August is #HappinessHappensMonth and Books for Topics has crafted the ultimate children’s happiness booklist. Happy reading!
Joy is an inspiring picture book with a gentle narrative about a precious bond between a little girl and her elderly nanna who feels like the joy has gone from her life. The illustrations strikingly portray the contrasting moods of the story to even the youngest of readers, with the ‘whoosh’ of joy being represented by swirls of bright colours sweeping across the pages complete with multi-coloured butterflies and sparkles. This empathetic picture book charmingly celebrates the happiness that the child-grandparent relationship can bring to both generations.
We recently had the pleasure of hearing the author read this aloud at the Little Tiger Picture Book showcase event. With beautifully detailed illustrations and peek-through pages, fold-outs and flaps, this is an endearing animal story that is well-suited to young children in EYFS settings. Three mice are looking for happiness but soon come to realise that looking at what someone else possesses is not the best place to find it. A gentle and reassuring narrative that explores the meaning of ‘home’ and encourages readers to value the happiness to be found in the most familiar of places.
A poetry anthology well-suited to upper Key Stage 2 classroom. Poetry is a brilliant way of getting into the cracks of exploring emotions more deeply and this anthology is entirely themed around happiness. From classics by William Blake and Christina Rossetti to contemporary poems from Joseph Coelho and Rachel Rooney, there is something for everyone to smile about as readers flick through the pages. As Elma Mitchell says in her contribution entitled ‘This Poem…’; ‘Even the simplest poem/May destroy your immunity to human emotions’ and it is certainly hard to not feel happy as you read through this collection about infectious smiling, joyful relationships and the feeling of being on top of the word.
‘Happiness is infectious’ is the theme of this humorous story about a girl called Alice who catches a happiness virus. The problem for Alice is there are two things that are not tolerated by the grown-ups around her; illness and cheerfulness. The virus spells trouble for Alice as it comes with concerning side effects, such as uncontrollable giggling and becoming strangely irresistible to friendly animals. Transported by government henchmen to a strict school designed to help children to conform to the Best Minister for Everything Nicely Perfect’s rules, Alice embarks upon a laugh-a-minute adventure with lasting consequences for children everywhere. Written by a public health doctor, this funny and original story is highly recommended for children in Key Stage 2.
Augustus the tiger has lost his smile and he now feels sad. This delightful book follows his journey through different landscapes to find his smile again. He looks everywhere he can think of to find his smile but is initially unsuccessful in his search. Only when he spots his reflection in a rain puddle does Augustus realise that his smile returns whenever he is happy – in this case because he has found happiness looking at the wonderful world around him. This is a beautifully illustrated picture book with images that capture the emotions of the story and bring them alive for young readers.
Alison Leach is the founder of BooksForTopics, a website that supports thousands of primary schools in finding quality books to enrich their curriculums and to promote reading for pleasure. Find out more at booksfortopics.com or follow @booksfortopics on Twitter.
Thank you, Alison, for making us smile.