In Childrens' Books
When I read that quote, I thought – shouldn’t that just happen naturally?
 
All sorts of things make me smile. The usual suspects – my family and friends, who for the most part bring me almost uncontainable joy, making it seem I should have a tail I could wag!
 
And there’s my husband, who still makes me smile and laugh 50 years after our first date.
 
And memories…..the other day my friend Martha wrote about the Chatty Cathy doll she had when she was little. I immediately wrote her back about my sister Leslie’s Chatty Cathy because it had a way to record your own voice. One day while Leslie was napping, my friend Sally and I sang into the recorder. Sally was imitating Bing Crosby, crooning “bababa-boo, baboo”; I’m pretty certain I sang a Ricky Nelson song.  Anyway, the next time Leslie pulled the cord – she was about 4 – she cried – loudly. I promise I’m smiling as I type this.
 
I told Martha I wondered if Leslie remembers that. I hope not. However, I know Sally does!
 
And, of course, stories have the power to make you smile, laugh, cry, ponder and connect to the emotions of their characters. We all love stories!
 
Here are some stories that are sure to make you, and those you read them with or to, smile.
 
And don’t forget to tell them your own stories!

I Will Take A Nap by Mo Willems

Gerald is careful. Piggie is not. Piggie cannot help smiling. Gerald can. Gerald worries so that Piggie does not have to. Gerald and Piggie are best friends. In I Will Take a Nap! Gerald is tired and cranky. Will Piggie be in his dreams? Or will she keep Gerald from dreaming at all?

Those Shoes by Maribeth Boelts

All Jeremy wants is a pair of those shoes, the ones everyone at school seems to be wearing. Though Jeremy’s grandma says they don’t have room for “want,” just “need,” when his old shoes fall apart at school, he is more determined than ever to have those shoes, even a thrift-shop pair that are much too small. But sore feet aren’t much fun, and Jeremy soon sees that the things he has — warm boots, a loving grandma, and the chance to help a friend — are worth more than the things he wants.

The Quiet Place by Sarah Stewart

When Isabel and her family move to the United States, Isabel misses all the things she left behind in Mexico, especially her aunt Lupita and hearing people speak Spanish. But she also experiences some wonderful new things–her first snow storm and a teacher who does not speak Spanish but has a big smile. Even better, Papa and her brother Chavo help her turn a big box into her own quiet place, where she keeps her books and toys and writes letters to Aunt Lupita. As she decorates and adds more and more on to her quiet place, it is here that Isabel feels the most at home in her new country while she learns to adjust to the changes in her life.

The No-Good Do-Good Pirates by Jim Kraft

Captain Squint and his pirate crew spend their days doing evil deeds. When at last the gang is captured, the judge says they can go free–if they do one good deed before sunset. But what’s a good deed? Can these pirates save themselves from prison?

Clink by Kelly DuPucchio

Clink was a state-of-the-art robot with the dazzling ability to make toast and play music at the same time. But that was many years ago.
 
 Now kids want snazzier robots who do things like play baseball and bake cookies. So day after day, Clink sits on a shelf and sadly watches as his friends leave with their new owners. He almost gives up on ever finding a home—until the day Clink spies a boy who just might be the right one for him. .

Fox in the Library by Lorenz Pauli

Fox thinks he has a little mouse just where he wants him, until Mouse says, “This is not a hunting area, but a library… You can only borrow things here.” So begins the hilarity, as Mouse offers the fox a book so that he will get new ideas—besides wanting to eat mice. The new book works! Now Fox is thinking about eating chickens, until Chicken points out that chicken bones are dangerous. But when the chicken eating, fox-hunting-Farmer walks into the library, Fox and Chicken have to think fast and come up with a surprising solution that just might save them both.

Riddle-icious by J. Patrick Lewis

Here is a splendiferous treat for kids who love riddles and rhymes—and who doesn’t? Each colorful page contains a riddle that is also a poem. And every riddle-icious poem describes something for kids to guess. Clues to the answers are everywhere in Debbie Tilley’s witty, lighthearted art. A clever introduction to poetry that will tickle the funny bones of all little riddlers.

Frances Dean Who Loved to Dance and Dance by Birgitta Sif

Frances Dean loves to dance. She feels the wind and she dances. She hears singing birds and she dances. In her every waking moment, she is inspired to move. But as soon as anyone is around, Frances Dean’s knees begin to tremble, butterflies start to flutter in her tummy, and she forgets how to dance. Will she ever find the courage to share her talent with others and feel free?

Wolfie the Bunny by Ame Dyckman

When the Bunny family adopts a wolf, daughter Dot worries (quite understandably) that this little wolfie in pink pajamas might soon gobble them all up. As times passes, however, little Wolfie blends into his new family, which is perhaps best demonstrated when Dot herself faces off with a very frightening bear. A winning picture book on adjusting to new arrivals and surprises.

Roger is Reading a Book by Koen Van Biesen

All Roger wants is some peace and quiet so he can read his book. Unfortunately, the girl in the apartment next door has hobbies of her own — very loud hobbies! But when Roger gives the girl a book of her own, she discovers that reading can be just as much fun as playing basketball or banging a drum.

Animal Supermarket by Giovanna Zoboli

Where do animals get their food? At the grocery store, of course! At the animal supermarket, polar bears happily prowl the seafood section, cats stock up on bottles of milk, and mice crowd around the cheese counter.

Edgar Wants to be Alone by Jean-Francois Dumont

Edgar the rat doesn’t like company. So when he notices a worm is following him everywhere he goes, Edgar does everything in his power to get rid of his unwelcome companion. But the worm just won’t go away! Edgar wants the other animals to solve his problem, but eventually he realizes he might have been part of the problem all along.
NOW,  HERE ARE SOME BOOKS FOR THE MORE SEASONED (4-6 grade) READERS IN YOUR HOUSE:
 
 

No Talking by Andrew Clemens

“You have the right to remain silent.” However…
 
The fifth-grade girls and the fifth-grade boys at Laketon Elementary don’t get along very well. But the real problem is that these kids are loud and disorderly. That’s why the principal uses her red plastic bullhorn. A lot.
 
Then one day Dave Packer, a certified loudmouth, bumps into an idea — a big one that makes him try to keep quiet for a whole day. But what does Dave hear during lunch? A girl, Lynsey Burgess, jabbering away. So Dave breaks his silence and lobs an insult. And those words spark a contest: Which team can say the fewest words during two whole days? And it’s the boys against the girls.
 
How do the teachers react to the silence? What happens when the principal feels she’s losing control? And will Dave and Lynsey plunge the whole school into chaos?

Dexter the Tough by Margaret Peterson Haddix

I’m the new kid. I am tuf. This morning I beat up a kid.
 
It’s only the first day of school for Dexter, but he’s already mad at the principal, and the secretary, and the janitor, and the kids who laugh at him. When his teacher tells the class to write a story, Dexter writes about how tough he is — and how he’s already gotten into a fight. Is any of Dexter’s story true? Why was the other boy crying before Dexter hit him? And why would the other boy still want to be Dexter’s friend?
 
Even Dexter doesn’t know the answers to some of those questions. But as he deals with family problems, a persistent teacher, and a boy who’s strangely interested in floor wax, he discovers many surprises hidden in his own tale.

Absolutely Almost by Lisa Graff

Albie has never been the smartest kid in his class. He has never been the tallest. Or the best at gym. Or the greatest artist. Or the most musical. In fact, Albie has a long list of the things he’s not very good at. But then Albie gets a new babysitter, Calista, who helps him figure out all of the things he is good at and how he can take pride in himself.

The Wolves of Willoughby Chase by Joan Aiken

Wicked wolves and a grim governess threaten Bonnie and her cousin Sylvia when Bonnie’s parents leave Willoughby Chase for a sea voyage. Left in the care of the cruel Miss Slighcarp, the girls can hardly believe what is happening to their once happy home. The servants are dismissed, the furniture is sold, and Bonnie and Sylvia are sent to a prison-like orphan school. It seems as if the endless hours of drudgery will never cease.
 
With the help of Simon the gooseboy and his flock, they escape. But how will they ever get Willoughby Chase free from the clutches of the evil Miss Slighcarp?

11 Birthdays by Wendy Mass

It’s Amanda’s 11th birthday and sh
e is super excited — after all, 11 is so different from 10. But from the start, everything goes wrong. The worst part of it all is that she and her best friend, Leo, with whom she’s shared every birthday, are on the outs and this will be the first birthday they haven’t shared together. When Amanda turns in for the night, glad to have her birthday behind her, she wakes up happy for a new day. Or is it? Her birthday seems to be repeating iself. What is going on? And how can she fix it? Only time, friendship, and a little luck will tell.
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All these titles should be available at your local library. They are also available for purchase at Amazon and Barnes & Noble Booksellers.
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