Picture Book Review: Catching Thoughts by Bonnie Clark

In June, I highlighted a phenomenal new picture book, Taste Your Words. It was the debut picture book from author Bonnie Clark. This month I am thrilled to recommend her new picture book, Catching Thoughts.

Catching Thoughts Cover

Catching Thoughts is an equally touching story about a young girl who learns an important lesson in self-care. Mental health and well-being is crucial, especially now as we all deal with the stresses and anxieties of this pandemic. Catching Thoughts is ideal for any kiddos who struggle with anxiety. I honestly think this book could help anxious youth and adults as well.

Catching Thoughts is narrated by a little girl who is struggling to fight off a big, scary, negative thought that popped into her head one day. She tries to get rid of it but that stubborn dark thought just doesn’t want to budge. Eventually she learns that she can crowd negative thoughts out by filling her head with a ton of positive thoughts.

Catching Thoughts Bad Thought
“I tried to unthink my unwanted thought. But that just made me think about it more!” – Catching Thoughts

The little girl remains nameless throughout the story. I liked this because I think it allows every child to put himself or herself into the story. It reads less like how someone else overcomes negative thoughts and more like how you can overcome negative thoughts yourself. The book is told in first person using “I,” so kids read words like, “And then I gently pushed the old thought aside.” I think this use of instead of she is why this book is such a powerful instrument in self-care.

I think this is a timely book, especially given the current pandemic and the doom that seems to be surrounding us on all sides: sickness, war, political tensions, and racial divisions. Kids pick up on all of these things and I think sometimes we don’t realize just how affected they can be by it all. Catching Thoughts is a great way to spend some time with kiddos, teaching them how to take control of those negative thoughts and crowd them out with positive ones. 

The book is illustrated beautifully. The artwork complements the story well, showing the young narrator surrounded by darkness until she learns to “catch” bright, positive thoughts. The pages quickly turn from grays and blacks to bright oranges, blues, pinks, purples, reds, and yellows.

Catching Thoughts New Thoughts Pages
“I held on tight to thoughts that were TRUE, and embraced thoughts that were EXCELLENT.” – Catching Thoughts

One thing I thoroughly enjoy about Bonnie Clark’s books is that she draws inspiration from Sacred Scripture. In Taste Your Words, she drew from Proverbs 16:24. In Catching Thoughts, she draws from Philippians 4:8-9:

“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, what is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. Keep on doing what you have learned and received and heard and seen in me. Then the God of peace will be with you.”

Like with Taste Your Words, I’d love to see Catching Thoughts in homes, libraries, classrooms, and Sunday school classes.

Catching Thoughts is available now!! For more info on Bonnie Clark’s books, check out her website!

If you missed my review of Taste Your Words, you can go back and read it here.

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