FICTION

Happy Right Now

Sounds True. Oct. 2019. 32p. Tr $17.95. ISBN 9781683643524.
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PreS-Gr 2–A young black child practices mindfulness and tries to find happiness in the present. The girl sits on her bed and dreams of how happy she’ll be one day when she gets a puppy, and a unicorn, and a castle with a friendly dragon. With each scenario that unfolds the young narrator gives some conditions for her happiness: she’ll be happy when everyone thinks she is popular and amazing, or when all the chores are done. But after each of these statements, she considers how to be happy right now. The text reminds readers to breathe in and out, to, “borrow an old smile from a brighter day,” and rest in the knowledge that they will be happy again soon. What contributes most to the story’s success is the necessary and reassuring reminder that sadness is inevitable and fleeting, and that it’s okay to be sad in the moment while still striving for happiness. The collage and mixed media illustrations aren’t very dynamic, but convey the story’s message adequately and are filled with a diverse cast of children and animals. The occasionally rhyming, alliterative text is conversational, with hesitancy and apprehension communicated through staggered text and italics.
VERDICT An excellent picture book about emotional intelligence that is perfect for one-on-one sharing.

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