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Because Amelia Smiled
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Because Amelia Smiled

3.84 of 5 stars 3.84  ·  rating details  ·  391 ratings  ·  124 reviews
Just try not to smile! A positively inspiring picture book from the creator of the Caldecott Honor–winning Interrupting Chicken.

Because Amelia smiles as she skips down the street, her neighbor Mrs. Higgins smiles too, and decides to send a care package of cookies to her grandson Lionel in Mexico. The cookies give Lionel an idea, and his idea inspires a student, who in turn
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Hardcover, 40 pages
Published September 11th 2012 by Candlewick Press
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2013 Mock Caldecott
61st out of 97 books — 232 voters
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Picture Books About Kindness
18th out of 60 books — 16 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 823)
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Lisa Vegan
I haven’t been reading many picture books in recent months, but I’m really glad I read this one.

The pictures are wonderful. They sophisticated and fun, and I think they’re beautiful. I love the colors, the details, and the art style, which is reminiscent of the Impressionists.

The story is maybe a little too simplistic, but it does illustrate a fine point, and I did smile at the end, and I enjoyed the story. It’s definitely one I’d recommend for enjoyment and for lessons about how we’re all inter
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Darshana Khiani (Flowering Minds)
A sweet, tender story about how we are all inter-connected through a "butterfly effect" type of storyline. Amelia smile inspires Mrs. Higgins to bake cookies and send them to her son Lionel in Mexico. Lionel happy to receive the cookies, teaches his class a song about cookies, which inspires one of this students to become a teacher ... and the chain reaction of goodwill and inspiration continues across several other countries and eventually back to Amelia in the US.

The illustrations are gorgeous
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NebraskaIcebergs
For me to read a picture book to my husband, it has to be either very good or very bad. In the case of Because Amelia Smiled, it’s because it is very good. It’s the type of picture book that I also wouldn’t hesitate to read to my students who, at age ten, think they are far too old for picture books. Told in a circular style, where the ending leads back to the beginning, Because Amelia Smiled by David Ezra Stein is delightful fun. As are the inviting illustrations with their dynamic blend of cra ...more
Jessica
We're all familiar with the chain reaction picture book, like If You Give a Mouse a Cookie. The idea is that because of one small action, a much greater one occurs at the end. Because Amelia Smiled is a bit of a twist on that trope. The chain reaction actually goes all over the world, and it doesn't get any bigger. It starts and ends with Amelia's smile, so it's circular, which is kind of cute. However, the around the world stuff is really, really random and kind of weird. It starts out with lit ...more
Dolly
This is a sweet, circuitous story that speaks to the wide-ranging effects of an action, akin to the Butterfly effect. It's nice to think that a simple smile can trigger a string of events all around the world.

The illustrations are a bit fuzzy/scratchy for my taste, but overall, they are colorful and complement the story nicely. It's a fun story to read aloud and we really enjoyed reading it together.

I don't know how many times I have mentioned it here, but I have the oddest coincidences in my
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Barbara
This picture book with a positive message prompted me to think about the ripple effects our actions have and how one positive action (or even one negative action) can change the world. Dashing through the rain, Amelia smiles, setting off a domino effect as one person after another happens to take note of something pleasant and respond accordingly. For instance, a neighbor sees that smile and sends fresh-baked cookies to her grandson who is inspired to teach a song to his class. The reminder of h ...more
Tim
Apr 25, 2014 Tim added it
Shelves: multicultural
primary

Text to world: Did you hear about the story in the news where the man in the McDonald’s drive thru paid for the order of the people behind him? Then those people paid for the next, and on and on and on. This is just like Amelia’s smile in this book, and the chain reaction it sets off.

Knowledge: What were some of the countries named in this book?
Comprehension: How are all of the events in this story connected?
Application: At the end Amelia smiled again. What might happen next if the story
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Lu Benke
...makes me smile. And gives me hope that we will get to a point that the discussion is no longer about the threat of new technologies to children and literacy. The illustrations were interesting if a bit cluttered. They were fun to pour over to see if I could uncover additional evidence of both old and new communication technology. Circular tale. Think global village and humans being human even if they have the latest ipad.
Mary Ann
This book leaves ME smiling. I like the message that our spontaneous acts of kindness can impact those close to us as well as total strangers near and far. I worry a little bit that young kids will have troubles following all the leaps.
Molly
Put me in mind of All the World by Scanlon, because of it's positive, yet simple message. If you are sentimental and you read it in storytime, be warned the last few pages might make your eyes water (mine did, must be allergies)
Margie
David Ezra Stein's artwork and narrative are blended perfectly in this marvelous journey of a single smile.

My full review:
http://librariansquest.blogspot.com/2...
June
Feb 26, 2013 June rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: everyone
Recommended to June by: Pollly Ross and Katie Fitzgerald
Very sweet picture book that follows the effect of a smile around the world and back to the original smiler.
Melissa
The specificity of the events, both mundane and outrageous, made my day.
Emily
Fun story and concept, but really don't like the illustration style.
Bambini Travel
Has a smile ever brightened your day? A little girl named Amelia smiles at her neighbor and sets off a chain reaction that travels around the world. From Mexico to England to Israel to Paris and back to New York City simple acts of joy and kindness cause a ripple effect that change lives and brighten days. Cheerful illustrations and a beautiful message about the infectious and universal nature of a smile. Caldecott Honor winner, David Ezra Stein has perfectly reminded us all to smile and then pa ...more
The Book Maven
In New York City, little Amelia smiles, and makes her neighbor smile. Now in a good mood, her neighbor bakes cookies and sends them to her son in Mexico--and from there, the kind and thoughtful activities continue around the world, ending up right back in New York City. And Amelia smiles again.

This vividly-colored picture book is an excellent and entirely realistic way to teach young readers the all-too-accurate importance of smiles and kind treatment to everyone. Perfect for a Library storytime
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Kim
Grades K-3

As Amelia and her parents splash through the rain, Amelia smiles in delight. A glimpse of that smile through a window inspires a grandmother to smile herself and to bake a batch of cookies for her grandson who is teaching in Mexico. When Lionel receives the cookies, he shares them with his class and teaches them a song about cookies, which inspires one of his students to be a teacher, too. Sensacia creates a video of herself teaching a group of youngsters to kickbox and posts it onlin
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Jennifer
We love to group books: Books for reluctant readers. Books for new siblings. Books about bullying. As an ESL teacher, I look for another kind of grouping: books that tell their story similarly. For native-speaker students, a teacher looks to reading as a way to practice converting the inky shapes on the page into a sound the student recognizes as a word. My students are often excellent at decoding the sounds of a squiggle (sometimes bogglingly so - how did you manage to guess that -ough correctl ...more
Fjóla
There have been other children's books on the same idea, I can think of for instance The Rain Came Down by David Shannon, or the - in my opinion overrated - If You Give a Mouse a Cookie series. But two things make this one stand out: For one, the illustrations are absolutely delightful. They're kind of unique, very evocative, and some of the scenic ones from different countries made be think of postcards. The use of colors a little bit in the direction of The Hello, Goodbye Window, but more subd ...more
Amy Musser
A series of good actions is set into motion by the single positive act of Amelia smiling in New York City. This smile is seen by Mrs. Higgins, who smiles too and then thinks of her grandson in Mexico. So she makes him cookies, which he shares with his class along with a song about cookies in English. And because he teaches the class a song, one of the other students, a kickboxer, decides to be a teacher too and she puts some kickboxing tutorials on the internet, which are seen by a dance troupe ...more
Dana Beyer
Children and the adult who reads to them will luv traveling around the world spreading happiness because of Amelia's infectious smile. What a difference one individual can make! The following quote is on the book jacket: "We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affections directly, affects all indirectly." Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The book is quick read. The artwork will entice one to reread many times.
Joan
Feb 28, 2013 Joan rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: storytime readers, parents who want established writers and illustrators
I am not really a fan of Stein's style of illustration. I think it is too hard for kids to follow, and this one at least was too complicatedly colorful. The story, while sweet, was a bit far fetched, to put it mildly. I think Stein had a great idea but I didn't care for the execution of it. I would reach for "I Like Your Buttons!" over this one. That uses a simpler color scheme, is more concrete and real to the kids I think. It is the same type of story: the consequences of a small action and ho ...more
Kristen
First, I want to say that I loved this book. Even for an adult it is so inspiring. The story of how one little girls smile can influence so many people around the world, just makes you want to smile. I believe that this book should win an award alone on the storyline, but I really believe it should win the 2013 Caldecott Medal. The illustrations in this book are beautiful. David Ezra Stein forms his own style of illustration with this book. It was said that he illustrated this picture with crayo ...more
Stephanie Weatherly
Because Amelia Smiled is a sweet and simple story that shows how our actions can positively affect others. Amelia smiles on the street, and when her neighbor sees her smile, she remembers her grandson who is studying far away. She makes him cookies, and he shares them with his class. This goes on to spark an idea, and people all over the world end up being impacted by different events that all happened because Amelia smiled! This is a great example of paying it forward, and shows how kindness ca ...more
Anja Manning
There are three reasons I love this book - in the following order:

1) The illustrations are amazing!!! I opened the book onto the main title page, and was completely caught up in the double-page illustration. (Of the title page!!!) There is so much going on. The world is colorful even though it is raining. There is movement in the pictures. Each picture is irresistible.

2) The story travels around the world, and includes people of all ages, colors and nationalities. This adds a level of significan
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Nancy
In a pay-it-forward plot, Amelia’s smile starts a chain of events: cookies sent to Mexico, a kickboxing video inspiring an English Ballet club in Israel, a Parisien make-over for a band that results in Gregor proposing to Phyllis-the tight-rope walker-in Italy, which inspires the Pigeon Man to let his pigeons fly free over New York. Bringing the story back full-circle, guess what Amelia does when she sees them? Told with detailed, vibrant “Stein-line” illustrations (crayon on waxy labels transfe ...more
Rebecca
You never know the effects of a smile, and even the dedication of this book encourages positivity: "To you: Pass it on!" The little girl Amelia smiles, and the effects spread to cities around the world, touching upon stories with just enough of the ridiculous ("caught on film by a TV crew that was doing a story on stray cats") that will keep it the kid appeal high and the treacly threat low. The illustrations are scruffy, urban, and happy, and my wish for them to be slightly brighter and cleaner ...more
Tiffyt86
An adorable book about chain of advents. Makes you think about your own actions and how they could effect others. Such a good book!!! I really love this author.
MsLISt
Fantastic way to intro' children to the idea that their actions have consequences, but with a positive spin! Unusual names and foreign destinations and all kinds of people add a special something to this very special story.
Courtney
Reminds me of the 6 degrees of separation thing.

A little girl's smile influences one of her neighbours to send her grandson in mexico cookies. He gets the cookies and decides to share them with his class. (view spoiler)

It's a cute story. Not terribly fascinating, but it's cute. The art style is different. It looks like the pictures are drawn in crayon maybe. You can tell what the pictures are of, but it's
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David Ezra Stein is an author-illustrator whose previous books include LEAVES, winner of an Ezra Jack Keats New Writer Award. He lives in Kew Gardens, New York.
More about David Ezra Stein...
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