Review of My Thoughts Have Wings

My Thoughts Have Wings My Thoughts Have Wings
by Maggie Smith; illus. by Leanne Hatch
Preschool, Primary    Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins    32 pp.
2/24    9780063214583    $19.99

“Not-so-good” thoughts flutter and flap around a child’s head at bedtime: “What if there are spiders in the house? What if I have a scary dream when I fall asleep?” Mom senses these worries and offers a soothing concept: “‘Thoughts are like birds,’ she says. ‘Some fly away quickly…but others build nests in our heads.’” Smith (known for her adult poetry and memoir) thoughtfully uses this comparison to encourage readers not to simply ignore their negative emotions but rather to counter them with happy memories that these birds can use to “build nests.” The specific, affection-infused memories on which the narrator and Mom reflect—catching fish in a creek, eating banana bread still warm from the oven—acknowledge the joy and peace that readers of all ages can find in simple, everyday occurrences. Hatch’s use of hand-painted textures in the digital art enriches the book’s comforting atmosphere, letting warm colors increasingly brighten the at-first gray birds that represent the narrator’s worried thoughts. This book serves as an accessible and empathetic look at the impact that anxiety has on children, while celebrating the loving bond between a mother and child as they choose to face their fears together.

Pubissue-From the March/April 2024 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

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