cover image My Heart Fills with Happiness

My Heart Fills with Happiness

Monique Gray Smith, illus. by Julie Flett. Orca, $9.95 (24p) ISBN 978-1-4598-0957-4

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; Smith dedicates the book, in part, “to the former Indian Residential School students and their families.” Short, first-person phrases (“My heart fills with happiness when... I see the face of someone I love”) revel in both solitary and familial activities, building to a direct address to readers: “What fills your heart with happiness?” Flett’s (Little You) crisp-edged paintings blend universal and culturally specific experiences—three children cluster around the oven as bannock bakes, while another boy spots a frog as he walks barefoot through the grass. Up to age 5. (Feb.)