A girl in a red coat walks through a grey city with her father. Whilst he is busy she picks wildflowers along the roadside. Then she quietly gifts them to others she meets along the way. As the flowers are shared, the colours on the pages bloom & finally at home, the girl tucks a flower behind her own ear. A book to remind us of the wonder to be found in ordinary things & the beauty of small kindnesses.
One of the delights of this story told only in pictures, is the space we have to weave our own words around it. To explore together how it touches us. When our child has experienced relational trauma in the past, we know this will be harder for them than for other children & so we can more actively take the lead.
If our child struggles to articulate their inner world, that lack of self-awareness will make it difficult to understand others, too. In gently creating a narrative for them & asking less questions, we give them ideas to ‘try on for size’ & we reduce the demand on them to initiate answers that they can’t yet find.
We can share our own experience of the illustrations & ‘wonder aloud’ about what might be happening both in the story & for them. In doing so, we are modelling mindsight – the ability to recognise what is going on for us & for others as individuals. Mindsight is a skill that is caught, not taught, so in experiencing our curiosity, acceptance & desire to understand, our child is helped to develop their self-reflexive capacities & empathy.
Sidewalk Flowers is a lovely opportunity to pause & open our hearts to the colour & joy that can be found in simple appreciation of the world, our relationships & ourselves. A chance for our child to see themselves & others through our eyes, with love & compassion.