles, you earn a free picture book (while supplies last).

This is the latest in a series of blog posts exploring some of the things we love about these books.

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