An Award-Winning Book Club for Kids
Shop Now

Happiness: Books For Kids

Looking for a list of the best kids books about happiness?

Children’s literature has many notable options when it comes to happiness. To help you find the right books for you and your young reader, we’ve compiled a list of the best kids books about happiness.

Our list includes board books, picture books, and chapter books. Board books are best for babies and toddlers from ages newborn to 2 or 3. Picture books are generally great options for toddlers and for preschool and kindergarten age children. Picture books are especially enjoyable for adults to read aloud with young kids. The chapter books on our list are generally best for elementary through early middle school age tween kids. You can filter to sort by the best book type for your kid, and you can also use our table of contents to jump to particular topics you think your kid will enjoy.

When it comes to children’s stories about happiness, there are a variety of titles. This list covers everything, from classics like 100 Things That Make Me Happy to popular sellers like The Secret Garden to some of our favorite hidden gems like Wonder.

We hope this list of kids books about happiness can be a helpful resource for parents, teachers, and others searching for a new book!

Share this list

Top 10 Books About Happiness

#1
Add to list
The Secret Garden
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

After losing her parents, young Mary Lennox is sent from India to live in her uncle’s gloomy mansion on the wild English moors. She is lonely and has no one to play with, but one day she learns of a secret garden somewhere in the grounds that no one is allowed to enter. Then Mary uncovers an old key in a flowerbed – and a gust of magic leads her to the hidden door. Slowly she turns the key and enters a world she could never have imagined.

Buy book
$6.99
Bookshop
$5.94
Amazon
$6.99
Used $6.99
Prices as of Jan 23
#2
Add to list
Wonder
Written by R. J. Palacio
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Born with a facial deformity that initially prevented his attendance at public school, Auggie Pullman enters the fifth grade at Beecher Prep and struggles with the dynamics of being both new and different, in a sparsely written tale about acceptance and self-esteem.

Buy book
$16.99
Bookshop
$14.44
Amazon
$9.73
Used $0.40
Prices as of Jan 23
#3
Add to list
You Are My Happy
Written by Hoda Kotb & illustrated by Suzie Mason
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

A #1 New York Times bestseller!

An Amazon Best Books of the Year So Far 2019 Selection!

From Hoda Kotb, the Today show co-anchor and the #1 New York Times bestselling author of I’ve Loved You Since Forever, comes a book about gratitude for the things in life—both big and small—that bring us happiness.

As mama bear and her cub cuddle together before closing their eyes for a good night’s sleep, they reflect on the everyday wonders of life that make them happy.

Inspired by her own nighttime routine with her daughter, Haley Joy, Kotb creates another beautiful treasure for parents and children to enjoy together. With charming and lush illustrations from bestselling artist Suzie Mason, this soothing yet playful lullaby explores the simple joy of taking a moment to be grateful.

Perfect for fans of Ainsley Earhardt, Kelly Clarkson, Jamie Lee Curtis, and Jimmy Fallon’s books for children.

Buy book
$18.05
Bookshop
$15.34
Amazon
$8.56
Used $0.42
Prices as of Jan 23
#4
Add to list
Emma
Written by Jennifer Adams & illustrated by Alison Oliver
board book
Recommend Ages: 2-4

Step into the drama filled world of Jane Austin’s Emma: A BabyLit Emotions Primer. Your little one will learn about the meddling Emma Woodhouse, who takes it upon herself to become the village matchmaker, creating all sorts of feelings in others. Her friend’s emotions include Mr. Elton being angry, Miss Taylor becoming happy, while Jane Fairfax is tired.

Buy book
$9.99
Bookshop
$8.49
Amazon
$9.99
Used $9.99
Prices as of Jan 23
#5
Add to list
The Pout-Pout Fish
Written by Deborah Diesen & illustrated by Dan Hanna
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6

As the pout-pout fish swims along in the ocean, he discovers that being glum and spreading the “dreary wearies” isn’t much fun anymore–especially when his true destiny is revealed!

Buy book
$17.99
Bookshop
$15.29
Amazon
$7.31
Used $1.61
Prices as of Jan 23
#6
Add to list
Be Happy!
Written & illustrated by Monica Sheehan
board book
Recommend Ages: 2-5

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.

Buy book
$7.99
Bookshop
$6.79
Amazon
$7.99
Used $7.99
Prices as of Jan 23
#7
Add to list
Bernice Gets Carried Away
Written & illustrated by Hannah Harrison
Thoughts from The Book Snob Mom
This book is amazing and I love it so much! The illustrations are beyond phenomenal—gorgeous, wonderfully detailed, and absolutely expressive— and the message that happiness is a choice and best achieved by having empathy for others and helping and sharing with others is fantastic. This is definitely a favorite.
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Perfect for a new generation of Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day readers, this charming story about a grumpy cat gently shows how far a little sharing can go.

Bernice is having a truly rotten time at her friend’s birthday party. First, everyone else gets a piece of cake with a frosting rose. But not Bernice. Then, everyone else gets strawberry-melon soda. Bernice gets the prune-grapefruit juice. And it’s warm. The last straw is the one lousy (squished) candy she gets from the piñata. So when the balloons arrive, Bernice knows just what she has to do: grab them all. And then, poor cross Bernice gets carried up, up, and away. Luckily, she figures out just how to make her way back down to the party…and she brightens lots of other animals’ days on her way.

Hannah Harrison’s gorgeous animal paintings come alive in her second picture book. Her “exceptionally polished” debut, Extraordinary Jane, received starred reviews from Kirkus, Publisher’s Weekly, and School Library Journal.

Buy book
$16.99
Bookshop
$14.44
Amazon
$16.99
Used $16.99
Prices as of Jan 23
#8
Add to list
If I Had a Little Dream
Written by Nina Laden & illustrated by Melissa Castrillón
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

“As a child dreams of all the things in her world that make her happy, she realizes how fortunate she is to live in the world she does”–

Buy book
$17.99
Bookshop
$15.29
Amazon
$15.99
Used $7.97
Prices as of Jan 23
#9
Add to list
The Best Bear in All the World
Written by Jeanne Willis, Kate Saunders, Brian Sibley, and Paul Bright & illustrated by Mark Burgess
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

For the 90th anniversary of Winnie-the-Pooh, a sequel featuring new stories and a new character from the Hundred Acre Wood.

Now a New York Times Bestseller.

The Trustees of the Pooh Properties have commissioned four authors to write in the timeless style of A.A. Milne to create a quartet of charming new adventures for Winnie-the-Pooh, Christopher Robin, and their friends. Winter, Spring, Summer, and Fall: take a trip back to the Hundred Acre Wood with a collection of tales sure to delight year-round.

One story finds Winnie-the-Pooh and Piglet on a quest to discover the “Sauce of the Nile” (they suspect it’s apple). And in another, all the animals rally around poor Eeyore when he thinks he sees another donkey eyeing his clover. The winter story features a new penguin character, based on a stuffed toy owned by Christopher Robin Milne himself. Readers of all ages will love rediscovering old friends and making new ones in this essential new volume of Pooh stories.

The book feature beautiful color artwork in the style of Ernest H. Shepard by Mark Burgess.

Buy book
$21.99
Bookshop
$18.69
Amazon
$18.20
Used $2.01
Prices as of Jan 23
#10
Add to list
Augustus and His Smile
Written & illustrated by Catherine Rayner
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Augustus the tiger was sad. He had lost his smile. So he did a HUGE tigery stretch, and set off to find it. Stunning illustrations celebrate the beauty of the world and the simple happiness it brings to us. An imaginative book for children who love to explore the world around them.

Buy book
$16.99
Bookshop
$14.44
Amazon
$16.99
Used $16.99
Prices as of Jan 23
Table of Contents
Scroll to books about Happiness and...

Books About Happiness and Choosing Cheeriness

Add to list
The Secret Garden
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

After losing her parents, young Mary Lennox is sent from India to live in her uncle’s gloomy mansion on the wild English moors. She is lonely and has no one to play with, but one day she learns of a secret garden somewhere in the grounds that no one is allowed to enter. Then Mary uncovers an old key in a flowerbed – and a gust of magic leads her to the hidden door. Slowly she turns the key and enters a world she could never have imagined.

Buy book
$6.99
Bookshop
$5.94
Amazon
$6.99
Used $6.99
Prices as of Jan 23
Add to list
The Pout-Pout Fish
Written by Deborah Diesen & illustrated by Dan Hanna
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6

As the pout-pout fish swims along in the ocean, he discovers that being glum and spreading the “dreary wearies” isn’t much fun anymore–especially when his true destiny is revealed!

Buy book
$17.99
Bookshop
$15.29
Amazon
$7.31
Used $1.61
Prices as of Jan 23
Add to list
Bernice Gets Carried Away
Written & illustrated by Hannah Harrison
Thoughts from The Book Snob Mom
This book is amazing and I love it so much! The illustrations are beyond phenomenal—gorgeous, wonderfully detailed, and absolutely expressive— and the message that happiness is a choice and best achieved by having empathy for others and helping and sharing with others is fantastic. This is definitely a favorite.
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Perfect for a new generation of Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day readers, this charming story about a grumpy cat gently shows how far a little sharing can go.

Bernice is having a truly rotten time at her friend’s birthday party. First, everyone else gets a piece of cake with a frosting rose. But not Bernice. Then, everyone else gets strawberry-melon soda. Bernice gets the prune-grapefruit juice. And it’s warm. The last straw is the one lousy (squished) candy she gets from the piñata. So when the balloons arrive, Bernice knows just what she has to do: grab them all. And then, poor cross Bernice gets carried up, up, and away. Luckily, she figures out just how to make her way back down to the party…and she brightens lots of other animals’ days on her way.

Hannah Harrison’s gorgeous animal paintings come alive in her second picture book. Her “exceptionally polished” debut, Extraordinary Jane, received starred reviews from Kirkus, Publisher’s Weekly, and School Library Journal.

Buy book
$16.99
Bookshop
$14.44
Amazon
$16.99
Used $16.99
Prices as of Jan 23
Honorable Mentions
Add to list
Add to list
Add to list
Add to list
  1. Augustus and His Smile - Augustus the tiger was sad. He had lost his smile. So he did a HUGE tigery stretch, and set off to find it. Stunning illustrations celebrate the beauty of the world and the simple happiness it brings to us. An imaginative book for children who love to explore the world around them.

  2. How to Cheer Up Dad - A hilarious book about parent and child relationships for fans of Ian Falconer and Jon Agee–a perfect gift idea for Father’s Day and beyond! Little Jumbo just can’t understand why his dad is having such a bad day. It couldn’t be the raisins Little Jumbo spit out at the ceiling or the bath he refused to take–after all, Little Jumbo’s dad knew he hated raisins and had already taken a bath that week! Luckily, Little Jumbo is such a thoughtful elephant that he decides to turn his dad’s bad day around with some of his–ahem, his dad’s–favorite things. How to Cheer up Dad is a standout debut featuring a charmingly oblivious little elephant with serious pluck and staying power. It turns the parent-child roles upside down is a great book for dads and the kids who make them laugh.

  3. The Little Engine That Could - 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. :)

  4. I'm Grumpy - 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!

Books About Happiness and Gratitude

Add to list
You Are My Happy
Written by Hoda Kotb & illustrated by Suzie Mason
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

A #1 New York Times bestseller!

An Amazon Best Books of the Year So Far 2019 Selection!

From Hoda Kotb, the Today show co-anchor and the #1 New York Times bestselling author of I’ve Loved You Since Forever, comes a book about gratitude for the things in life—both big and small—that bring us happiness.

As mama bear and her cub cuddle together before closing their eyes for a good night’s sleep, they reflect on the everyday wonders of life that make them happy.

Inspired by her own nighttime routine with her daughter, Haley Joy, Kotb creates another beautiful treasure for parents and children to enjoy together. With charming and lush illustrations from bestselling artist Suzie Mason, this soothing yet playful lullaby explores the simple joy of taking a moment to be grateful.

Perfect for fans of Ainsley Earhardt, Kelly Clarkson, Jamie Lee Curtis, and Jimmy Fallon’s books for children.

Buy book
$18.05
Bookshop
$15.34
Amazon
$8.56
Used $0.42
Prices as of Jan 23
Add to list
If I Had a Little Dream
Written by Nina Laden & illustrated by Melissa Castrillón
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

“As a child dreams of all the things in her world that make her happy, she realizes how fortunate she is to live in the world she does”–

Buy book
$17.99
Bookshop
$15.29
Amazon
$15.99
Used $7.97
Prices as of Jan 23
Add to list
Last Stop on Market Street
Written by Matt De La Pena & illustrated by Christian Robinson
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

A young boy rides the bus across town with his grandmother and learns to appreciate the beauty in everyday things. By the author of the celebrated picture book A Nation’s Hope: The Story of Boxing Legend Joe Louis.

Buy book
$17.99
Bookshop
$15.29
Amazon
$13.51
Used $4.43
Prices as of Jan 23
Honorable Mentions
Add to list
Add to list
Add to list
  1. My Heart Fills with Happiness - A board book that celebrates happiness and invites children to reflect on the little things in life that bring them joy.

  2. 100 Things That Make Me Happy - In the grand tradition of “Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens” comes an uplifting tribute to 100 everyday things worth celebrating. The list, in rhyming couplets, draws directly from a preschool­er’s world—from slippery floors to dinosaurs, from goldfish to a birthday wish. Amy Schwartz weaves a masterful balance between art and text, with each of the 100 items portrayed as its own well-observed and warmly detailed vignette. While the contents provide readers with a frame of reference for the quantity of “100”—a celebratory milestone in preschools and early elementary grades—the oversized pages envelop young children in the wonderful things surrounding them.

  3. A Happy Day - Katie Woo loves her life and lists the many reasons she is so happy.

Want to see books about gratitude?

Books About Happiness and Kindness

Add to list
Be Happy!
Written & illustrated by Monica Sheehan
board book
Recommend Ages: 2-5

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.

Buy book
$7.99
Bookshop
$6.79
Amazon
$7.99
Used $7.99
Prices as of Jan 23
Add to list
Have You Filled a Bucket Today?
Written by Carol McCloud & illustrated by David Messing
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-9

“Children are not the only ones that need to learn how to be truly happy. It’s all in the bucket, that invisible bucket that follows you everywhere… teaches young readers valuable lessons about giving, sharing, and caring. This guide to daily happiness, though, is not just for kids. We all need reminders of the benefits of positive thinking and positive behavior. It’s an important lesson to teach and remind us all . . . that showing kindness and appreciation of others goes a long way to making this world a happier place for everyone, including ourselves. A classic tale, beautifully told and beautifully shared.” —Emily-Jane Hills Orford, Readers’ Favorite Book Reviews While using a simple metaphor of a bucket and a dipper, author Carol McCloud illustrates that when we choose to be kind, we not only fill the buckets of those around us, but also fill our OWN bucket! Conversely, when we choose to say or do mean things, we are dipping into buckets. All day long, we are either filling up or dipping into each other’s buckets by what we say and what we do. When you’re a bucket filler, you make the world a better place to be! This 32-page picture book is perfect for children, parents, grandparents, teachers and people that want to teach empathy, nurture kindness and create a positive environment in their home, classroom, workplace and community.

Buy book
$9.95
Bookshop
$8.46
Amazon
$7.79
Used $1.90
Prices as of Jan 23
Add to list
Hip, Hip, Hooray for Annie McRae!
Written by Brad Wilcox & illustrated by Julie Olson
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Annie McRae is a fun-loving girl whose bright smile, big heart, and turquoise-heeled cowboy boots give her an extra spring in her step as she says “Howdy!” to everyone she meets. Anytime she helps her parents or teacher, they always cheer back “Hip, hip, hooray for Annie McRae!” One day, however, everyone is too busy, and no one notices her good deeds. Will no one cheer for Annie anymore? Hip, Hip, Hooray! for Annie McRae teaches that the best cheers come from within as we care for others.

Buy book
$16.99
Bookshop
$14.44
Amazon
$16.99
Used $16.99
Prices as of Jan 23
Honorable Mentions
Add to list
Add to list
Add to list
Add to list
  1. The Jar of Happiness - How do you create happiness? In this story, one child finds a way. She mixes the smell of warm biscuits and the seaside with the taste of chocolate ice cream, apple juice and the warmth of sunshine. She fills the jar and visits her loved ones to share her invention. But one day her jar goes missing. She searches everywhere but cannot find it. As she retraces her footsteps she discovers there are many different ways to share happiness.

  2. Love: From Sesame Street - The New York Times Bestseller! A delightful, fun explanation of all of the different definitions of love, from beloved Sesame Street characters!

  3. Miles of Smiles - When someone smiles, who knows where it goes? Baby smiles at Mommy, Mom keeps it for a while . . . and then passes it on. As the smile begins its joyful journey–moving from a first-grade class to a soccer team, from Gran to a garbage man, even to a puppy–it spreads happiness throughout the community, bringing everyone together. A sunny picture book guaranteed to make kids SMILE!

  4. Do Nice, Be Kind, Spread Happy - “In this book are lots of acts of kindness that kids can do to spread a little joy – with a side order of mischief and magic!” –P. [4] of cover.

Want to see books about kindness?

Books About Happiness and Animals

Add to list
The Best Bear in All the World
Written by Jeanne Willis, Kate Saunders, Brian Sibley, and Paul Bright & illustrated by Mark Burgess
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

For the 90th anniversary of Winnie-the-Pooh, a sequel featuring new stories and a new character from the Hundred Acre Wood.

Now a New York Times Bestseller.

The Trustees of the Pooh Properties have commissioned four authors to write in the timeless style of A.A. Milne to create a quartet of charming new adventures for Winnie-the-Pooh, Christopher Robin, and their friends. Winter, Spring, Summer, and Fall: take a trip back to the Hundred Acre Wood with a collection of tales sure to delight year-round.

One story finds Winnie-the-Pooh and Piglet on a quest to discover the “Sauce of the Nile” (they suspect it’s apple). And in another, all the animals rally around poor Eeyore when he thinks he sees another donkey eyeing his clover. The winter story features a new penguin character, based on a stuffed toy owned by Christopher Robin Milne himself. Readers of all ages will love rediscovering old friends and making new ones in this essential new volume of Pooh stories.

The book feature beautiful color artwork in the style of Ernest H. Shepard by Mark Burgess.

Buy book
$21.99
Bookshop
$18.69
Amazon
$18.20
Used $2.01
Prices as of Jan 23
Add to list
Pom Pom Panda Gets the Grumps
Written & illustrated by Sophy Henn
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-3

An adorable story about a grumpy panda who wakes up on the wrong side of the bed–now available as a board book!

One morning, Pom Pom Panda wakes up on the wrong side of the bed . . . and then nothing goes right. He can’t find his blanky, Timmington. And to make matters worse, his baby brother, Boo Boo, is playing with his favorite toy. Harrumph! By the time he arrives at school, Pom Pom is in a terrible mood. When his friends ask if he wants to play, that terrible mood comes pouring out: “LEAVE ME ALONE!”

And that’s exactly what happens, much to Pom Pom’s surprise.

From the creator of Where Bear? comes an adorable story that’ll be sure to cheer up any child (or parent) who woke up with a case of the grumps.

Buy book
$7.99
Bookshop
$6.79
Amazon
$7.99
Used $7.99
Prices as of Jan 23
Add to list
The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse
Written & illustrated by Charlie Mackesy
chapter book
Recommend Ages: -

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER - WALL STREET JOURNAL BESTSELLER - USA TODAY BESTSELLER

From the revered British illustrator, a modern fable for all ages that explores life’s universal lessons, featuring 100 color and black-and-white drawings.

“What do you want to be when you grow up?” asked the mole.


“Kind,” said the boy.

Charlie Mackesy offers inspiration and hope in uncertain times in this beautiful book based on his famous quartet of characters. The Boy, the Mole, the Fox, and the Horse explores their unlikely friendship and the poignant, universal lessons they learn together.

Radiant with Mackesy’s warmth and gentle wit, The Boy, the Mole, the Fox, and the Horse blends hand-written narrative with dozens of drawings, including some of his best-loved illustrations (including “Help,” which has been shared over one million times) and new, never-before-seen material. A modern classic in the vein of The Tao of Pooh, The Alchemist, and The Giving Tree, this charmingly designed keepsake will be treasured for generations to come.

Buy book
$22.99
Bookshop
$19.54
Amazon
$15.17
Used $11.02
Prices as of Jan 23
Honorable Mentions
Add to list
Add to list
Add to list
Add to list
  1. Maybe the Moon - Maybe the Moon tells the story of Eric, a little boy who loves his life in his forest home with his animal friends for company. When he moves to the city, he sets about searching for happiness in a strange new environment. Eric’s journey shows him that whatever the differences between people and places, we are all united and are never alone when we share the same moon. Frances Ives’ beautiful illustrations bring to life this charming story that features a rhyming refrain to enchant both children and parents alike.

  2. If You're Happy and You Know It - Sing, stomp, and clap along - if you’re happy, let it show! Get the youngest listeners moving, clapping, and flapping in this brightly colored board book, perfect for small hands, full of joyful jungle animals. Nod along with groovy giraffe, flap with baby bird, and ROAR out loud with lion. Jane Cabrera’s fresh spin on the familiar song is a family favorite for baby dance parties since 2003. An Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Platinum Award Winner. Jane Cabrera’s Story Time celebrates children’s best-loved read along nursery rhymes and songs. These interactive favorites are given a new twist by award-winning artist Jane Cabrera and feature her bold, bright, kid-friendly illustrations. Other titles in the series include Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush, One Two Buckle My Shoe, and Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star.

  3. Perfect Square - "A book that begs for reams of colored paper, rooms full of imaginative hands, and a whole lot of clapping and giggling."--Washington Post

  4. You Make Me Happy - A new beautifully illustrated celebration of love and friendship from the bestselling creators behind I’ll Never Let You Go and I Love You Night and Day. In this delightfully optimistic and uplifting observance of that special someone who makes you happy, Fox and Porcupine discover that when they’re together, life is ever so much brighter. Gorgeous, fun, and full of heart, this is the perfect gift for that sweet ray of light in your life. You make me happy, you make me new; Together there’s NOTHING that we cannot do. You make me happy and hopeful and strong, And right by your side is where I belong.

Want to see books about animals?

Books About Happiness and Self-esteem

Add to list
Wonder
Written by R. J. Palacio
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Born with a facial deformity that initially prevented his attendance at public school, Auggie Pullman enters the fifth grade at Beecher Prep and struggles with the dynamics of being both new and different, in a sparsely written tale about acceptance and self-esteem.

Buy book
$16.99
Bookshop
$14.44
Amazon
$9.73
Used $0.40
Prices as of Jan 23
Add to list
Shine!
Written by Patrick McDonnell & illustrated by Naoko Stoop
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7

A shining new picture book about learning to appreciate the wonders in your world and within yourself, by New York Times bestselling author Patrick McDonnell and Naoko Stoop, creator of Red Knit Cap Girl, a New York Times Best Illustrated book Hoshi the sea star looks up in the sky and sees the stars shining. She wishes that she too could be in the sky amongst the brilliant stars–and as she imagines how much better it would be up in the air, she fails to appreciate the beautiful world that surrounds her underwater. It takes Hoshi’s friends, old and new, to help her realize that her shine comes from within. With gorgeous illustrations depicting colorful underwater life, Shine! teaches about the wonders that can be found inside ourselves. Naoko’s gorgeous use of plywood as the canvas for her work offers the perfect texture and pattern to evoke waves and sea currents in the underwater scenes.

Buy book
$16.99
Bookshop
$14.44
Amazon
$7.89
Used $1.35
Prices as of Jan 23
Add to list
Breathe and Be: A Book of Mindfulness Poems
Written by Kate Coombs & illustrated by Anna Emilia Laitinen
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Hear thunder crash, feel your toes touch sand, and watch leaves drift softly away on a quiet stream. The simple poems in Breathe and Be help children learn mindfulness as they connect to the beauty of the natural world.

Mindfulness teaches us how to stay calm, soothe our emotions, and appreciate the world around us. Whether we’re watching tiny colored fish darting in the water or exploring the leaves, branches, and roots of a towering tree, the thoughtful words and the lovely art of Breathe and Be remind us how much joy we can find by simply living with awareness and inner peace.

Buy book
$17.95
Bookshop
$15.26
Amazon
$11.39
Used $2.59
Prices as of Jan 23
Honorable Mentions
Add to list
Add to list
  1. Happiness Doesn't Come from Headstands - Trying—and failing—can be a path to happiness too. Leela loves to do yoga. She could do all sorts of poses, but there was one pose she couldn’t do. Every time Leela tried to do a headstand…KERPLUNK! This book explores the themes of acceptance, resilience, and self-compassion and offers the message that just because we may experience a failure does not mean that we are a failure. Written as a counterpoint to the message of The Little Engine that Could, Happiness Doesn’t Come from Headstands is a story about a girl who tries her best, but still falls down. Through the process she learns that happiness is not determined by external achievement. Even in the face of failure, peace can be found if we accept that we cannot do everything and focus on our experience.

  2. Spin - As she rides her bike up and down steep slopes, a little girl reminds herself that if she just keeps moving she will eventually climb her mountain.

Books About Happiness and Social Themes

Add to list
Emma
Written by Jennifer Adams & illustrated by Alison Oliver
board book
Recommend Ages: 2-4

Step into the drama filled world of Jane Austin’s Emma: A BabyLit Emotions Primer. Your little one will learn about the meddling Emma Woodhouse, who takes it upon herself to become the village matchmaker, creating all sorts of feelings in others. Her friend’s emotions include Mr. Elton being angry, Miss Taylor becoming happy, while Jane Fairfax is tired.

Buy book
$9.99
Bookshop
$8.49
Amazon
$9.99
Used $9.99
Prices as of Jan 23
Add to list
Happy Heart
Written by Hannah Eliot & illustrated by Susie Hammer
board book
Recommend Ages: 1-5

You are the sun in my sky. You are the apple of my eye. You mean the world to me. You make my heart so happy. Each page of this adorable board book is die-cut in a different shape. With sweet, loving text, bright, happy illustrations from Susie Hammer, and glitter on every page, Happy Heart is perfect to share with someone you love!

Buy book
$7.99
Bookshop
$6.79
Amazon
$6.49
Used $1.21
Prices as of Jan 23
Add to list
Sweep
Written by Louise Greig & illustrated by Júlia Sardà
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Ed’s bad mood begins as something really small, hardly a thing at all. But before long it grows, gathers pace, and spreads through the whole town. Can Ed sweep his troubles away?

Buy book
$17.99
Bookshop
$15.29
Amazon
$14.49
Used $8.06
Prices as of Jan 23
Honorable Mentions
Add to list
Add to list
Add to list
Add to list
  1. The Big Little Thing - From the award-winning illustrator Beatrice Alemagna, this beautiful book explores the pure pleasure of savoring the little things in life It unexpectedly arrived. It brushed passed someone in the street. It weaves its way in and out of people on the street. It catches people completely unawares. But what is this It? They call It . . . happiness! In this outstanding book, award-winning illustrator and author Beatrice Alemagna captures the pure pleasure of embracing the small things in life. Following in the footsteps of A Lion in Paris, the striking and poignant illustrations bring this sensitive story to life.

  2. When I'm Feeling Happy - The Feelings Series are beautifully produced picture books that cover different emotional concepts for young children. The Feeling series is especially designed to help children better understand their feelings and how to identify, manage and express those feelings in an appropriate and acceptable way - both to themselves and others. These books provide an invaluable tool to help build confidence, self-esteem and contribute to a healthy emotional foundation upon which children can thrive.

  3. Dave's Cave - Dave loves his cave. The inside is decorated exactly the way he likes it. But what if there’s a better cave out there? Dave needs to find out for himself. This humorous romp from a celebrated author-illustrator reminds readers that sometimes there’s no place like home. Full color.

  4. The Christmas Eve Tree - In a deeply moving story with the hallmarks of a classic, a homeless boy’s rescue of a spindly Christmas tree sparks a glimmer of hope that has far-reaching effects. It’s late on Christmas Eve, and the little fir tree is the only tree left in the shop. What a poor thing I am, it thinks. But then a young boy enters the store, drawn in from the damp by the warmth and lights and the wonderful smell of Christmas, and he doesn’t seem to mind that the scrawny tree isn’t tall and straight like the others. . . . This magical story, beautifully illustrated by Emily Sutton, captures an unexpected and unforgettable moment of happiness that brings a whole city together.

Books About Happiness and Friendship

Add to list
Big Ideas for Little Philosophers: Happiness with Aristotle
Written by Maureen McQuerry and Duane Armitage & illustrated by Robin Rosenthal
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-3

An exciting board book series that asks deep questions in a wonderfully accessible way.

Even little children have big questions about life. Finding happiness is a lifelong goal and Aristotle thought deeply about it. Why are we here? What is the best way to live a happy life? Having friends who are fun and adventurous is important, but it’s also important to have true friends who will help us be good people and tell us when we’re straying from that. He also believed we have to love ourselves in order to love others and be happy. This book will prompt readers to concentrate on what makes them happy and how they can be a good friend to others and themselves.

Buy book
$8.99
Bookshop
$7.64
Amazon
$8.99
Used $8.99
Prices as of Jan 23
Add to list
Kitty Cones: What Makes Us Happy?
Written & 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.

Buy book
$8.99
Bookshop
$7.64
Amazon
$8.99
Used $8.99
Prices as of Jan 23
Add to list
Ode to an Onion
Written by Alexandria Giardino & illustrated by Felicita Sala
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

Sad about the subject of a poem he is writing, Pablo Neruda visits his friend Matilde who shows him, through a simple onion, that happiness can be found even through tears. Includes facts about Pablo and Matilde, and Neruda’s Ode to the Onion in Spanish and English.

Buy book
$17.95
Bookshop
$15.26
Amazon
$8.49
Used $3.48
Prices as of Jan 23
Honorable Mentions
Add to list
Add to list
Add to list
Add to list
  1. Layla's Happiness - "Affirmations of black childhood abound, and whimsical wishes float like dandelion fluff. Equally as imaginative as the lyrical text, Corrin's boldly colored, textured illustrations beautifully capture the buoyant spirit of Layla, a brown girl exuding confidence, comfortable in her own skin--indoors and out. Well-illustrated poetry of the best kind that will leave sunshine in its wake." -STARRED REVIEW, Kirkus

  2. The Fox on the Swing - Once upon a time a boy called Paul lived in a treehouse with his mother and father. One day a fox appeared in Paul’s life - and when a fox comes into your life, Anything can happen. This sensitive story about friendship, dreams and happiness was written by Evelina Daciute and illustrated by Ausra Kiudulaite. It tells the story of Paul and the fox, whom he encounters one day when out buying bread for the family, and how their relationship begins, develops and shifts as life forces change on them both. The book’s themes are friendship, change, loss and the importance of seeking happiness in the little things of life

  3. Hiking Day - Beloved author Anne Rockwell celebrates nature and the outdoors with a gorgeous new picture book about a child’s first mountain hike! A young girl and her family go hiking up a nearby mountain for the very first time. As they climb up and up the path, they see everything from a friendly toad to a prickly porcupine, tall leafy trees to tiny red berries. Anne Rockwell and her daughter, artist Lizzy Rockwell, celebrate a day the little girl will never forget, especially when she reaches the mountain’s summit. With simple, lyrical text and bright illustrations that jump off the page, Hiking Day brings the joys of spending an afternoon outdoors to life.

  4. How to Grow Happiness - Jerome the Gnome takes young readers on whimsical adventures through his garden, celebrating discovery and sowing the imagination as he introduces topics such as science, environmental awareness, and agriculture. In How to Grow Happiness, Jerome and his fellow Garden of Wonder dwellers—including Oakie, his pet acorn; Nutilda, a hyperactive squirrel; and Warble, a fast-talking bird—learn what it takes to make a happiness seed blossom. Through patience, asking for help, and teamwork, Jerome and his friends take a little black seed left on a windowsill and find ways to help it grow. They soon find that as it flourishes, their own happiness does too. Jerome the Gnome teaches young readers and listeners how a garden grows, as well as how a community comes together to make the experience more rewarding—and fun!

Books About Happiness and Family

Add to list
Looking for Yesterday
Written & illustrated by Alison Jay
picture book
Recommend Ages: 2-5

If yesterday was the best day ever, wouldn’t it be great to find a way to repeat it? A whimsical tale about happiness with sure appeal for science-minded kids – and wise grandparents – everywhere. What could beat yesterday’s perfect day at the fair? Maybe nothing, one boy thinks, and he wishes he could go back and do it again. So he puts all his scientific knowledge to work, from stars to time machines to wormholes (is it possible he could find one in his garden?). He thinks that maybe Grandad could help him. But Grandad, in sharing some memories from his own past, reminds him that every new day brings the chance of a new adventure. With quirky illustrations imparting a sense of wonder, Alison Jay takes a fanciful look at being content in the here and now.

Buy book
$16.99
Bookshop
$14.44
Amazon
$14.59
Used $4.25
Prices as of Jan 23
Add to list
Sing, Don't Cry
Written & illustrated by Angela Dominguez
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Once a year, Abuelo comes from Mexico to visit his family. He brings his guitar, his music—and his memories. In this story inspired by the life of Apolinar Navarrete Diaz—author Angela Dominguez’s grandfather and a successful mariachi musician—Abuelo and his grandchildren sing through the bad times and the good. Lifting their voices and their spirits, they realize that true happiness comes from singing together.

Buy book
$17.99
Bookshop
$15.29
Amazon
$17.99
Used $17.99
Prices as of Jan 23
Add to list
Joy
Written by Corrinne Averiss & illustrated by Isabelle Follath
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6

Fern’s Nanna has not been herself of late. And when Mom remarks that all the joy seems to have gone out of her life, Fern decides to fetch the joy back. With a net, a box, and a bag to help her, she begins her search for joy. A wonderful and uplifting story that is guaranteed to bring joy to every reader.

Buy book
$17.95
Bookshop
$15.26
Amazon
$13.96
Used $5.38
Prices as of Jan 23
Honorable Mentions
Add to list
Add to list
Add to list
Add to list
  1. The Kiss - Edwyn blows Grandma a kiss that brings smiles, laughter and dancing! But a rich man wants the kiss all to himself – and he’ll do anything to get it!

  2. All My Treasures - When a girl receives a beautiful porcelain box from her grandmother, she immediately wants something special to put inside it. But what could it be? What does she love best? She loves jumping in puddles on rainy days, blowing bubbles in the park, and watching her little sister s first steps. As it turns out, life s most precious treasures cannot be contained in a box! With a gentle message about the immateriality of happiness, this story reminds us to take pleasure in everyday moments. The book is beautifully packaged with a sparkly die-cut star on the cover, and flaps throughout reveal hidden surprises. “

  3. So Happy Together! - A warm tale about brothers, sisters, and the importance of family. Brayden Bunny is grumpy. His friend Lena is playing silly games with his sisters, leaving him all alone. Then he hears there is a storm on the way, and he knows his sisters, Minnie and Millie, are frightened of thunder and lightning. Suddenly he’s not grumpy anymore. He needs to save his sisters.

  4. Show Me Happy - Show me happy. Show me helping. Show me sharing when we play. Show me NOISY, Show me quiet. Show me putting things away. From the team that created A Kiss Means I Love you, this new book of engaging photos will “show” early learners simple actions and concepts that all children learn as they begin to socialize and communicate. Lively, charming photos illustrate real kids doing common activities like helping and sharing or pushing and pulling. A perfect companion to the first book, Show Me Happy is a delightful read-aloud that will make any story time expressive and fun.

Did you enjoy our happiness book recommendations? Did you know you can help us improve this list? Check out our Community Handbook and learn how to add tags to books.

Additional book lists you might enjoy:

Suggested Links