★ "A quiet loveliness, sense of gratitude, and—yes—happiness emanate from this tender celebration of simple pleasures." — Publishers Weekly, starred review
The sun on your face. The smell of warm bannock baking in the oven. Holding the hand of someone you love. What fills your heart with happiness? This beautiful book, with illustrations from celebrated artist Julie Flett, serves as a reminder for little ones and adults alike to reflect on and cherish the moments in life that bring us joy.
International speaker and award-winning author Monique Gray Smith wrote My Heart Fills with Happiness to support the wellness of Indigenous children and families, and to encourage young children to reflect on what makes them happy.
Orca Book Publishers is proud to offer this picture book as a dual-language (English and Anishinaabemowin) edition.
About the authors
Monique Gray Smith is a mixed–heritage woman of Cree, Lakota, and Scottish ancestry and a proud mom of twins. Monique is an accomplished consultant, writer and international speaker. Her first novel, Tilly: A Story of Hope and Resilience, won the 2014 Burt Award for First Nations, Métis and Inuit Literature. Monique and her family are blessed to live on Lkwungen territory in Victoria, British Columbia.
Julie Flett is an award-winning Cree-Metis author, illustrator and artist. She has received many awards, including the 2016 American Indian Library Association Award for Best Picture Book for Little You, written by Richard Van Camp (Orca Books), and the Canadian Christie Harris Illustrated Children’s Literature Award in 2015 for Dolphins SOS, written by Roy Miki (Tradewind Books) and in 2017 for My Heart Fills with Happiness, written by Monique Gray Smith (Orca Books), and was nominated for the Governor General’s Award for Children’s Literature for her book Owls See Clearly at Night (Lii Yiiboo Nayaapiwak lii Swer): A Michif Alphabet (L’alphabet di Michif). Her own Wild Berries (Simply Read Books) was chosen as Canada’s First Nation Communities Read title selection for 2014-2015.
Angela Mesic currently teaches the first year Anishinaabemowin course at the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee (UWM) and provides online long-distance learning for Yale University. She obtained her bachelor’s degree in the field of psychology at UWM and is currently working on a master of community psychology at Alverno College. Angela has a strong interest in research focused on the psychology of learning and curriculum development. Through the Electa Quinney Institute for American Indian Education at UWM, she assists the director, Dr. Margaret Noodin, in making significant revisions to language curriculum, and handles curricular queries from various internal and external partners, including Indian Community School, several colleges and universities throughout the United States, and tribal communities.
Margaret Noodin received an MFA in creative writing and a PhD in linguistics from the University of Minnesota. She is currently a professor at the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee, where she also serves as director of the Electa Quinney Institute for American Indian Education and a scholar in the Center for Water Policy. She is the author of Bawaajimo: A Dialect of Dreams in Anishinaabe Language and Literature and two bilingual collections of poetry, Weweni and Gijigijigikendan: What the Chickadee Knows. Her poems are also anthologized in New Poets of Native Nations, Poetry, the Michigan Quarterly Review, Water Stone Review and Yellow Medicine Review. Her research spans linguistic revitalization, Indigenous ontologies, traditional science and prevention of violence in Indigenous communities. To see and hear current projects visit www.ojibwe.net, where she and other students and speakers of Ojibwe have created space for language to be shared by academics and the Native community.
“Charming in its simplicity, this is a great reminder of what can be found every day in our lives.”
School Library Journal
“A comforting board book offers young children the opportunity for reflection, and for affirmation, too. Moments of happiness tucked into each and every day celebrated here include time with family, self-expression, and the natural world."
Cooperative Children’s Book Center
"A celebration of aboriginal culture...but also universal in its message: sometimes it's the simplest things that lift our spirits highest...[The book] is beautiful in both its appearance and its intention."
Quill & Quire
★"A quiet loveliness, sense of gratitude, and—yes—happiness emanate from this tender celebration of simple pleasures, which features a cast of First Nations children and adults...Short, first-person phrases...revel in both solitary and familial activities...Flett’s (Little You) crisp-edged paintings blend universal and culturally specific experiences."
Publishers Weekly, starred review
"[A] light, warm and utterly charming book...Highly recommended for families, parents of young children to share with them and to begin conversation and sharing about emotions."
"A board book that leaves you feeling cheerful and appreciative of those small moments in life that bring one joy. Recommended."
CM: Canadian Review of Materials
"It is a fantastic toddler book that celebrates family and heritage and would be valuable in any collection, especially those of First Nations heritage."
Raising Mom blog
"An excellent board book for every baby Canadian."
The Toronto Star
★ "Joyful and tender, this board book celebrates the activities that bring gladness through family and cultural connections...Flett’s quietly powerful gouache and digital collage illustrations emphasize the relationships between people...The sweet family story has universal appeal. A first purchase for all libraries."
School Library Journal, starred review
Other titles by Monique Gray Smith
You Hold Me Up / Tú me sostienes
My Heart Fills With Happiness / Mi corazón se llena de alegría
Braiding Sweetgrass for Young Adults
Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants