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Choosing Cheeriness: Board Books For Kids

We all tell our children that happiness is a choice, and here are the books to help you prove it! We've compiled a list of our favorite 30 books that exemplify choosing cheeriness, because this lesson is never too early to learn, and you can never have too many reminders. It's hard to learn to regulate your emotions (just ask any two-year-old!), and if we're being honest, it's something we're even mastering as adults. These books are great way to learn and reinforce the knowledge that we control our emotions, no matter our circumstances. To quote Leo Tolstoy, "If you want to be happy, be."

Be Happy! book
#1
Be Happy!
Written and illustrated by Monica Sheehan
board book
Recommend Ages: 2-5
Thoughts from The Book Snob Mom

A great introduction to the idea that happiness isn't something that happens to you, it's something you make for yourself with your actions and your attitude. It's geared towards a little older crowd than my 18 month old son, but by adding a little discussion about what's happening with the dog and mouse on each page we both enjoy it, and it's honestly a great reminder for me as a mom to be mindful about CHOOSING to be happy.

Monica Sheehan has taken her bestselling book be happy. and created an irresistible little gem for people BIG & small. So open it up and get inspired to . . . Sing and dance a little! Have fun! Be kind--be brave! And be the best YOU.

The Little Engine That Could book
#2
The Little Engine That Could
Written by Watty Piper and illustrated by Doris Hauman, George Hauman
board book
Recommend Ages: 2-6
Thoughts from B is for Bookworm

I think it's safe to say that almost everyone loves this classic book with a can-do message for littles and adults! I love that the little engine shows perseverance, even when things are hard, and believing in yourself. It's such a great example of having a positive attitude, and that we are in charge of our thoughts and choose what we feel. :)

A classic story now in a lap-book format has been slightly abridged and features the famous illustrations from the original edition that will keep toddlers cheering on the little blue engine as she continues chugging along.

Kitty Cones: What Makes Us Happy? book
#3
Kitty Cones: What Makes Us Happy?
Written and illustrated by Ralph Cosentino
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-3

Discover all the little things that make the Kitty Cones happy in this sweet book of illustrations from Ralph Cosentino. Life is full of happy moments, from playing on the beach to chasing rainbows, and even running outside when it sprinkles! Join best friends Miyu, Yumi, and Koko as they discover what makes them happy. Filled with clever and endearing art from author and illustrator Ralph Cosentino, this Kitty Cones book teaches kids to value friendship, help others, and enjoy the little things in life.

My Heart Fills with Happiness book
#4
My Heart Fills with Happiness
Written by Monique Gray Smith and illustrated by Julie Flett
board book
Recommend Ages: 2-6

A board book that celebrates happiness and invites children to reflect on the little things in life that bring them joy.

I'm Grumpy book
#5
I'm Grumpy
Written by Jennifer L. Holm and illustrated by Matthew Holm
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-3
Thoughts from B is for Bookworm

This cute board book does a great job talking about emotions, and grumpy cloud shows that sometimes it's easy to get down in a funk! I love the ending where he chooses to be kind and happy to make sunny feel better, and I think that shows a great lesson about how we can choose to do something nice for someone--which will make us happy, and get us out of the dumps!

This board book explores why Grumpy Cloud is grumpy.

  1. If You're Happy and You Know It - The words to a familiar nursery song encourage babies and their parents to have fun together. On board pages.

  2. Happy! - Grammy Award winner Pharrell Williams’s super-hit song “Happy” is now a board book Nominated for an Academy Award in 2014, “Happy” hit number one on Billboard’s Hot 100 list, and has topped the charts in more than seventy-five countries worldwide. Now Pharrell Williams brings his beloved song to the youngest of readers in photographs of children across cultures celebrating what it means to be happy. All the exuberance of the song pulses from these vibrant photographs of excited, happy kids. This is a board book full of memorable, precious childhood moments that will move readers in the same way they were moved by the song. “Happy” has had the world dancing ever since it first hit the airwaves, and now the irresistibly cheerful tune will come to life on the page with Pharrell Williams’s very first picture book! A keepsake and true classic in the making.

  3. Olivia - It's everyone's favorite pig...it's OLIVIA! The Caldecott Honor Book and New York Times #1 bestseller is now available in a sturdy format perfect for pig-loving toddlers everywhere!

  4. Rain! - Good attitudecanchase away the blues at any age!Now in aboard book format for more rainy day reading. "

Did you enjoy our children's book recommendations? Did we miss one of your favorites? Let us know in the comments below!