The Three Sunflowers

Three Sunflowerscropped-tts-cover-for-website-headerThe Three Sunflowers

Janet Lucy, Author

Colleen McCarthy-Evans, Illustrator

Publishing by the Seas, Fiction, November 2012

Suitable for Ages: 4 and up

Themes:  Sunflowers, Life Cycles, Nature, Courage,  Faith, Harmony, Peace, Patience, Wisdom

Opening:  “Dawn awoke early one morning washing the summer sky in fresh new shades of pink, orange and lavender.” 

Synopsis:  Life in the garden was alive with activity.   Gloria, a tall and wise sunflower, sprung up earlier in the season near a pepper tree.  She was once a black and white seed in one of the bird feeders.  She was dropped by a bird to the ground where she planted herself and grew.  Two smaller sunflowers, Sunny and Solita, grew beside Gloria.  Their day was peaceful until a hawk swooped down to the feeders and disturbed the tranquility in the garden.  The birds flew off.  Solita and Sunny  were frightened and shouted at the hawk.  But, Gloria reminded them “We are sunflowers, golden and radiant.”  “Our job is to be loving and peaceful wherever we stand.”   Peace returned to the garden, but later that afternoon a thunderstorm darkened the skies and threatened the strength and stability of the sunflowers.   Once again Sunny and Solita held on by their roots afraid they might tumble.  Gloria reached for their stalks and pulled them close.  Their resiliency was tested in the face of a big storm.

Why I like this book:  Janet Lucy has created an inspiring book for children with many gentle life lessons about staying centered when turbulence is swirling around you, being who you are supposed to be, living in the moment, being present with those we love and being thankful.   These are all concepts children will grasp.  There is so much depth to this story and I had to be careful not to give it away.  With spring around the corner, it is also a story about life cycles, death, and transformation.  Colleen McCarthy-Evans’s watercolor illustrations are exquisite and perfect for the story.

Resources:   Sunflowers are an international symbol of Peace.  Lucy urges children to plant seeds of peace in their gardens.  You only need to visit The Three Sunflowers website to find wonderful resources, activities and a teaching guide to share with children.   I was intrigued with how many virtues are included in this story, all great topics for discussion.

Every Friday, authors and KidLit bloggers post a favorite picture book.  To see a complete listing of all the Perfect Picture Books with resources, please visit author Susanna Leonard Hill’s Perfect Picture Books.

About Patricia Tiltonhttps://childrensbooksheal.wordpress.comI want "Children's Books Heal" to be a resource for parents, grandparents, teachers and school counselors. My goal is to share books on a wide range of topics that have a healing impact on children who are facing challenges in their lives. If you are looking for good books on grief, autism, visual and hearing impairments, special needs, diversity, bullying, military families and social justice issues, you've come to the right place. I also share books that encourage art, imagination and creativity. I am always searching for those special gems to share with you. If you have a suggestion, please let me know.

49 thoughts on “The Three Sunflowers

  1. This book sounds lovely, Pat! I love the opening line, and your description of the messages – it sounds so peaceful. And I didn’t know the sunflower was the international symbol for peace, so I have learned something! 🙂


    • Susanna, this is really a book with a lot of depth. Very inpirational. Yes, sunflowers are an international sign for peace. I was very impressed with the author’s very lengthy list of ways to use this book — things I would not have thought of.


  2. It’s clear to us, that you are all beautiful sunflowers yourselves! Thank you all so much for responding to Patricia’s amazing review of our book. We are deeply and humbly grateful! And we would so love to hear from you again once you’ve had a chance to give it a read! Please let us know how you and the children relate to the story…this makes us so happy to know!


  3. The Three Sunflowers was one of those divine inspirations that as authors we are blessed to receive. I’m so grateful for all of the support I’ve had with it’s development, and now from all of you. It’s a gift all around. Let’s all scatter the seeds for peace! With love, Janet


  4. Pat – Thank you for giving this book a spot in your Friday posts! We love it too. Here’s what we wrote about it on our web site:

    Whenever a new person comes to our shop or meets us at an event, we hand that person an origami butterfly with the phrase “If nothing ever changed, there wouldn’t be butterflies.” Change is constant yet people, more often than not, fear and try to avoid change. Without going into details, our team here at Reach And Teach is looking at some potential changes and we’re both anxious and excited about the possibilities. Fortunately, there are people in our lives who are standing tall, nurturing and guiding us, and letting us know that they are there for us through whatever changes may come.

    We recently heard from Janet Lucy, the author of The Three Sunflowers, wondering if we might want to take a look at her book. With our mission of Transforming the World Through Teachable Moments, we know that every time someone opens a book, transformation may soon occur. That’s the case with this book. Beyond the absolutely beautiful softly and gently rendered watercolor illustrations and lyrical and engaging writing style, the story of the sunflowers in the garden is very compelling and grabs you from the very first page. “Dawn awoke early one morning washing the Summer sky in fresh new shades of pink, orange, and lavender.”

    We then go through the entire day among the three sunflowers, learning about what is, what was, and what will be, from Gloria, Solita, and Sunny. Things change, from moment to moment, hour to hour, and day to day. Sometimes, even for just a moment, everything is perfect. How wonderful to be in the moment and enjoy that perfection. When storm clouds gather, we have to gather up our strength to weather that storm. It’s OK to be afraid, but hold on tightly and have faith that the storm will end. And… even if it doesn’t, remember that the cycle of life goes on.

    This book can be a terrific launching point for discussions about so many topics including the entire circle of life, the reality of death, and even how to deal with bullying. When a Cooper’s Hawk swoops through the garden scaring the little birds away, what can the sunflowers do? Stand tall! Be a stable and calming presence in the midst of chaos. In anti-bullying lessons children are encouraged to become “upstanders” instead of “bystanders.” Imagine asking a child what he or she could do when other children are being bullied, thinking about the sunflowers and how they stood tall, and how a child can add one more element to the situation, the power of his or her voice saying “stop!”


    In the midst of change, this book landed on our doorstep at just the right moment. And just moments ago someone wandered into our shop and said “I’ve been thinking about you guys and I was wondering…….” Good thing we believe that change can be a good thing, because without it there wouldn’t be any butterflies, or wonderful books!


    • Craig, thanks for sharing your outstanding comments on your website about the book. I am glad you focused on things I didn’t. You fill in a little more than what I was able to share. Thank you! It is really multi-layered and has endless possibilities for discussions in the classroom.


  5. What a lovely book! I like the sunflowers. We grow some here in our garden. They’re kind of prickly, but when the seeds fall i sure do like to gobble them up! This book appears to have some really good messages for kids and adults too! Thanks for sharing!


  6. ‘Washing the summer sky in shades of pink…” This is so evocative…it sounds like the beautiful type of book where you can close your eyes and SEE the pictures without looking at them. Thank you so much for sharing this one, Pat!


    • Vivian, that’s a great description. Wish I thought of it. You really could visualize the entire story. You would particularly be interested in their website resources — packed with activities and ideas to use with children.


  7. This book sounds wonderful. I have pinned it to my list of books I’d like to read! I so hope my library has it! I’m curious about what you meant when you said you didn’t want to give too much away! I love surprises so it will be fun to find out what you didn’t give away 🙂


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