I have started to take a book everywhere I go. Sat in the doctor’s waiting room, get out my book. Sat in a car park waiting for my children to finish an activity, get out my book. In the queue for Controle Technique (annual car check), get out my book. You get the idea.
Why? Is it because I want to show my children a good example? Is it because the appeal of social media is fading? Yes partly, but mostly because books and reading bring me so much joy.
I love them because I love how they make me feel. I know that reading is said to improve your memory retention, your knowledge and your analytical skills but I don’t do it for this. I read for the pure joy and pleasure it gives me. The sense of tranquility that somehow diffuses through the mere cover. That calmness makes me happy.
So, what better than to showcase some books that are either about happiness, helping to find happiness or simply just because they make us smile.
- Good for: When You Don’t Feel You Can Find A Smile
In this hilarious first collaboration from Jory John and Lane Smith, a penguin levels with human readers about what penguin life is really like … and it isn’t all fun and games! This book is sure to tickle all funny bones, and will elicit appreciative sighs from the adults reading it aloud too!
By: Jory John and Lane Smith
Published by: Walker Books
Pugly Bakes a Cake
- Good for: When You Need Your Belly to Hurt From Laughing
Perfect comedy writing and excellent illustrations. Pugly Bakes a Cake is a huge favourite with us. Pugly is a pug with great ideas and when he decides to make a cake he’s determined it will be the best ever…
What he lacks in skill he makes up for in enthusiasm, but his big mistake is to listen to Clem the cat who, as readers will quickly realise, is out to get him into trouble. Reader warning that the part where Pugly gets himself stuck in the catflap could cause your belly to hurt.
By: Pamela Butchart and Gemma Correll
Published by: Nosy Crow
- Good for: When You Need A Hug
A little book of illustrated hugs and interspersed with beautiful quotes. We love how each hug is so beautifully illustrated that you can actually feel the warmth and love pouring out. A beautiful little hardback book to perhaps give to someone who needs a hug.
By: Chris Riddell
Published by: Macmillan
The Penguin Lessons
- Good for: When Your Heart Needs Warming
Tom Michell is in his roaring twenties: single, free-spirited and seeking adventure. He has a plane ticket to South America, a teaching position in a prestigious Argentine boarding school, and endless summer holidays. He even has a motorbike, Che Guevara style. What he doesn’t need is a pet. What he really doesn’t need is a pet penguin.
Set against Argentina’s turbulent years following the collapse of the corrupt Perónist regime, this is the heart-warming story of Juan Salvador the penguin, rescued by Tom from an oil slick in Uruguay just days before a new term. When the bird refuses to leave Tom’s side, the young teacher has no choice but to smuggle it across the border, through customs, and back to school.
If you ever dreamt of being able to talk to animals or if you need a reminder of the beauty of friendships, then this is the book for you.
By: Tom Michell
Published by: Penguin
The Book of Joy
- Good for: When Your Soul Needs Lifting
Nobel Peace Prize Laureates His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu have survived more than fifty years of exile and the soul-crushing violence of oppression. Despite their hardships – or, as they would say, because of them – they are two of the most joyful people on the planet.
In April 2015, Archbishop Tutu travelled to the Dalai Lama’s home in Dharamsala, India, to celebrate His Holiness’s eightieth birthday and to create this book as a gift for others. They looked back on their long lives to answer a single burning question: how do we find joy in the face of life’s inevitable suffering?
This book offers us a rare opportunity to experience their astonishing and unprecedented week together, from the first embrace to the final goodbye. The tone and pace of this book evoke the same feeling as the warm sun on your back after a long winter. Perfect for these last winter days.
By: Dalai Lama, Desmond Tutu and Douglas Abrams
Published by: Hutchinson
Featured photo: Josh Felise/unsplash