42 Children's Books About Happiness

Updated Jan. 19, 2019
Emma book
#1
Emma
Written by Jennifer Adams and 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.

Wonder book
#2
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.

Be Happy! book
#3
Be Happy!
Written and 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.

Augustus and His Smile book
#4
Augustus and His Smile
Written and 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.

The Best Bear in All the World book
#5
The Best Bear in All the World
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.

Pom Pom Panda Gets the Grumps book
#6
Pom Pom Panda Gets the Grumps
Written and 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.

Last Stop on Market Street book
#7
Last Stop on Market Street
Written by Matt De La Pena and 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.

Shine! book
#8
Shine!
Written by Patrick McDonnell and 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.

Kitty Cones: What Makes Us Happy? book
#9
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.

Sing, Don't Cry book
#10
Sing, Don't Cry
Written and 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.

The Jar of Happiness book
#11
The Jar of Happiness
Written and illustrated by Ailsa Burrows
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

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.

My Heart Fills with Happiness book
#12
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.

A Happy Day book
#13
A Happy Day
Written by Fran Manushkin and illustrated by Tammy Lyon
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 5-7

Katie Woo loves her life and lists the many reasons she is so happy.

Joy book
#14
Joy
Written by Corrinne Averiss and 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.

The Glassmaker's Daughter book
#15
The Glassmaker's Daughter
Written by Dianne Hofmeyr and illustrated by Jane Ray
picture book
Recommend Ages: 7-10

Daniela the glassmaker's daughter is grumpy and never smiles. Her father promises a beautiful glass palace to anyone who can make her laugh. People come from far and wide to try their luck in amusing Daniela. But mask makers, lion tamers and magicians cannot raise a smile from the princess. It is only when a young apprentice makes the first looking glass that Daniela learns to smile – at her own grumpy reflection! This beautiful fable set in sixteenth-century Venice features stunning illustrations from award-winning artist Jane Ray alongside a poetic text.

The Color Thief book
#16
The Color Thief
Written by Polly Peters, Andrew Fusek Peters and illustrated by Karin Littlewood
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

A child recounts his experience of losing his father to depression in this poignant and beautifully illustrated picture book. The boy's father disappears into a world without color. As the father seeks help, color begins to reappear and with it hope. An ideal book for parents and caregivers to share with children to help them make sense of the devastating effects that depression can cause.

Show Me Happy book
#17
Show Me Happy
Written by Kathryn Madeline Allen and illustrated by Eric Futran
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-3

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.

How to Grow Happiness book
#18
How to Grow Happiness
Written by Kelly DiPucchio and illustrated by Matt Kaufenberg
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-6

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!

Unstoppable Max book
#19
Unstoppable Max
Written and illustrated by Julia Patton
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6

Max is a four-year-old whirlwind who doesn't have an off switch! His socks are odd, his bedroom is chaotic, and his mind is so full of imaginative schemes that following even the simplest of instructions can end in mayhem. Max's bedtime routine, so seemingly simple, becomes a military operation for Max with many obstacles to overcome - tidying his bedroom, putting on his pyjamas, and feeding his pet goldfish! Illustrated with non-stop energy by exciting new author/illustrator, Julia Patton.

The Fox on the Swing book
#20
The Fox on the Swing
Written by Evelina Daciutè and illustrated by Ausra Kiudulaite
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-9

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

The Kiss book
#21
The Kiss
Written by and illustrated by Linda Sunderland, Jessica Courtney-Tickle
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6

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!

Breathe and Be: A Book of Mindfulness Poems book
#22
Breathe and Be: A Book of Mindfulness Poems
Written by Kate Coombs and 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.

People Don't Bite People book
#23
People Don't Bite People
Written by Lisa Wheeler and illustrated by Molly Idle
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

It’s good to bite a carrot. It’s good to bite a steak. It’s bad to bite your sister! She’s not a piece of cake. Cause… People don’t bite people! That’s what this book’s about. So if you find you’re tooth-inclined— you’d better check it out!

Spin book
#24
Spin
Written by Rebecca Janni and illustrated by George Ermos
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

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.

100 Things That Make Me Happy book
#25
100 Things That Make Me Happy
Written and illustrated by Amy Schwartz
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

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.

Have a suggestion for a book to add to this list? Send an email to [email protected]!