• Sarah Tobias

Layla's Happiness -- Perfect Picture Book Friday


Title: Layla's Happiness

Author: Mariahadessa Ekere Tallie

Illustrator: Ashleigh Corrin

Publisher: Enchanted Lion, 2019


Themes: Happiness

Opening:

My name is Layla. I am seven years old. 

Layla means "night beauty," and I love the night.


Why I love this book and think you will too:

When I wish my friends happy birthday, I like to wish for them to have joy, laughter, peace, and special moments that become memories to treasure for a lifetime. I have learned that in life, when we look for happiness we are more likely to notice it and when we look for sadness or anger, we will spot that more quickly. Moments are fleeting, but when we move slowly enough to take note and put those memories into a journal or drawing, they stick with us. 

Layla's Happiness is her journal of happiness. Mariahadessa and Ashleigh worked together to share Lay;a's moments of happiness. Each line and illustration is a touchstone for the reader to see that happiness is not some distant thing you must go looking for, it is right there in the purple plum, the poetry, the garden, etc. etc. 

They share their happiness, but also ask, What makes you happy? 

Ashleigh received the Ezra Jack Keats Award for outstanding new illustrator this year.  Mariahadessa received the Writer Honor award. Learn more about it here. You can watch the award ceremony. 

Ashleigh's illustrations have a beautiful simplicity and show her love for color and graphic shapes. 


I have a book called How to be a Wildflower: a field guide by Katie Daisy. It is like a nature journal and a call to action. The pages Each two page spread is like it's own little universe. As I read Layla's Happiness, I felt like it was designed in that same way. Each two page spread is it's own little world. The element that ties it all together is Layla and her bright yellow dress.


Resources and Activities:

  • Make a Happiness journal, scraps of paper and a pencil or pen is all it takes. You can always add paint or crayons, glue in cool stuff. 

  • Move slowly through the world. Drink in all the beauty.

  • Learn more about Mariahadessa.

  • Learn more about Ashleigh

  • Learn more about the Ezra Jack Keats Awards.

Support your Local Indie Bookstore when you purchase a book.

Check out Susanna Hill's Perfect Picture Book Friday Blog post each week to learn about more cool books to read with your kids and add to your collection.

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