Picture Books about Happiness and Positivity for the Classroom

Children’s Books about Happiness and Positivity for the Classroom

Are you looking for a way to add happiness and positivity to your classroom? These picture books about happiness and positive thinking will inspire your students to be themselves, dream big, and find joy every day. Each title inspires children to maintain a positive outlook and boost their mood.

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Why Read Children's Books about Happiness and Positivity?

These picture books about hope and optimism show enthusiastic characters with positive outlooks, particularly during challenging times. This optimistic approach leads to resilience, positive interactions and increased happiness.

Optimistic characters demonstrate self-confidence and a belief that they can overcome whatever comes their way, seeing these challenges as growth opportunities.

Reading about characters who see the brighter side of life and have hope for the future demonstrates a positive coping strategy for our students rather than feeling helpless and unsure.

If someone feels helpless, hope and/or optimism can give them a sense of happiness and reduce their stress. Our students need to see how hope can bring positivity in challenging situations and let people make positive differences in their lives and those around them.

Questions to Use with Children's Books about Happiness and Positivity

  • How does optimism impact your daily life?
  • Why can it be challenging to be positive?
  • How can happiness and optimism help us cope in difficult situations?
  • How do optimism and positivity make a difference in achieving your goals?
  • When you try something new, how does optimism help?
  • What traits did [character] have that helped them think positively?
  • Why was it necessary for [character] to be optimistic or positive? 
  • How do you know [character] is optimistic/happy/positive?
  • What would have happened if [character] didn’t have a positive attitude?
  • Describe the challenges faced by [character]. How did they overcome them?
  • What prompted [character] to be positive/happy?
  • What was the character’s mission? How did they achieve their goal?
  • Identify characters who were positive/optimistic.
  • How would the story have changed if [character] wasn’t happy/positive?

Children's Books about Happiness and Positivity

All Are Welcome by Alexandra Penfold

Follow a group of children from diverse backgrounds through a day at their school where everyone is welcome in an environment of acceptance and respect for everyone’s unique differences.

All Are Welcome explores inclusivity, respecting all cultures, and building unity in our communities.

I Am Every Good Thing by Derrick Barnes

A young black boy describes himself as creative, smart, funny, adventurous, and a good friend. He acknowledges his failures and shares his fears of being misjudged, revealing the reality many young black boys face.

I Am Every Good Thing explores self-acceptance, self-confidence, self-esteem, respect, resilience, and the struggles of being misunderstood.

Augustus and His Smile by Catherine Rayner

Augustus, the tiger, has lost his smile. Sad, he decides to find it and searches far and wide. Through his journey, he realises all he has to do to see his smile is do the things that make him happy.

Augustus and His Smile explores hope, happiness, kindness, and self-awareness.

Bloom by Anne Booth

A young girl teaches a man, lost in jealousy and anger, about the transformative power of words and their impact on the world around him. The book reminds us that our language can be as nurturing or damaging as we allow it and teaches empathy, respect, and self-awareness.

Change Sings: A Children's Anthem by Amanda Gorman

Change Sings tells the inspiring story of a young girl and her group of friends who work together to bring about positive change in their community.

The book teaches your students that age is no barrier to making a difference and that their unique voices can bring about positive changes in the world.

Corner by Zo-o

This almost-wordless picture book explores the journey of a crow as it transforms an empty corner into a cozy space. The crow adds patterns on the walls and a window, eventually realizing that connecting with the world outside is what it truly needs.

Corner encourages students to step outside their comfort zones, embrace self-expression and reaching out to others.

Fly Free! by Roseanne Thong

Mai loves feeding caged birds at a Buddhist temple in Vietnam. She dreams she will see them fly free. Thu shares the joy of feeding the birds with her, setting off a chain reaction of good deeds that leads to the birds’ release.

Fly Free! explores kindness, compassion, positive actions, and the Buddhist philosophy of karma and cause and effect.

Freedom, We Sing by Amyra León

Freedom, We Sing explores different aspects of freedom. From the right to live without violence to be who we are, unafraid and safe – this book is a beacon of hope and empathy.

The book provides a thought-provoking introduction to social justice, equality, and understanding and respecting human rights.

The Girl Who Planted Trees by Caryl Hart

A girl plants a forest in her village, and her diligent efforts bear fruit as saplings emerge from the earth. Her work appears to be in vain when a storm razes the trees, but the villagers unite to replant the forest.

The Girl Who Planted Trees highlights hope, deforestation, inspiration, determination, resilience, optimism, perseverance in adversity, and the value of community.

Happy Right Now by Julie Berry

Happy Right Now explores that it’s perfectly okay to not always feel okay. It provides strategies to help navigate emotions and find moments of joy and positivity in every situation. It encourages children to appreciate what they have and be present in the moment, fostering a sense of mindfulness.

Hike by Pete Oswald

Hike celebrates the bond between a parent and child and their shared love for nature. On an adventure in the mountains, they plant trees, play in the snow, and take photos, creating lasting memories.

The lack of words in Hike allows students to narrate the story themselves, prompting discussions on topics such as bonding & shared experiences and respect for nature.

If Winter Comes, Tell It I'm Not Here by Simona Ciraolo

A young girl urges her brother to enjoy summer before winter arrives. However, when winter comes, her brother discovers it’s not as bad as he imagined.

If Winter Comes, Tell It I’m Not Here encourages children to embrace new experiences and to look for the beauty in everything around them.

Joy by Corrinne Averiss

Fern strives to reinvigorate Nanna’s joy yet seems unsuccessful. Realising joy stems from love and shared moments, Fern understands their mutual stories, and affection brings Nanna happiness, and she gradually rejuvenates Nanna’s spirit.

Joy explores empathy, complex emotions, simple acts of kindness, and care for the emotional well-being of others.

Kindness Grows by Britta Teckentrup

On one side of a tree, kindness is shown flourishing and vibrant, symbolizing the growth and happiness that kind actions foster. The other side reveals a wilted tree, representing the division and sadness from negativity.

Kindness Grows concludes with children from both sides coming together through acts of kindness, reinforcing the power of compassion and empathy.

Last Stop on Market Street by Matt de la Peña

On a bus ride with his nana, CJ questions why he doesn’t have the same things as his friends and why they volunteer. His nana’s positive responses help him see the beauty in what he has and the power of giving.

Last Stop on Market Street explores appreciation for what we have, gratitude, helping others in need, a sense of community, and considering different perspectives.

Layla's Happiness by Mariahadessa Ekere Tallie

A young girl discovered the contentment found in everyday life. From the bright hue of her favourite colour to listening to her dad’s stories and snuggling up with her mother to read poetry in a blanket fort, to the community garden and visiting the farmer’s market with her best friend.

Looking for Happy by Ty Chapman

No matter their age, everyone experiences difficult times that can make it hard to find joy. A young boy discovers he can experience happiness without actively searching for it.

Looking for Happy emphasises the importance of emotional intelligence, resilience, and accepting that feeling down is part of life.

Maybe Something Beautiful: How Art Transformed A Neighborhood by F. Isabel Campoy

Based on the true story of the Urban Art Trail in San Diego, California. A mural artist inspires Mira to transform her grey city into colour. She, in turn, inspired the community to add their voice to the mural.

Maybe Something Beautiful explores social change, community engagement, collective effort, transformation and a sense of belonging.

Maybe: A Story about the Endless Potential in All of Us by Kobi Yamada

You are one-of-a-kind. You have many options ahead of you, and staying true to yourself is important. You have the potential to do great things, and you need the courage to be yourself. Build your self-esteem and value your potential. Embrace all the possibilities that await you. 

My Baba's Garden by Jordan Scott

Despite a language barrier, a boy and his grandmother, Baba, bond over gardening, food, and walking to school. When she becomes too old to live alone, the boy cares for her in return.

My Baba’s Garden explores communication beyond language, the value of intergenerational relationships, appreciation of nature and the expression of love through actions.

Pass It On by Sophy Henn

A young girl boosts life’s simple pleasures by sharing her joy, excitement, and wonder with others. Pass It On captures the power of shared experiences while promoting empathy, kindness, and emotional awareness.

Pass it On explores how actions can influence others’ emotions, emphasising the importance of emotional intelligence and positivity.

Sam and Dave Dig a Hole by Mac Barnett

Two friends embark on a mission to find something ‘spectacular.’ Despite their tireless digging, they repeatedly bypass a series of underground treasures, always narrowly missing their desired discovery.

Sam and Dave Dig a Hole inspires discussions about perseverance, working together, and not giving up, even when you don’t immediately see results.

Saturday by Oge Mora

Ava eagerly anticipates Saturdays for special bonding time with her mom. She learns that things can still work out beautifully when their plans don’t pan out as expected.

Read Saturday to foster discussions on the power of positivity, resilience in the face of disappointment, and adaptability in unexpected circumstances.

Selma by Jutta Bauer

Selma’s idea of happiness is simple: grazing, exercising, conversing with her neighbour, and having a long sleep. Selma’s routine and definition of contentment remain the same whether she has more time or wins a million dollars.

Selma explores appreciation, happiness in simplicity, the value of routines, balance in life and gratitude for what one has.

Something Beautiful by Sharon Dennis Wyeth

A teacher helps a young girl see beyond her scary feeling for her neighbourhood. She looks for beauty in her community with the help of her neighbours. Her beautiful journey helps her feel happy and hopeful.

Something Beautiful promotes discussions on a sense of community, poverty, finding beauty in our surroundings and hope.

The Story of You by Lisa Ann Scott

You are the authors of your own stories. No one can tell you who you are ―it’s up to you! The Story of You illustrates how the actions we take and the words we say are essential to who we are.

The Story of You invites your students to discuss self-acceptance, confidence, empowerment, and perseverance. It inspires a positive outlook on life, stressing kindness in shaping our identities.

Sulwe by Lupita Nyong'o

Sulwe has darker skin and wishes for lighter skin to avoid teasing. Her mother shares a profound story that helps Sulwe accept and love her unique beauty and ignore the negative opinions of others.

Sulwe fosters discussions about self-acceptance, embracing our unique features, and the importance of inner beauty. It also addresses colourism and respect for diversity.

Thank You by Jarvis

Jarvis encourages children to think about what they might like to say “thank you” for, fostering appreciation for the big and small things in life.

Thank You promotes discussions about gratitude, appreciation, mindfulness, feelings of joy, contentment, thankfulness, and positivity.

The Smile by Marie Voigt

A sister’s joy when her baby sibling smiles inspires her to spread kindness, creating a chain of compassion and empathy which surrounds the world.

The Smile celebrates individuals’ role in creating a positive ripple effect. It presents the potential of each act of kindness, however small, in making the world a better place.

The Story of You by Lisa Ann Scott

You are the authors of your own stories. No one can tell you who you are ―it’s up to you! The Story of You illustrates how the actions we take and the words we say are essential to who we are.

The Story of You explores self-acceptance, confidence, empowerment, perseverance and a positive outlook on life, stressing kindness in shaping our identities.