Layla’s Happiness


★2021 Rhode Island Great Reads Book

★2020 Ezra Jack Keats Award, for illustration

★2020 Ezra Jack Keats Honor, for writing

★3-Time AALBC Bestselling Book

★Starred review Kirkus 

★Starred review School Library Journal 

★Brain Pickings Best Books 2019

★Inclusive Storytime Best Books of 2019

★Best Children’s Books of the Year 2020 Edition, Bank Street 


Written by Mariahadessa Ekere Tallie
Illustrated by Ashleigh Corrin

Age Range: 4 – 8 years
Grade Level: 
Preschool – 3
48 pages
Enchanted Lion Books (November 19, 2019)
Language: English
Product Dimensions: 
8.6 x 0.5 x 11.8 inches




Seven-year-old Layla loves life! So she keeps a happiness book. What is happiness for her? For you?

Spirited and observant, Layla’s a child who’s been given room to grow, making happiness both thoughtful and intimate. It’s her dad talking about growing-up in South Carolina; her mom reading poetry; her best friend Juan, the community garden, and so much more. Written by poet Mariahadessa Ekere Tallie and illustrated by Ashleigh Corrin, this is a story of flourishing within family and community.


“Tallie honors the many ways children define happiness…A handsome and helpful primer on self-reflection and a mirror to urban black and brown children…”STARRED REVIEW, School Library Journal

“What is happiness to you?” That query drives this marvelous debut, a poetic accounting of the elements that make up childhood fulfillment, narrated by a girl named Layla.New York Times Book Review

“Well-illustrated poetry of the best kind that will leave sunshine in its wake.”Kirkus Review

“Tallie constructs the story like a good poem, where the personal is the most welcoming gateway to the universal. We see seven-year-old Layla — whose name means “night beauty” — tally her exuberant everyday sources of happiness.”Favorite Children’s Books of 2019, Brainpickings

“A celebration of community, but also individualism, what Layla loves and what makes her happy is so specific to her and her family’s experience. In uncertain or challenging times, books like Layla’s Happiness are bright spots of inspiration. They carry us through and remind us of the gifts we have. The gifts of people in our lives or small moments in nature or even a favorite color.” –The Eric Carle Museum