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Children's Fiction School & Education

Willow's Smile

by (author) Lana Button

illustrated by Tania Howells

Kids Can Press
Initial publish date
Apr 2016
School & Education, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Humorous Stories
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Apr 2016
    List Price

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Where to buy it

Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 3 to 7
  • Grade: p to 2
  • Reading age: 3 to 7


“Sometimes Willow smiled without even trying. But sometimes when she wished she could and knew she should, her smile slipped straight off her face.” So when her teacher tells the class that Picture Day is coming, shy Willow starts to worry. What if she isn't able to smile for the camera? How can she have her picture taken without smiling? But then on Picture Day, Willow gets the opportunity to watch the other children being photographed. She sees that all of her friends' expressions are unique, and perfect in their own way. And by the time it's her turn, she's realized that she doesn't need to worry about smiling for her picture. She just needs to be herself. In this sweet picture book, author Lana Button has created a relatable and reassuring story that offers children a terrific model for how to deal with a difficult experience in a socially and emotionally competent way. The simple illustrations by Tania Howells beautifully capture the story's focus through the range of emotions so clearly expressed by Willow and her classmates. This book provides opportunities for character lessons on self-respect, empathy and resilience. It would work for a classroom introduction to the annual ritual of Picture Day as well, a subject not often covered yet very significant to young children. It could also lead to a conversation about why we take pictures and what makes a great picture, and to activities such as making a class photo album.

About the authors

Lana Button works in early childhood education. She is the author of Willow's Whispers, Willow Finds a Way, Willow's Smile and My Teacher's Not Here! Lana studied theater performance at Concordia University in Montreal, and now lives in Burlington, Ontario, with her husband and three daughters.

Lana Button's profile page

Tania Howells Tania Howells’s illustrations have wowed a crowd of commercial clients and also appeared in Chirp and Today’s Parent, among other publications. Berkeley’s Barn Owl Dance is her first picture book. Tania lives in Toronto, Ontario.

Tania Howells' profile page

Editorial Reviews

... this slice-of-life picture book is an affirming celebration of being true to your authentic self.—School Library Journal

... a wonderful addition to the library of any child.—CM Magazine

Other titles by Lana Button

Other titles by Tania Howells