By Guest Blogger Ellen Bryant Lloyd 

Lively conversation, good music, funny movies and great stories are all things that help lift our spirits and make us feel good. For me, great stories top the list. Especially during trying periods in life, books with stories that bring temporary escapes are good for my soul. They make me happy.

Here are suggestions for books that may lift your spirits, be fun to read, or add a little “happy” to your day. After all, as Bobby McFerrin reminds us in his legendary tune, “Don’t worry, be happy.”

Picture Books:

– One by Kathryn Otoshi
– Frederick by Leo Lionni
– How are you Peeling?: Foods with Moods by Saxton Freymann and Joost Elffers
– The Dot by Peter H. Reynolds
– Life by Cynthia Rylant and Brendan Wenzel
– Love is You and Me by Monica Sheehan
– The Three Questions by Jon J. Muth
– The Girl Who Never Made Mistakes by Mark Pett and Gary Rubinstein and illustrated by Mark Pett
– Exclamation Mark by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Tom Lichtenheld
– Imagine by John Lennon and Jean Jullien
– The Hello Goodbye Window by Norton Juster and Chris Raschka
– A Little Book of Sloth by Lucy Cooke
– Someday by Alison McGhee and illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds
– Wherever You Are, My Love Will Find You by Nancy Tillman

– I’d Know You Anywhere, My Love by Nancy Tillman

Middle Grades:

– Finding Perfect by Elly Swartz
– The Year of the Dog by Grace Lin
– Better Nate Than Ever by Tim Federle
– More to the Story by Hena Khan
– When Friendship Followed Me Home by Paul Griffin
– Bayou Magic by Jewell Parker Rhodes
– Pax by Sara Pennypacker
– The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate
– Raymie Nightingale by Kate DiCamillo
– Wonder by R.J. Palacio

– The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill


– Days of Wonder by Keith Stuart
– Untamed by Glennon Doyle
– Wow, No Thank You by Samantha Irby
– Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gaily Honeyman
– The Sweeney Sisters by Lian Dolan
– A Short Guide to a Happy Life by Anna Quindlen
– Big Summer by Jennifer Weiner
– It’s Not All Downhill from Here by Terry McMillan
– The Giver of Stars by Jojo Moyes
– The Authenticity Project by Clare Pooley
– Dear Mrs. Bird by AJ Pearce
– Five Steps to Happy by Ella Dove

– The Lido by Libby Page

Ellen Bryant Lloyd is the author of FRECKLES and FRECKLES and The Great Beach Rescue. Please visit and to learn more about Freckles. Ellen writes a blog about her perspectives on life and parenting at and tweets at @EllenBLloyd. She lives in Greensboro with her husband and two children.

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