Little Kids’ Book Club #14:”Sidewalk Flowers”

"Sidewalk Flowers"

We’re Finally Back!

There’s so much to share with you in this installment of the Little Kids’ Book Club #14, we’re going to take a break from our regular format, to get it all in!

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News for Parents

Caryl has just launched a webinar that helps parents and educators identify dyslexia and find learning solutions for children starting in preschool.

Seeing that 1 in 5 kids have reading challenges, it’s also an especially perfect time to feature “Sidewalk Flowers”, an award winning wordless picture book, where kids interpret the illustrations and develop their own narrative. There's no right or wrong and can be “read” in any language. Reading this book with your child will help develop important skills; sequencing, communication and observation.


The Story

A little girl and her father are walking home through an urban setting. While her dad talks on his cell, she picks random flowers popping up through sidewalk cracks. In the first half of the book she collects flowers. In the second half she shares them. We showed this book to people of all ages including a college student and grandmother. They all saw something different and even had opposing perspectives about the characters.

Little Kids' Book Club #14:"Sidewalk Flowers"

Find "Sidewalk Flowers" in your school or library or order online here!


A Feel Good Story...Behind the Story

Before getting to our usual Read & Explore Fun Facts and Questions, we are anxious to share with you an even bigger story behind "Sidewalk Flowers." At the start of the year, the publisher, Groundwood Books, collaborated with IBBY Canada and donated 25,000 copies of “Sidewalk Flowers” to Syrian refugee families arriving in Canada. The author, JonArno Lawson and illustrator, Sydney Smith donated their royalties on this special printing of 25,000 books.

Each Syrian family received one copy of Sidewalk Flowers. Inserted in every book was a card written in Arabic and English or Arabic and French, with instructions on how to get a Canadian Library Card. Now that’s stellar!

Read & Explore

Fun Facts:

  • Syrians speak Arabic. Arabic is read from right to left, and Arabic books are read from back to front. The Syrian families who receive Sidewalk Flowers will be introducing their children to western culture starting at the front of the book.
  • Author JonArno Lawson is an award winning poet.                        
  • "Sidewalk Flowers" has received many awards, and was chosen for the New York Times Best Illustrated Children’s Books of 2015.                                                                                                       
  • “Sidewalk Flowers” is based on the author’s personal slice-of-life experience walking home with his young daughter. At the time Lawson was anxious to get back to his 2 day old baby, middle son and wife. “I was full of worry, not seeing the world around me.”  He eventually noticed Sophie picking flowers, singing, and poetically giving them away. The idea for a wordless picture book stuck.


  • Ask your child to follow the illustrations and tell the story as he/she sees fit.
  • What is the correct order to look at the illustrations? (Left to right, starting with the top row.)
Little Kids' Book Club#14:"Sidewalk Flowers"
  • Why do you think the first few illustrations are primarily in black and white and then turn to full color? (Open ended… A college student we talked to noticed the illustrations turned to color as soon as the little girl started sharing her flowers.)
  • Can you find strangers in the book watching the little girl? What do you think they are thinking? (open ended)                                                                                                                                                   
  • Do you think the little girl’s father is paying attention while he is on the cell phone? (Open ended. Some say he is aware and giving his daughter space to explore, while others think he is not.)
  • Who/where does the girl share her flowers with and why? Is it ok? (open ended)                                                                                                                                                                                         
  • What is the difference between JonArno Lawson the author and Sydney Smith the illustrator? (Although the author did not use words, he developed the storyline. The illustrator turned the ideas into pictures.)                                                                          
  • At the end of the story where do you think the little girl goes? (open ended)                                                                                             
  • Can you “write” the next chapter of the story by drawing pictures? (open ended)


We hope Little Kids’ Book Club #14:“Sidewalk Flowers” was worth the wait, as we got tied up launching Caryl’s new webinar serving both parents and educators who are passionate about reading.

Remember that 1 in 5 people have dyslexia or dyslexic symptoms, and it runs in families. If you see that your kindergartener or older child is struggling to learn to read, consider  "EARLY IDENTIFICATION: Is your child at risk for having reading disabilities?”

Is your child learning to read?

Are you concerned?

Do you have a plan?

Watch this webinar 4 a roadmap. In under two hours you'll have answers.



Keep reading aloud…and keep advocating for your child!


Julie E. Janson & Caryl Frankenberger, Ed.M.