Heather Whitcomb’s book Thankful Thorn, is an adorable children’s story! I learned about this book, completely by chance as Ms. Whitcomb and I were walking down the school hallway one day. She graciously provided me an Advanced Readers Copy of this book, and I am so glad that she did! As a fellow educator, I can see that Ms. Whitcomb’s teaching background is apparent in her storytelling, as are her fantastic parenting skills. This book is a well-rounded description of a cute little boy because she understands young children so well, loving children both as a mother and a teacher. This heartwarming book is written to be read aloud to young children.
Thankful Thorn slips us easily into the setting and we can immediately relate to this boy’s home in the morning getting ready for school and then with him entering his classroom. What keeps the story popping is his excitable narrative. For example, at the start of the school day, just after happily describing his friendly teacher and his friends, he hears that it is writing time, “STOP right there . . . WRITING TIME?! PUMP THE BRAKES!” There is no question about how he feels in that moment. So many children will relate to this, as they feel the exact same way in school.
Thorn is special because he is braver than many kids. He has this epiphany in gym class about how his classmates know so many things, having easily just learned them in class, but that he just doesn’t learn that way. After gym class, Thorn shows his bravery by quietly speaking to his teacher, Mrs. Finch, and asking for help. The teacher, of course, helps him by asking the “right” questions, but lets Thorn explain how it’s important and what he needs. Mrs. Finch has already seen Thorn struggling, and spoken to him earlier about different people learning in different ways. She probably already has some ideas, but the best part, in Thorn’s mind, is that she really listens to him and believes in him. His bravery and her belief in him, makes it seem like no challenge can be insurmountable. Every child struggling in school (or any organized activity) needs to hear this. Every child needs to know that someone will listen to them, really listen, and care.
I highly recommend this book, Thankful Thorn by Heather Whitcomb, to every school aged child. We all have strengths and weaknesses and it is important to not only understand our own learning styles but to see that others may be very successful if we just find the “right” way for them to learn. This book is lighthearted and full of action, but also filled with challenges and learning. What a great book to read to a young child!