When I Smile: A Book of Kindness

How do you categorise your books? We separate our fiction and non-fiction. Within the fiction we organise picture books by colour and other fiction by author. Then there’s a small collection of ‘cherished’ books that live separately. When I Smile: A Book of Kindness has made it’s way snuggly into the cherished books. They’re books that make you feel good, pick you up if you’re feeling a little blue.

Jo Witek and Christine Roussey

Jo Witek and Christine Roussey, the bestselling duo who brought us In My Heart: A Book of Feelings, are back with a new release When I Smile: A Book of Kindness. It’s one of those books that leaves a huge smile on your face and in your heart.

When I Smile Synopsis and Thoughts

When I Smile: A Book of Kindness could not have arrived at a better time when it did. My daughter Floss was not having a good day and I thought this book might help cheer her up. She instantly loved the concept of the book – that each page contained a smile.

When I Smile Look and Feel

It’s a very tactile book. The pages have a smooth matt feel and are made of thick cardstock. This is ideal as the smile aperture on each page just calls to be touched and I found that Floss used the smile window to actually turn the pages.

There’s something really delightful and almost whimsical about the font used in When I Smile.

The illustrations are vibrant and bold. We loved the contrast between the radiant, rainbow colours and the quaint line drawings of the characters. There’s so much to enjoy in the fun illustrations alone yet married with the text it gives you a warm glow as you read through the book.

Favourite Parts

One of our favourite spreads is where smiles are described as like a swing passing back and forth between two people. It’s the sweetest analogy and we couldn’t agree more that a smile is a way to say ‘I love you’. We loved the final page which reminds us that kindness is something we should sprinkle on ourselves too.

Growing Hearts Series

When I Smile is part of the Growing Hearts series. They’re a series of books that help toddlers to explore and understand various emotions and feelings through contexts that are relatable to the age group. In my opinion I would say that the titles have a broader age range that just toddlers as my daughter is seven and adores this book. I’m in my 40s and I loved it too!

Other books in the series include:

Hello in There!: A Big Sister’s Book of Waiting
In My Heart: A Book of Feelings
Brave As Can Be: A Book of Courage
All My Treasures: A Book of Joy
In My Room: A Book of Creativity and Imagination
With My Daddy: A Book of Love and Family
My Little Gifts: A Book of Sharing
My Tree and Me: A Book of Seasons
When I Smile: A Book of Kindness

Bookish Activities

Floss loves to enjoy activities that are related to books that we have been reading. This book is a great one to have some fun with. Here’s some bookish play activity ideas you could explore:

  • Use playdough to make your own smiles – you could make them on faces or you could do as the book and make a smile in an everyday object.
  • Send a smile – this is an idea that’s in the book where the little girl and her Grandma ping pong smiles back and forth to each other. This is a game that I used to play with my children when I was teaching. It’s such a feel good game. You start off by smiling at 2 or 3 different children. They in turn then smile at another person and you continue to pass the smile round. It’s such a lovely activity.
  • With My Daddy has some activity sheets from the publisher that you can find here.

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