Finding Beauty in a Midwest Spring

by | Apr 2023

Ten Beautiful Things Book

Is there anything beautiful in this early part of spring, when everything is gray and pale and mucky and melty?

In Molly Beth Griffin’s 2021 picture book, Ten Beautiful Things, a 2022 Minnesota Book Award Finalist, a young girl and her grandmother, Gram, take a stab at this question.

Lily is feeling unsure and uneasy as she begins the journey to her new home with Gram, traveling across Iowa in April. As they set out, Gram suggests that they try to find 10 beautiful things along the way.

“There’s nothing beautiful here,” says Lily. But slowly, she begins to spot one beautiful thing, then another. And Gram contributes, too—the sunrise, a wind farm, a red-winged blackbird, even “the smell of mud.”

Maribel Lechuga’s illustrations capture the Midwest in spring, with hues of gray and beige punctuated with pops of green, red and pink.

This cozy story may also encourage parents, caregivers and children to play “10 Beautiful Things” themselves.

Contributed by Megan Maynor, children’s book author, Minnesota Book Award finalist and Edina resident. You can find her books at


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