Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Shovelful of Sunshine

Shovelful of Sunshine

Stacie Vaughn Hutton
Illustrator:   Cheryl Harness 
Picture Book
For ages 6 to 8
Headline Books, 2012   ISBN: 978-0938467397

Meggie Gwinn is usually a very cheerful little girl who loves to dream about faraway places. Then one day she hears about some miners who are trapped in a mine, and her bright hope-filled dreams vanish. All she can do is worry that something might happen to her father who works “faraway down under the ground” in a coal mine. How can anyone dream about far off places when “something bad might happen” at any time?

   What Meggie’s father hears about her worries, he tells her about his great-grandfather who came from Wales and who spent years working in a mine where there were terrible working conditions. One of the things that kept him going and that gave him strength was the hope that one day all the miners’ children would be able to get an education, that they would be able to “go where there’s sunshine.” Meggie does not really understand what this means until her father comes up with a plan.

   Life can often be scary and it is sometimes easy to get weighed down by fears and worries. At such times we forget to have hope, and instead allow our concerns to take over our lives. In this special picture book the author shows us, through Meggie’s eyes, how important it is be optimistic, and to have faith that all will be well. Drawing on the stories of coal miners who had hard lives, the author helps us to see how these proud and hardworking men and boys did what they did to give their children and grandchildren a better future.

   The story is paired with Cheryl Harness’s wonderfully expressive illustrations to give readers a memorable book experience.