Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels
- Age: 0 to 2
- Grade: p
- Reading age: 0 to 2
★ "A quiet loveliness, sense of gratitude, and—yes—happiness emanate from this tender celebration of simple pleasures."--Publishers Weekly, starred review
The sun on your face. The smell of warm bannock baking in the oven. Holding the hand of someone you love. What fills your heart with happiness? This beautiful board book, with illustrations from celebrated artist Julie Flett, serves as a reminder for little ones and adults alike to reflect on and cherish the moments in life that bring us joy.
International speaker and award-winning author Monique Gray Smith wrote My Heart Fills with Happiness to support the wellness of Indigenous children and families, and to encourage young children to reflect on what makes them happy.
About the authors
Monique Gray Smith is a mixed–heritage woman of Cree, Lakota, and Scottish ancestry and a proud mom of twins. Monique is an accomplished consultant, writer and international speaker. Her first novel, Tilly: A Story of Hope and Resilience, won the 2014 Burt Award for First Nations, Métis and Inuit Literature. Monique and her family are blessed to live on Lkwungen territory in Victoria, British Columbia.
Julie Flett is an award-winning Cree-Metis author, illustrator and artist. She has received many awards, including the 2016 American Indian Library Association Award for Best Picture Book for Little You, written by Richard Van Camp (Orca Books), and the Canadian Christie Harris Illustrated Children’s Literature Award in 2015 for Dolphins SOS, written by Roy Miki (Tradewind Books) and in 2017 for My Heart Fills with Happiness, written by Monique Gray Smith (Orca Books), and was nominated for the Governor General’s Award for Children’s Literature for her book Owls See Clearly at Night (Lii Yiiboo Nayaapiwak lii Swer): A Michif Alphabet (L’alphabet di Michif). Her own Wild Berries (Simply Read Books) was chosen as Canada’s First Nation Communities Read title selection for 2014-2015.
- Short-listed, Indigenous Literature Award
- Commended, Global Read Aloud
- Commended, Bank Street College of Education Best Children's Books of the Year
- Winner, Christie Harris Illustrated Children's Literature Prize
- Commended, Girls of Summer Reading List
"Specific visuals ground this sweet celebration of simple pleasures."
★ "A quiet loveliness, sense of gratitude, and—yes—happiness emanate from this tender celebration of simple pleasures, which features a cast of First Nations children and adults...Short, first-person phrases...revel in both solitary and familial activities...Flett’s (Little You) crisp-edged paintings blend universal and culturally specific experiences."
Publishers Weekly, starred review
★ "Joyful and tender, this board book celebrates the activities that bring gladness through family and cultural connections...Flett’s quietly powerful gouache and digital collage illustrations emphasize the relationships between people...The sweet family story has universal appeal. A first purchase for all libraries."
School Library Journal, starred review
"An excellent board book for every baby Canadian."
The Toronto Star
"A celebration of aboriginal culture...but also universal in its message: sometimes it's the simplest things that lift our spirits highest...[The book] is beautiful in both its appearance and its intention."
Quill & Quire
"A board book that leaves you feeling cheerful and appreciative of those small moments in life that bring one joy. Recommended."
“A comforting board book offers young children the opportunity for reflection, and for affirmation, too. Moments of happiness tucked into each and every day celebrated here include time with family, self-expression, and the natural world."
Cooperative Children’s Book Center
"[A] light, warm and utterly charming book...Highly recommended for families, parents of young children to share with them and to begin conversation and sharing about emotions."
"It is a fantastic toddler book that celebrates family and heritage and would be valuable in any collection, especially those of First Nations heritage."
Raising Mom blog
My Heart Fills With HappinessInternational speaker and award-winning author Monique Gray Smith wrote My Heart Fills with Happiness to support the wellness of Indigenous children and families, and to encourage young children to reflect on what makes them happy.
What fills your heart with happiness? This simple board book explores the question using pictures and words to show happiness in a young First Nations girls’ world. Personal narratives can be drawn from the text and images. The book can also be used for drama exploration by having the students create tableaux of scenes represented in the book, as well as to invent images of what happiness means to them.
Author available for school visits @ltldrum
Source: Association of Canadian Publishers. Top Grade Selection 2016.
My Heart Fills with HappinessBeautifully illustrated board book with short sentences that could be a great gift for new parents. This book could also be read aloud in the primary classes to show Indigenous representation and used as a prompt for sharing connections and writing about what fills their hearts with happiness.
Other titles by Monique Gray Smith
Braiding Sweetgrass for Young Adults
Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants