HAPPY by Nicola Edwards


A Beginner's Book of Mindfulness
by ; illustrated by
Age Range: 4 - 8
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Young readers are encouraged to stop and “smell life’s sweet roses” in order to find happiness.

Despite the saccharine opening, this title provides a mostly solid collection of mindfulness minipractices. Each spread features one sensory or emotional focal point, such as listening, feeling, and appreciating. Irregular lines of rhyming text set atop lush illustration provide context for how to practice; a question or statement encouraging reflection provides direct instruction. For example, five diverse children snuggle up near a fire in a room tinted red for the spread that focuses on love. The text prompts readers to consider that happiness grows from acts of kindness. The concluding question asks, “Have you given someone a smile or a hug today?” Though giving smiles and hugs isn’t necessarily a mindfulness practice, it is a way to encourage kindness and compassion. Connection with the natural world is emphasized through the illustrations’ idyllic rural setting. Though it falls into many of the same traps as others in the growing genre—conflating mindfulness with happiness, lumping multiple social-emotional learning strategies together under the name of “mindfulness,” and romanticizing isolation from day-to-day city and suburban life—the overall utility of this book is strong.

A fine resource for sharing moments of mindfulness, empathy, and reflection with young children. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: April 21st, 2020
ISBN: 978-0-593-12119-1
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: Rodale Kids
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15th, 2020


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