To mark International Day of Happiness this year we wanted to spread a little happiness ourselves! Here are fifteen books, filled with joy, cheerfulness and lashings of laughter.
A spoof beekeeping guide buzzing with fun
- Pip Cornell's debut picture book, A Bear's Guide to Beekeeping, is full of funny tips on how to become a master beekeeper, especially if you are a bear! Care for your new buzzy friends, build a homely hive, a tiny crown for your queen bee - but make sure you never try to hug the bees! Talented illustrator, Alex Griffiths, gives the characters the funniest expressions, bringing the jokes to life in this deliciously funny spoof guide that also has a fun facts section at the back. Picture Book
A friendly look at feelings for the very young
- Through colourful, lively pages, We Feel Happy by Katie Abey introduces very young children to a range of emotions. In addition to being happy, there are pages dedicated to feeling excited or shy or scared - and through the illustrations we can question what has made the animals happy...or even a bit grumpy. BT 3+
A perfectly joyous picture book for toddlers
- Full of playful happiness (and young children can learn their shapes too!), The Perfect Fit is the first collaboration from husband and wife team, Naomi and James Jones. The colourful artwork of triangles, circles, squares all with smiling faces, are simple and absolutely delightful - it's impossible not to feel happy when you read this book! BT 3+
A classic picture book for under 5s
- Written and illustrated by picture book talent Catherine Rayner, Augustus and His Smile has been bringing smiles to young readers for over 15 years. Augustus the tiger is feeling sad, he has lost his smile and sets off to find it! He searches high in the mountains and deep in the oceans, and the beauty of the natural world makes him feel so happy and then his smile returns. Catherine's illustrations beautifully convey the tiger's emotions and she was deservedly shortlisted for the Greenaway Medal in 2007. 3+
Learn to Move and Groove Like the Animals Do!
- There's a different animal on every page of Dance Like a Flamingo, with information about the animals and instructions on how to move just like the animals do, and why. Wiggle like bee, scuttle like a crab and stretch out your flamingo wings and soar..It's a perfect book to read aloud and is guaranteed to get everyone jumping and dancing! You can read our review of Dance Like a Flamingo by Moira Butterfield & Claudia Boldt- happy dancing fun for 3+ 5+
These illustrations will help your spirits soar!
- Eva Eland has a talent to fill her simple illustrations with emotion, and her gorgeous picture book, Where Happiness Begins will fill your soul with joy! With great empathy Eva encourages our very youngest readers, 3+, to explore what happiness really means....and ends on the wonderfully positive phrase that "Happiness begins with you!" You can read our review and download an extract from the book here. 3+5+
Anyone aged 5+ will love this book
- The House of Happy Spirits written by Geraldine Elschner and illustrated by Lucie Vandevelde is joyous celebration of the harmony between humanity and nature. Read our review and download an extract from the book - just look at these uplifting, colourful illustrations to set you dreaming of your own fantasy city! 5+7+
Happy reading for 5+ but adults will laugh along too!
- Pirate Stew, described by Neil Gaiman, "is a most piratical adventure, intended for anyone of any age who likes pirates, cooking, swashbuckling and/or doughnuts, who wants a fun book to read aloud and share, or who just wants to lose themselves in Chris Riddell's gloriously piratical pictures.” It is a joyously fun and happy read. Pirate Stew! Pirate Stew! Pirate Stew for me and you! Pirate Stew, Pirate Stew Eat it and you won't be blue You can be a pirate too! - It's impossible not to laugh singing rhymes like this! 5+ 7+
Joyful reading for 7+
- For a fabulous feel-good read look no further than Ways to Make Sunshine! You might know Renee Watson as the author of more gritty YA novels but her foray into younger fiction has been triumphant, creating the warm and hugely huggable Ryan who spreads happiness and humour wherever she goes. Read our full review, and you can download the first chapter here. 7+9+
Humour and happiness with Good Dog McTavish
- McTavish the rescue dog is a blessing to the Peacheys and, in his mission to bring happiness to his new adoptive family he'll bring joy to you too. Both funny and heartwarming, this series from Meg Rosoff is written especially for dyslexic readers with a a super-readable layout and typeface, but all readers of 7+ will love the message the books bring. You can find all 4 books here, and there are reviews from our Kids Reader Review Panel too. 7+
For creative, curious children aged 7+ to teen
- Empower children and Create Your Own Happy! This colourful activity book is full of practical ideas and positive steps to lift self-esteem, understand emotion and nurture wellbeing. Create a Happy Jar, understand how music can change your mood and, for when you're feeling a bit blue there are clever ways to remind yourself of happier times. From top cheerleaders, Penny Alexander, Becky Goddard-Hill and Clare Forrest. 7+ upwards
Laughs a minute with Timmy Failure
- Happiness is a funny book, and every book in the Timmy Failure series is hilarious! Timmy is a clueless, comically self-confident detective who manages to get himself and his sidekick Total (a lazy polar bear) into increasingly bizarre and ridciulous predicaments. The wisecracks and wit from Stephan Pastis will keep you laughing all day. You can find all the books in the series here - most include an extract of the first chapter and a few have been reviewed by our Kids Reader Review Panel too - unanimously adored! 7+ 9+
A heart-warming story of kindness and love in all forms
- Benjamin Dean brings us a joyous, life-affirming story of one family's journey to cope with grief. Bea's life is a happy one, her family are close and they share a wonderful relationship. When her father dies life turns grey but Bea is determined to bring happiness back into her sister life and forms the Secret Sunshine Project. A positive tale that shines a light on the importance of happiness. 9+ 11+
Feel-good fiction for 11+ readers
- The Boy Who Made Everyone Laugh is a brilliant read, both touching and very funny, with a great big helping of happiness. Billy Plimpton has dreams of being a stand-up comedian, a tough gig for anyone but especially hard for Billy as he has a stammer. You will laugh and cheer for Billy as he battles his stammer and the school bullies. Helen Rutter was inspired to write her debut by her son - who also has a stutter & a great sense of humour!
Empowering and inspirational teen reading
- Uplifting and moving, Dean Atta's debut The Black Flamingo is a joyous coming-of-age story exploring diversity and culture..."This is not about being ready, it's not even about being fierce, or fearless, IT'S ABOUT BEING FREE!" Michael's journey, as he comes to terms with his identity, is a bold tale of finding your inner strength. And as Michael waits in the wings, ready to emerge as The Black Flamingo, your heart will sing.
International Day of Happiness is March 20th