Book Picks for National Happiness Happens Month

Happy Happiness Happens Month!

National Happiness Happens Month was created in 2000, but the MAWM team doesn’t want to limit the celebration of happiness to only 30 days out of the year!

We also feel that celebrating Happiness Month needs to start at home. This means being kinder to yourself and those around you. It’s hard to be kind to others when you are feeling torn up inside.

Celebrating happiness in general also means doing little things that make others happy as well. This can look like something as complex as volunteering your time and money to a charity of your choice, or as simple as snuggling up with your kids to read a book together.

We love the latter just a tiny bit more :). Here are some book picks to help you cultivate memorable moments and pockets of happiness in your day.

Books that Promote Happiness

Every Little Thing by Bob Marley and Cedella Marley

Every Little Thing by Bob Marley and Cedella Marley

Remember the comforting lyrics of the iconic Bob Marley song, “Everything’s gonna be alright”? Thanks to Bob Marley and Cedella Marley, this comforting theme has been creatively crafted into a book just for kids. Thanks to color illustrations and meaningful text, this song comes to life and is a refreshing way to reassure and comfort kids.

Kayla: A Modern-Day Princess series by Deedee Cummings

 

The new Kayla: A Modern-Day Princess picture book series has been described as “books that are filled with the joyful adventures of one little feisty brown girl.”  Although throughout the series, young Kayla does have her share of struggles, questions, challenges, and worries, the words and vibrant images convey that she is most definitely a “Happy To Be Me” kind of kid.

Books that share a message of joy, hopefulness, and happiness are ones that should be added to all home, church, school, and library bookshelves. Learn more about this series HERE.

100 Things That Make Me Happy by Amy Schwartz

This cheery book is bursting with rhyming text that talks about all sorts of things that make kids smile. We love that it is bright and colorful, but we really, really love that the illustrations feature diverse children taking part in fun, free-range activities. This book will also act as a great way to start a conversation with your own kids about what makes them happy.

Double Happiness by Nancy Tupper Ling

As a poet, former librarian, and veteran author, Ling has crafted a book filled with verse that shares the important connection between family history and the future with readers. Two children, Gracie and Jack, are gearing up for a big move. They will have to leave their beloved family behind but their Nai Nai (grandmother) gives them each a special happiness box to fill with important items.

My Trip to The Beach by Deedee Cummings

The young girl depicted in this story is feeling down so she finds a space all her own–an imaginary beach that makes her heart feel happy. With the help of the sun, the waves, sand, and sea spray, she discovers how to use nature’s gifts to take each bad thought and erase them like the waves wiping the flaws in the sand away. Through calming, inspiring, and simple exercises in My Trip to the Beach, readers will learn that mindfulness and meditation can transport them to special places to aid in the coping process.

Their practices can also enhance the skills of readers when it comes to important life skills like strengthening concentration, decreasing stress levels, reducing anger and impulse issues, and aiding in better self-awareness. As a seasoned therapist, the author provides poetic perspectives on life and its struggles that will help encourage children to focus on imagery, positivity, and the important message that with each sunrise comes a chance to begin again. {ages 5 and up}

“When I visit the beach, I am reminded of how awesome and majestic the world is.”~ author, Deedee Cummings

Books that Help When Trying to *Find* Happy

B is for Breathe: The ABCs of Coping with Fussy & Frustrating Feelings by Melissa Munro Boyd

From the letter A to the letter Z, B is for Breathe celebrates the many ways children can express their feelings and develop coping skills at an early age. Fun, cute, and exciting illustrations, this colorful book teaches kids simple ways to cope with fussy and frustrating emotions. This book will inspire kids to discuss their feelings, show positive behaviors, and practice calm down strategies.

HEART by Deedee Cummings

Lyrically and visually beautiful, Heart is a book for all ages and all walks of life.  Within the pages of Heart, readers, parents, and educators will find affirmations that, when hearts close from fear, other emotions like love, peace, joy, and happiness become closed off as well. Inspired by her work with foster children, the author uses lyrical prose and stunning illustrations to share beliefs of love, life, faith, and the power of prayer.

This is a much-needed book for children of all ages, especially those who have experienced trauma in their lives. Heart provides an overall message to readers that to find faith, they must never stop believing that there are good people in the world. This book is an excellent resource for classrooms, home bookshelves, and children’s counselor’s offices. Heart will help lift readers’ spirits and serves as a guide to the path to healing. {ages 5 and up}

Think of it Like This by Deedee Cummings

Think of it Like This!

Within the pages of Think of it Like This, three different bad situations are revealed: a little girl tears her cherished dress, a favorite store is closed, and a girl’s behavior is bossy and selfish. Each situation causes the main character to feel bad or struggle, but when each problem is reframed in a different and more positive way, new (and even better) solutions present themselves.

Through the gentle prompts in the book, readers are encouraged to think about their reactions and what is really happening. Is it the end of the world? Did it ruin your day? Does it really have to? Are you part of the problem? Can you change things? These pages are filled with simple solutions and messages that are so important for today’s kids to learn. This book also teaches therapeutic skills such as mindfulness and cognitive behavioral therapy to demonstrate the important lessons of self-control and perspective building. {ages 5 and up}

Being Kind: Lesson on Kindness, Empathy, and Inclusion by Brenda Li

Sometimes how we treat others directly affects our happiness whether we realize it or not. Being Kind is a book that shows many examples of kindness. It teaches kids to do the right thing in our society where diversity lives.

The story highlights a diverse classroom with students of different skin colors. Children are taught to be mindful and reach out to those who need help even if they look or act differently.

It teaches that any acts of kindness, big or small, can help people feel better. Kids love that the thumbs-up emoji pops up whenever something kind is being done! The language is simple, but the message is strong.

One More Thing: If you are finding yourself feeling edgy, fearful, and struggling to remain hopeful…check in with your heart.  What’s on your mind and heart that is pulling at you? Is there a conversation that needs to happen? A lifestyle shift that needs to occur? Spend some time sitting and thinking and then write it all down. Then, make note of all that you are grateful for. I’ve found that one of the best ways to find my way back to “happy” is to remind myself of all that I am grateful for.

 

 


About Deedee Cummings

As a therapist, attorney, author, and CEO of Make A Way Media, Deedee Cummings has a passion for making the world a better place. All ten of Cummings’ diverse picture, poetry, and workbooks for kids reflect her professional knowledge and love of life. Colorful and vibrant, her children’s books are not only fun for kids and adults to read, they also work to teach coping skills, reinforce the universal message of love, encourage mindfulness, and facilitate inclusion for all. Cummings has spent more than two decades working within the family therapy and support field and much of her writing shares her experiences of working with kids in therapeutic foster care. As a result, her catalogs of published books for kids are filled with positive, hopeful messages. Using therapeutic techniques in her stories to teach coping skills, Cummings also strives to lessen the stigma that some people feel when it comes to receiving mental health assistance.
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