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5 Books to Read about Hope & Happiness

Spring is a wonderful time of renewal and rejuvenation. The last traces of snow are disappearing. Daffodils are popping out of the dirt. Trees are budding. And children are getting ready for a chance to get out of school for two whole weeks! Which means lots of time to read!

It’s wonderful. The kids get a chance to unwind and have fun. It’s also chaotic, because the daily schedule that we as parents work hard to master, is now torn asunder. If your children are anything like mine, they need that schedule. I need that schedule. So this spring break, I plan on building in some quiet reading time. And while I will let my children choose the books they want to read, here are a few of the options I plan on giving them. Maybe your children will like them too.

Read #1 Rumi-Poet of Joy and Love

The first is Rumi—Poet of Joy and Love which is written and illustrated by Rashin Kheiriyeh (NorthSouth Books, 2024). This is a beautifully illustrated book. I enjoyed looking at all of the pictures; they are so vibrant and inviting. The story itself is also quite lovely. It’s about the poet Rumi: his childhood, his profession and his journey of discovery. Rumi was a wonderful teacher, but he often felt like something in his life was missing until he met the sun. After his friend left suddenly, Rumi realized that oftentimes, we are the thing we are looking for. We can create the beauty we are seeking in our world. And this realization inspired him to share what he learned with others. For ages 4 to 8.

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Read #2 Peace

Growing up, the words “love” and “joy” were often part of a trilogy that included “peace.” So, I’ve decided to round out that trilogy for you here as well. Peace by Baptiste Paul and Miranda Paul and illustrated by Estelí Meza (NorthSouth Books, 2024). This is a beautiful poem that perfectly captures the many different aspects of the word peace in a way that children can understand. And the illustrations by Meza are phenomenal. Each page is a little world in and of itself that your child can get lost in. For ages 4 to 8.

#3 Shizue’s Path

The third book is Shizue’s Path by Mark Sakamoto and illustrated by Rachel Wada (HarperCollins, 2023). This book might seem like an odd addition to this list, which has so far included books about love, joy and peace because Shizue’s Path is set in and around World War II. This story is about a young Japanese-Canadian girl and how she was treated during the war and after it ended.

It brought me to tears, and it may do the same to you and your children. But, keep reading, because while there is pain in this story, Shizue’s Path is truly a story of beauty and healing and hope. And Sakamoto’s hope for sharing this story, is that Shizue’s experience will help your children find their own path of beauty, healing and hope. Because, while we might wish it wasn’t true, we know our children will experience pain in their lives. For ages 4 to 8.

#4 A Penguin Like Me

Another book I’m hoping my kids will enjoy this spring break is A Penguin Like Me, which is written and illustrated by Marcus Pfister (NorthSouth Books, 2024). This book takes us deep within a fictional penguin colony, and introduces us to all of the different penguins like the newcomer, the funny one and the one who wants to fly. This colourful little book encourages children to be proud of who they are, because, like the penguins, we are all wonderfully unique. For ages 4 to 8.

#5 Blue Camas, Blue Camas

The final book is Blue Camas, Blue Camas by Danielle S. Marcotte and illustrated by Alyssa Koski (Heritage House, 2023). This book is a gentle look at one small way colonialism impacted the people and plants that lived here, by uprooting the Blue Camas plant. But like several of the other books on this list, this story is about hope and the chance to be the change we are searching for as we move forward to help our land heal. For ages 4 to 8.

I know that not all of these books will be easy reads—easy as in about light topics, they are all simple enough for children to read and understand—but I think they would all be a good read this break if your kids are looking for a chance to refresh their spirit. Because they all encourage children to have hope for the future, work towards that change, and love themselves for who they are, and that is always a good thing.

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