My Thoughts Have Wings

by Maggie Smith (Author) Leanne Hatch (Illustrator)

My Thoughts Have Wings
Reading Level: 2nd − 3rd Grade

Maggie Smith, bestselling author of the viral poem "Good Bones" and the memoir You Could Make This Place Beautiful, delivers a lyrical and reassuring picture book perfect for calming active minds at bedtime (or anytime).

At bedtime, when lights go out...sometimes thoughts stay on.

Scary things and worries flutter and flap around. It's so hard to sleep!

But a little imagination (and a lot of love) can create a cozy nest for happy thoughts--and sweet dreams for little ones.

Select format:

Kirkus Reviews

Fortitude against fluttering fears.

Publishers Weekly

How can one handle worries that crowd sleep out of the mind, asks poet Smith (The Well Speaks of Its Own Poison, for adults) in a metaphor-filled picture book debut. As a pale-skinned child with a furrowed brow looks up at their red-bathrobed mother, text describes thoughts that "stay on" after lights-out: "What if there are spiders in the house? What if I have a scary dream when I fall asleep?" Working in digital media whose hand-painted textures give a pastel-like roughness to the spreads, Hatch (The Brand-new, Never-used, Perfect Crayons) visualizes the fears: masses of arachnids under the bed, the child and a rabbit stuffy sucked up by an alien spaceship. Thoughts are like birds, Mom explains. Some want to nest, and the child's head is "a beautiful place to live.... No wonder your thoughts don't want to fly away from you!" What to do? "We need to make sure there's room for the happy thoughts to build their nests." Now, the two practice consciously summoning pleasant images ("I'm at the beach, eating an ice-cream cone"). Offering a portrait of a family addressing a child's fears, this mindfulness-oriented work explores accessible techniques whose practice offers pleasure, too. Ages 4-8. Author's agent: Joy Tutela, David Black Literary. Illustrator's agent: Janine Le, while at Sheldon Fogelman Agency. (Feb.)

Copyright 2023 Publishers Weekly, LLC Used with permission.

Review quotes

The cozy ideas will comfort nervous young readers and make a strong conversation starter for less-than-sure caretakers. 'Everyone worries, ' and barring a late-night banana bread craving, the soothing suggestions will surely bring somnolence on soft feathers. Fortitude against fluttering fears. — Kirkus Reviews

This one is for the anxious kiddos, and Smith enhances the relatability of the story by focusing on a young child's first-person experience of a mind that just won't turn off. Straightforward language allows the thoughts-as-birds metaphor to shine with its meditative sagacity. Hatch's hand-painted digital illustrations have a remarkable luminosity. — Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
Balzer & Bray/Harperteen
Publication date
February 20, 2024
BISAC categories
JUV039050 - Juvenile Fiction | Social Themes | Emotions & Feelings
JUV010000 - Juvenile Fiction | Bedtime & Dreams
JUV013000 - Juvenile Fiction | Family | General
JUV070000 - Juvenile Fiction | Poetry (see also Stories in Verse)
Library of Congress categories
Picture books
Worry in children
Anxiety in children
Heure du coucher

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