Youth Service Book Review tells us why they think ‘Making Happy” by Sheetal Sheth is a great conversation starter.

What did you like about the book? What a beautiful book. Something is wrong in Leila’s life and she doesn’t feel like doing anything; she is always sad. Since her mom got sick, she’s tried what she can think of to make things better: she picks up her clothes and does her homework. She even says a prayer, although she’s not sure who to. She’s quiet and eats all her carrots but she’s also confused and kind of mad. Why is Mama sleeping all the time? Why didn’t she come to see her school presentation? When Leila knocks over her water glass, it opens up the opportunity for her family to talk. Mama tells Leila that she doesn’t know why it was her that got sick then comforts her with stories and hugs. Leila soon begins to understand her feelings a bit and manages to find some emotional space to do a school project. We don’t have any idea of what will happen to Mama. This is a book that deals with the in-between.

Anything you didn’t like about it? One of Leila’s transformative moments is re-created as an illustrative allegory that I’m not sure young kids will understand. Still, it’s beautiful and sets a tone of peace and calm.

To whom would you recommend this book?  I would love to see this added to every list for kids with family or friends who are sick.

Who should buy this book?  People who work with kids that have severely ill loved ones. This book is a great conversation starter so elementary schools as well as pre-schools and public libraries.

Where would you shelve it? Picture books or an “issues” section

Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? Yes

You can read the full review here.

Dated: November 14, 2022
publication: Youth Services Book Review Review