Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Because Amelia Smiled” as Want to Read:
Because Amelia Smiled
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Because Amelia Smiled

3.88  ·  Rating Details ·  511 Ratings  ·  155 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
Hardcover, 40 pages
Published September 11th 2012 by Candlewick Press
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Because Amelia Smiled, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Because Amelia Smiled

Extra Yarn by Mac BarnettAnd Then It's Spring by Julie FoglianoGreen by Laura Vaccaro SeegerThis is Not My Hat by Jon KlassenThe Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore by William Joyce
2013 Mock Caldecott
64th out of 97 books — 244 voters
Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratneyOwl Moon by Jane YolenInterrupting Chicken by David Ezra SteinWe're Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael RosenMitchell's License by Hallie Durand
Picture Books About Fathers
16th out of 111 books — 16 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,009)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
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
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
May 25, 2016 Mary rated it really liked it
Amelia's infectious smile sets off a chain of random acts of kindness. This is a high energy "pay it forward" circular story with a feel good message for all ages. A lovely picture book that will serve as a gentle reminder that we can all make a difference.
Jun 11, 2015 Sarah rated it really liked it
Opening Move:
Raise your hand if you have ever read "If You Give a Mouse a Cookie?" or "If You Give a Mouse a Muffin?" [show the book to students]. What is the structure or pattern in these books? {student response} What about these books makes the story interesting? {student response} Today we are going to read "Because Amelia Smiled" by David Ezra Stein. This book is written with the same structure as these other books. What do you notice about the setting or characters in this book compared to
Apr 04, 2013 NebraskaIcebergs rated it it was amazing
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
Nov 14, 2012 Jessica rated it liked it
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
Apr 03, 2013 Dolly rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: parents reading with their children
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
Dec 13, 2012 Barbara rated it really liked it
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
Ianthe Raya
Mar 29, 2016 Ianthe Raya rated it it was amazing
Because Amelia Smiled by David Ezra Stein, is a book about a young girl named Amelia who smiles one day in the street and her smile sets off positive actions. When she smiles a grandmother decides to bake cookies for her grandson who is a teacher, because he receives cookies he decides to write a song and because he writes a song one of his students decides she wants to be a teacher, and so on. These actions are all caused because Amelia Simply smiled. Towards the end a man sets his birds free, ...more
Apr 25, 2014 Tim added it
Shelves: multicultural

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
Apr 03, 2016 Lisa added it
Shelves: author-study
Summary: Amelia smiles, and her actions affect the world around her and come back to her. Because she smiles, people do nice things for each other, which in turn causes people to do nice things for others.

Review: This book shares such a great message: one little action can have a major effect on the world around you. Energy is never destroyed, but passed on, and that positive energy from one positive action keeps moving. This can help kids understand how their actions affect each other. The ill
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
Aug 29, 2012 Mary Ann rated it really liked it
Shelves: 3rd, picture-books, 4th, 2nd
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.
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)
Oct 23, 2012 Margie rated it it was amazing
David Ezra Stein's artwork and narrative are blended perfectly in this marvelous journey of a single smile.

My full review:
Feb 26, 2013 June rated it really liked it
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.
The specificity of the events, both mundane and outrageous, made my day.
Nov 06, 2012 Emily rated it liked it
Shelves: picture-books
Fun story and concept, but really don't like the illustration style.
Oct 08, 2016 Ashley rated it really liked it
Because Amelia Smiled is a book about spreading kindness. Each page shows how a smile is passed around the world and inspires people. In the end, the kindness comes back to Amelia, yet only the readers know how far the kindness from her smile has traveled. This book is an excellent resource for a kindness social skills lesson. The illustrations are not my favorite but they also show that illustrations can be done in many styles. Students could spend long amounts of time looking at the messy and ...more
While walking down the street one day Amelia smiled, which causes a woman in an apartment to think of her son and bake him cookies. The son shares the cookies with his class and teaches them a song about cookies.

On and on this chain reaction of good feelings continues until it comes full circle back to Amelia.

I'm not sure what to think of this book. The message is good, but it's kind of cheesy. The illustrations are messy and I wonder if children will have a hard time deciphering what some of th
Alyssa Stanley
Multicultural Book- Picture Book

I LOVED this picture book. To start with the illustrations are fantastic on each page. It shows people from around the world and I could see students getting lost in the pictures looking at the different things happening in the illustrations. The book starts off with a girl named Amelia. On the first page, Amelia smiled so that triggered her neighbor to smile and think of her grandson and sent him cookies in Mexico. The book continues with the domino effect of som
Bambini Travel
Nov 26, 2014 Bambini Travel rated it really liked it
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
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
Jan 14, 2013 Jennifer rated it really liked it
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
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 Forrester
Sep 30, 2012 Amy Forrester rated it it was amazing
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
Sep 27, 2014 Dana Beyer rated it it was amazing
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.
The Styling Librarian
Because Amelia Smiled by David Ezra Stein – Picture book – All Ages- How can one action, like a smile, travel all around the world? How can a wonderful author/illustrator mix in culture with caring for others? How special is this book? I adored… want to read it to as many classes as possible but will start with my year 2’s since they love Interrupting Chicken AND they are discussing relationships and how their actions impact others around them… brilliant book.
Feb 28, 2013 Joan rated it liked it
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
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 33 34 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Oh, No!
  • hello! hello!
  • A Home for Bird
  • The Quiet Place
  • Laundry Day
  • Kel Gilligan's Daredevil Stunt Show
  • Auntie Yang's Great Soybean Picnic
  • Abe Lincoln's Dream
  • Boot & Shoe
  • We March
  • Too Tall Houses
  • Red Knit Cap Girl
  • Step Gently Out
  • Little Bird
  • Chloe and the Lion
  • Goldilocks and Just One Bear
  • Mooshka: A Quilt Story
  • Crafty Chloe
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...

Share This Book