My Happy Life

Part of the reason I wanted to write The Star Sisters series is because I was having trouble finding books that I enjoyed reading to my five year old.  A lot of books for this age group are either mind-numbingly repetitive or about girls whose behavior is, to be frank, pretty darn obnoxious.  And then I found My Happy Life by Rose Lagercrantz and I was blown away.  This really might be the best chapter book I've ever read to my five year old.  

I didn't know a thing about the book, but when I saw that beautiful cover peeking out from the shelves at my local bookstore I knew it was coming home with me.  Doesn't it just make you happy to look at?  Illustrated by Eva Eriksson in black and white ink, the interior illustrations are just as wonderful.  They beautifully express the story of one resilient little girl named Dani who is heart-broken when her best friend Ella moves away.  Normally happy Dani has some bad days - skinned knees on the playground and fights at school - but she continues on.  And through her struggles we learn that Dani has been through much worse, she's also survived the death of her mother.

I think it's incredibly courageous to write about the death of a parent in a children's book.  Lagercrantz describes the death in such a calm, quiet way that it just flows with the story.  Here's an excerpt of what she writes:

    One day her father called from the hospital and said that her mother had passed away.
     Dani was so little, she didn't understand what that meant.

    Then her grandma explained that it was just something people say.
     Her mother hadn't passed away.  She'd gotten wings and flown.

Crying yet?  I'm right there with you.  This is a book that I know I'll continue to read to my girls for a long, long time.  I love the message of resilience.  I want my girls to know that bad things happen, and its okay to be sad, but it's also important to keep going.  Because there are more happy things to come.  

An amazing, inspiring book that has a permanent place next to my computer as I write.