Tuesday, March 01, 2016

Monique Gray Smith and Julie Flett's MY HEART FILLS WITH HAPPINESS

I've read My Heart Fills With Happiness by Monique Gray Smith, illustrated by Julie Flett, many times. I can't decide--and don't need to, really--which page is my favorite!

For now--for this moment--I just got off the phone with my daughter, Liz. She's not a little girl anymore. She's an adult, making plans for the the coming months as she finishes law school. She makes me so darn happy! When she was little, she liked "spinny skirts." We made several so she'd always have a clean one to wear to school. So, the cover of My Heart Fills With Happiness reminds me of those days with Liz, as she spun about in her spinny skirts.

Like I said, though, I just got off the phone with her, and as I think of her walking about in the many places she's going to be in May and June and July, I'm reminded of holding her hand as the two of us walked here, and there, oh those years ago! That memory, and this page, are so dear!

I love the page that shows a little girl dancing, her shawl gorgeously depicted as she moves. I love the page where the little boy holds a drumstick in his hand and sits at the drum. I love the page of the kids waiting for their bannock to be ready to eat. I'd love to meet the two Native women who created this book so I could thank them, in person.

My Heart Fills With Happiness got a starred review from Publisher's Weekly and another one from School Library Journal. From me, it gets all the stars in the night sky. Today is its birthday (to use the language I see on twitter). Get a copy, or two, from your favorite independent store.


Beverly Slapin said...

Beautiful, beautiful book! You can order it (and anything else that's in print and sometimes out-of-print as well) from the Teaching for Change bookstore, my favorite indie. TFC has a great "recommended" list, and lots of important articles, reviews and essays as well. And you can read on the TFC website why to boycott Amazon.

And, Debbie, great congratulations and hugs to Liz for me! I remember (not so long ago) when she was in the fifth grade, a budding activist. So smart and caring and bound to do great things. Mom and Pop and Grandparents and all the relatives did good.

Teresa Huffman Traver said...

The library at my university set aside funds to increase the diversity of books in our collection, and earlier this month faculty in my department received an email inviting us to recommend such books. I teach children's literature (among other things!), so my immediate thought was about our "Juvenile Curriculum collection" and the picture book collection there. I wanted to let you know that this is one of the books I recommended, along with some others I've found recommended here. I've learned a lot by browsing through this blog. Thank you for the work you do.