PPBF: Just Because

My Smile File, a bittersweet collection of cards and letters from my school families over the last 40 years, is confirmation that contradictory feelings can co-exist. Just because my Smile File makes me feel so happy doesn't mean it's not also melancholy for me as I revisit these notes.

Today's PPBF is another study in contradictions.

Author: Matthew McConaughey
Illustrator: Renée Kurilla
Publisher: Viking Press for Young Children
Birth Date: September 12, 2023
Suitable for: ages preK-3rd grade+
Topics: feelings, life lessons, contradictions
Brief synopsis: With a combination of humor and seriousness, these pages truly serve up some rich food for thought for people of all ages.
Opening page: 
Just because they threw the dart, doesn't mean that it stuck.

Resources: Check out a Kirkus Review {here}.
Listen to the author talk about this treasure {here}.
Read what Common Sense Media has to say {here}.

Why I like this book: 

First, the adorable illustrations that complement these wise vignettes. 

Second, the potential discussions that are sure to ensue.
For example, if kids don't understand the phrase "throw shade,"
this will provide the platform to introduce it to them.

You can also ask them which one spoke to them, then
invite them to come up with their own "Just Because."

I heard one on Young & The Restless this morning that resonates:

Just because you're not getting the answers you want
 doesn't mean I'm not being straight with you.

Finally, since it's kind of long and a lot to take in at once,
I'd totally break it up into smaller, bite-sized sections,
maybe even a two-page spread a day for two weeks.

That way, you won't miss any of the delicious nuggets
that will be important food for thought for us to chew on.

Consider debating some of the more controversial thoughts:

Just because I lied, doesn't mean that I am a liar.

True or false? Why?
How many times do you have to lie before you're a liar?
Are there times when not telling the whole truth is ok?

Up next, visit Susanna Hill's blog for today's other titles.

Oh, and the Birdie & Mipps softcover is now available on Amazon.

Keep on smiling, dear reader.



  1. Thanks for sharing this book and your ideas for how to use it. I plan to check it out this week at the library.

  2. I had steered clear of this book - because it was a "celebrity book" but I think I should check it out. Thanks, Barbara!


I really enjoy hearing from my readers; thanks for sharing your reflections with us!