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Layla's Happiness

4.24  ·  Rating details ·  253 ratings  ·  58 reviews
Seven-year-old Layla loves life! So she keeps a happiness book. What is happiness for her? For you?

Spirited and observant, Layla is a child who's been given room to grow, making happiness both thoughtful and intimate. It's her dad talking about growing-up in South Carolina; her mom reading poetry; her best friend Juan, the community garden, and so much more. Written by poe
Hardcover, 48 pages
Published November 19th 2019 by Enchanted Lion Books
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Average rating 4.24  · 
Rating details
 ·  253 ratings  ·  58 reviews

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Dave Schaafsma
Jan 29, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picturebooks
Author Mariahadessa Ekere Tallie and illustrator Ashleigh Corrin create a happy, exuberant, colorful book that sort of reminds me of The Sound of Music song, "My Favorite Things," since it is mainly a random list of what makes Layla happy. And then it kinda made me happy, and made me begin to make my own list.

I read this because it is on Maria Popova's Brainpickings list of the best picture books of 2o19.
Julie Ehlers
Jan 12, 2020 rated it really liked it
Layla's Happiness is the second picture book I've read on the recommendation of the Brain Pickings website (the first was Walking in the City with Jane). I'm generally not a big picture-book reader and I'm always irrationally surprised by how short they are, but this was truly a beautiful and uplifting book. It makes you think about what actually makes you happy, something that, as adults, we may not consider seriously enough. I can't get all the way to five stars for such a brief book, but I do ...more
Christina Carter
Apr 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I read Layla's Happiness to my nieces through a virtual reading experience with their Auntie while NY was on pause for COVID-19 and it was the perfect book for us because when I think of joy, I can't help but see their little faces. All of Auntie's babies are joy personified! It's in their giggles and smiles and bubbles over in their imaginations and the creative ways they play. Layla is 7 years old and happiness is all around her. It's in wearing a favorite color (purple, like me). It's in the ...more
Jul 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This story of family, community, love & happiness reads beautifully and leads to wonderful conversations with my daughter. A perfect read aloud paired with whimsical illustrations.
Feb 24, 2020 added it
Shelves: picturebooks
Charming and lusciously illustrated. I think children could have fun after reading this illustrating pages of their own "happinesses". ...more
Becki Iverson
Jan 21, 2020 rated it really liked it
This was just the cutest, most positive kid's book. The entire thing is literally just about finding joy and beauty everywhere in your life. The illustrations look like they could have been drawn by a child themselves and are very sweet. This is sure to leave you with a smile in your heart and a beam on your face. Great one to help train kids (and even grownups) in seeing positives everywhere they look. ...more
Panda Incognito
Mar 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
This book includes some strange poetic imagery that isn't great for a picture book audience, but it's great overall. I love the vivid, colorful illustrations, and the book prompts adults and children to talk about the things in the natural world, the relationships, and the activities that inspire happiness for them. ...more
Molly Cluff (Library!)
Jan 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
The first couple pages of this book read more literary, like a poem (the line about the "wish flower's sister" was more on the poetry side). Then it's a darling list of all the little things that Layla finds happiness in (sand dollars, planting a tomato seed and watching it grow, her dad telling stories about where he grew up, etc). A great book to ask kids what kinds of things make them happy. ...more
Jul 22, 2020 rated it really liked it
I love the simple joy in this book and the invitation at the end to think about what happiness is for the reader. I had a big smile on my face as I read so I think the book had its intended effect.
Jul 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
For seven-year old Layla, happiness is all about the small things in life. She finds the dark sky to be pretty, and loves everything from climbing trees to the color purple. The love for her family and friends is just as important, listening to her father’s stories about growing up in South Carolina, her mother reading her poetry, and chasing her friend Juan all bring her joy. Having patience also means happiness, like when she plants seeds and watches plants grow into vegetables to be sold at t ...more
FM Family
I feel like this book is not bad, but fairly disjointed. Like it midway becomes an ode to a community garden for a number of pages and you're like "oh wait, is this a book about community gardening?" but then it's just not anymore. Colourful and engaging images, if you like the style of sort of a slice of life of things a character likes, but not really a plot, this would work. My three year old was VERY disappointed by it though, we brought it up to read as a bedtime book and at the end she was ...more
Erin Buhr
Feb 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I loved this story. I think I loved it because the pages explode with joy and warmth. It's a simple story - just a girl telling you what happiness means to her. The text is brief, but it uses colors and every day relatable moments to describe joy. It is a book that helps you look more closely at the little bright spots in your day and life. I think that's a reminder we all need at any age. The illustrations are textured and warm in a way that reminds me of summer days. This is a great one for re ...more
Dec 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
To Layla happiness is the night sky, planting seeds, and watching Juan's parents dance the salsa. She takes joy in the time she spends with her parents, and in who she is. Every page effuses this glowing feeling of positivity and love towards herself and her multicultural community. Corrin's illustrations are equally pleasant, displaying the brown-skinned girl and her activities in chalk-like medium with a hand-written style font. The colour palette is broad, switching to different dominant colo ...more
Jenn Adams
Generally like this but some mixed feelings. The hand-written style font might make it difficult for some children to read on their own. I liked when she was listing all the different things that make her happy and the way that it invites readers/listeners to share what makes them happy. However, the random poetic phrasing (like "wish flower's sister") is jarring when most of the book is so straight forward and literal.

Sara Foster
Mar 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book radiates pure joy! In a world where happiness is at a premium, it is wonderful to sit down and open this treasure bursting with cheerful expressions of unabated, pertinacious warmth from a child's perspective. Let Mariahadessa Ekere Tallie's first picture book be the next up-lifting moment you share with a child you love! ...more
Apr 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
If you're having a hard time feeling happy today, reach for this book and let little Layla teach you a lesson in finding joy in the small things that you might be passing by right now.

Highly recommended for libraries, birthday gifts, and gestures of love to people who might need an occasional cheering up.

Hooray for Layla. Can't wait to see her again sometime.
Aug 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Cheery yellow endpapers embrace this book which lives up to it’s title. I love the mix of print and cursive and the yellow highlighting of important words. It is entirely full bleed illustrations with both subtle and bold representations to entertain your eyes. Stunning! Layla’s appreciation of the simple and complex around her will warm your heart.
Dec 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Tis the season to sneak in some delightful picture books! This is all about where to find happiness from climbing a tree, eating spaghetti without a fork, and feeding the chickens at the community garden. The art is fantastic and every page made me smile.
I'm conflicted on this one.

I love the illustrations and the concept but the writing is just blah and poorly executed. It was written as if a young child wrote it. Unless it was one of her young daughters helping her write the story and, if so, that isn't clear.
Jan 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
What a fun, approachable book, with entrancing illustrations, and gentle text.

Finding joy in some many experiences. a delightful story.

a special be seven years old...and wear purple!
Feb 04, 2020 added it
Read this at Family storytime - wonderful, simple story about what makes Layla happy. A question for discussion at the end - what makes you happy? So, the toddlers + can share their happiness with the reading circle.
Fun, feel good type of story.
Would use it again and again!
May 07, 2020 added it
Shelves: ed438
The beautiful blue and yellow of the cover and into the illustrations was what drew me into this book. I love this book because you could have a good conversation with your students about what makes them happy, you could even have them create a story based around their own happiness.
Layla describes many things that make her happy. Then she asks "What make you happy?" The bright illustrations enhance the narrative. Readers will make many text to self connections. Recommended for Preschool-Lower elementary grades. Great kick-off for discussions or writing. ...more
Kaylee Mouser
Sep 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
This book was very uplifting. It’s a story of love, family, happiness and imagination. It's got very Whimsical illustrations. The pictures alone I didn't care for, but when I paired it with the words I love it. This is a great book to make kids think about what makes them happy.
Jan 01, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Beautifully illustrated! Just a reminder of why you should be happy. Looking for all of the ways in a day that makes Layla happy. I especially like the ending by asking the reader- "What makes you happy?" As a school librarian I see many ways to share this with my students. ...more
Dec 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
A beautiful story with beautiful pictures. A great conversations starter about what makes you happy and where you find happiness. Great read-aloud for 3-6 y/o.
Dec 31, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books
A child shares what makes them happy.
Sharon Archer
Jan 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Ends with a most important question- what is happening with YOU?!
Jan 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I cannot wait to read this one in Story Time!
Jan 31, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: picturebooks
It can lead to great conversations with preschoolers and kindergartners and could be a great writing prompt for early elementary.
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Mariahadessa Ekere Tallie is the author of Strut (Agape Editions), Dear Continuum: Letters to a Poet Crafting Liberation (Grand Concourse Press) and Karma’s Footsteps (Flipped Eye Publishing). She served as Poetry Editor of African Voices from 2013 to 2017. Her work has been published in numerous literary journals and anthologies. Tallie is the subject of a short film “I Leave My Colors Everywhere ...more

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