Making Happy has been on the radar for a while now. After having seen it announced in newsletters and such, an email came to me from the publisher. The attachment was Making Happy by Sheetal Sheth. Books are my favorite kind of attachments and because of this one, I am excited to find a new book to recommend.
With a modern tone, modern feelings, and modern coping mechanisms, this book about a mother who is ill. It is strong and thoughtful. The young girl of the story, Leila, has emotions running all over the map about her mother and her mother’s illness. She does not feel like doing anything. Not even share in class. She is feeling angry, sadness, confusion and more over the situation. She is not really able to understand why her mother is in the hospital. Why her mother has missed Leila’s presentation for class. And why an accidently spilled glass at dinner makes her start sobbing uncontrollably. It is not until Leila’s father says it is time to Make Happy, or in this case, make a big old mess that will make everyone laugh, joke and well, make themselves a little bit more Happy, do thing start to slowly fall back into, not normal, but some kind of good again.
Based on the authors own experiences with their children, the text is complimented by the artwork of Khoa Le. If the story is powerful and emotional, the art is even more so. The colors explode on the page, they are deep and lush. Details are highlighted by the lack of colors as much as the colors themselves. They are images that must be experienced.
While it is hard to pinpoint an exact age for the reader, know that the mother has lost her hair (images of her wearing scarfs), the idea of the mother being ill, and the length might turn off the younger reader. Ages six up would be best.