Books I Love: Five Kids Books That Make Us All Happy
Continuing this season of blog posts sharing some of our favourite things (and basically my version of a gift guide or two!), following on from the best timeless toys my kids play with all the time, today I have five happy kids books we all love (yes, children and parents alike!).
To be clear, we have MANY favourite kids books in our house, and I will hopefully one day share more in-depth lists of our best books for children, but not all of them leave us feeling with an instant glow of happiness, contentment and joy. So for today's purposes, here's just a really quick dive into five books I read all the time with both my 5-year-old and my 2-year-old.
I'll be honest and say I don't always read these happy kids books with both kids at the same time - my lap is only so big, and my youngest is a lot more impatient about turning pages and progressing a story than my eldest - but it's true that all of these beautiful children's books have something for kids of many ages, rather than being super age-specific, although I would say they are best for children aged 2 - 6ish.
So here we go! Oh, but wait...
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The Best Kids Books That Make Us Happy!
If I had to pick an all-time favourite children's book in our house, it would be this one. It's pure happiness wrapped up in a collection of colourful pages with words that rhyme, telling the story of a young child growing up, experiencing many different things and becoming the super duper person they are.
My kids love the art and colour, and I love how so much of this book is ambiguous from the relationship between the narrator and the child, as well as the genders of both characters. It's just one of those happy kids books that will make your heart feel full after turning the final page.
Buy from Bookshop.org UK.
From the feelgood to the ridiculous, Stuck was our first book by author-illustrator Oliver Jeffers but we now have several mostly thanks to the instant hilarity of this book. Stuck starts with Floyd getting his kite stuck in a tree but it certainly doesn't end there.
I read somewhere recently that Jeffers that the idea for Stuck long before he wrote it because he couldn't think of a worthy ending for a long time. While it was definitely worth the wait and still makes us chuckle even though we've all read this happy book 100s of times!
Buy from Bookshop.org UK or from Bookshop.org USA.
If I Had a Dinosaur by Gabby Dawnay and Alex Barrow
This was one of the first books about dinosaurs we bought for our eldest when it quickly transpired his interest was no passing phase, roughly around the age of 3.5. If I Had a Dinosaur is perfect for that age, and possibly younger, as it plays around with one kid's dream of owning a pet dinosaur - something I'm sure my boy has thought about many a time.
It is a happy kid's book because of this imagination, because it rhymes and because of the fill-in-the-gaps style of some of the story - where kids get to end a sentence by saying what they see in the picture. As a parent, it makes me happy that my white boys are reading a book about a young Black girl wanting a pet dinosaur dispelling a stereotype or two along the way. Also her parents and her house is so cool looking I'm convince they're designers or something like that! These things make me happy so yep, one happy book here!
Buy on Bookshop.org UK and Bookshop.org USA. (Also look out for companion books If I Had a Unicorn and If I Had a Sleepy Sloth)
All Are Welcome by Alexandra Penfold and Suzanne Kaufmann
Another happy children's book that is also a great talking and learning opportunity for kids and adults alike. All Are Welcome is all about a multicultural school where everyone is welcome. Focusing very much on diversity being a strength, and differences being celebrated, the colourful illustrations bring to life a busy and happy school, while the words repeat the phrase "all are welcome here".
This was also a great book to help introduce the idea of school and starting school to my son just before he did so. We go back to it just before the end of school holidays too and we both like to point out kids having fun and the different kinds of families represented too. It's just a very bright, upbeat, optimistic book about diversity so can't help but make you feel happy... and hopeful too.
Buy on Bookshop.org UK or Bookshop.org USA.
The Storm Whale by Benji Davies
In the interest of keeping things real, this is not a happy happy happy kid's book, in that it's not all happy-happy from start to finish. BUT there is a happy ending, and it leaves me feeling happy because it's actually still sad and not the ending that our kids want, perhaps, if that makes sense.
Personally, for me this is something that makes me happy because it's important to me that my kids are exposed to all sorts of feelings in stories, and this book in particular handles the happy-sad ending with grace, empathy and kindness. There's also plenty of hope in The Storm Whale, which also makes me happy for my kids to be exposed to.
The book also makes me happy because it has quite a lot of depth to it without going into great amounts of detail. The illustrations are also delightful and I never bore of turning the page of this book. And the good news is there is a sequel (The Storm Whale in Winter) should you want more of the same, and yes, another happy endings!
Buy from Bookshop.org UK or from Bookshop.org USA.
And that's my happy kids book recommendations for today! Want more children's books recommendations? Here are my best baby books about travel, and best books about travel for kids under 6.
Come back tomorrow for another post with some recommendations of things I love and small/indie businesses to support. If you'd like to save or share this post, here are some images you can pin:
Frances M. Thompson
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