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The Children's Bookshelf: My Thoughts Have Wings - April 28, 2024

My Thoughts Have Wings written by Maggie Smith and illustrated by Leanne Hatch is sweetly told in both words and pictures as a little girl tells her mother how troublesome it is for her to fall asleep at night.

“Sometimes when I go to bed, my body is calm and still, but my mind feels busy and loud!” Mom tucks her in with her bunny companion, but her worried face tells the reader that she is not comfortable.

When Mom closes the door, the little girl talks directly to the reader. “When my mom turns off the light, my thoughts stay on…” She fears that spiders are under her bed and monsters are not far off. Mom then tells her that her head is a beautiful place and that is why fears stay a while before sprouting wings and moving on.

The illustrations of the girl playing with friends, going to the beach, catching fish, flying kites in the park, and even eating banana bread in her kitchen with her mom are full of beautiful colors and interesting details. By the end of this book the little girl learns that scary things do not rule the night forever.

My Thoughts Have Wings written lyrically by Maggie Smith and illustrated digitally using hand printed textures by Leanne Hatch is perfect for children 4-8 years of age. (Balzer and Bray/ an imprint of Harper Collins) 2024.

The Children’s Bookshelf is a production of WCMU. Links to the podcast and the Activity Questions can be found at Children’s Bookshelf dot org.

Activity Questions for My Thoughts Have Wings
In the opening spread you can see a board on the wall of the little girl’s bedroom. Study it. Then identify the 11 items on this board. Next, draw a picture of the board in your bedroom or the board you would like to have in your bedroom. Include the people, the food, and the games you enjoy.

Study the picture of the bird sleeping atop the little girl’s head. If you were to give this picture a title, what would it be? Now draw a picture of you sleeping with a bird on your head!


Sue Ann Martin is professor emerita of Communication and Dramatic Arts and the founding and past Dean of the College of Communication and Fine Arts at Central Michigan University, Mt. Pleasant, Michigan. She first became interested in children’s literature when she wrote her PhD thesis on the oral characteristics of the Caldecott Award-winning children’s books. Her PhD is in Speech and Interpretation with a cognate in Early Childhood Education. She went on to review children’s books for the Detroit Free Press, write three popular resource books for teachers regarding children’s books and the creative process. She also reviewed newly-published books for Arts Almanac specials on WCMU Public Radio. Her 2002 children’s books special for WCMU won a Merit Award in Special Interest Programming from the Michigan Association of Broadcasters.