Title: Tiny Wonders
Author and Illustrator: Sally Soweol Han
Publisher: University of Queensland Press – UQP
Publication date: 1 February 2022
Themes: Hope, patience, flowers, beauty, joy, Grandmothers, slowing down, community and action.
Additional notable information: Teachers’ Notes can be downloaded from the UQP website here.
Tiny Wonders by Sally Soweol Han is an uplifting picture book that gloriously illustrates the joys, beauty and serenity to be experienced, when one takes the time to slow down and appreciate the ever-present wonders in their environment. It is a story about a child, April, daring to dream and believing the dream can be realised with patience, courage and unwavering determination.
April, a keen observer, notices that her town is dreary and full of people who are always rushing about, preoccupied, distracted by devices and consumed by busyness. Her town has no spark, connection or vibrancy, it exudes a heaviness. This sad realisation leads April to question how she could help the people in her community to slow down. Her thoughts turn to her wise and joyful Grandma who she recalls was never too busy. Her grandma told her, “the world is full of wonders”. She also shared with April that flowers have a secret language and dandelions mean happiness. With this pearl of wisdom, April is inspired to learn more about the dandelion. She talks to people in her community about dandelions and one particular response captures her heart and imagination. This then sparks the beginning of a plan that involves a wish, some magic and a whole lot of patience.
April’s persistence and patience does pay off as she makes a beautiful difference in her community – visually, socially and emotionally. The remarkable transformation and what unfolds is pure joy! The residents in the town who were accustomed to monotonous and all-consuming routines now have a reason to pause, to admire the beauty that surrounds them and reflect with happy hearts. April’s transformative actions create a positive ripple effect on the community and empower young readers to be aware of the possibility that their actions can make a difference.
The whimsical and heart-warming illustrations employ a colour palette that is symbolic of the feelings and mindsets in the town. The contrast between the first double page spread and the last is striking. As this story explores April’s perspective the illustrations deftly capture childhood innocence, the awe and wonder that piques children’s curiosity as well as the way children appreciate the tiny wonders with boundless joy and an immense enthusiasm that is contagious.
At the back of the book is a glorious double page vibrant spread that explains the beautiful language of flowers.
This book could inspire readers to conduct their own inquiry about how to transform dull spaces in their community or school to bring joy to others.