Finding happiness is complicated, yet author Alisa Burrows transforms this abstract concept into an easy to understand read aloud in,“The Jar of Happiness”, our Little Kid’s Book Club pick #20.
Keep scrolling for our list of questions and fun facts encouraging more happiness and more learning! If you like what you see, sign up here to receive book pick #21 and beyond.
A little girl named Meg fills her jar of happiness with a homemade potion designed to bring joy to family and friends. After misplacing her special jar, Meg realizes that happiness is not a tangible thing. Instead, joy comes from within, and can be launched at any time. This simple read aloud empowers both children and adults to take comfort in knowing that we can tap into happiness at any time and anywhere.
Read and Explore
Ask your child: (1 or 2 questions per reading)
- Looking at the cover, what do you think is in the jar? (open ended)
- Point to the scale in the opening picture. What is a scale used for? (A scale measures weight. When you follow a recipe you need to have a correct measurement of the ingredients.)
- What do you think “sunshine” tastes like? Is it a real taste or feeling? (open ended)
- Why do you think Meg took her jar filled with happiness everywhere? Why would she need the jar in places where she is already happy? (open ended)
- “Zoe was feeling a little glum.” What does glum mean? (Glum means sad.)
- Do you think the jar of happiness made Zoe feel better, or was it her friend Meg? (open ended)
- “It cheered up Oma.” Who is Oma? (Oma means grandmother in German.)
- Why do you think Leon is holding the jar up in a tree instead of standing next to Meg? (open ended)
- How did Meg find happiness without her jar? (Being with Zoe, Oma and Leon made her happy)
- Meg found happiness without the jar, and her cat found happiness eating what was inside the jar. When the jar is empty do you think Meg and the cat will still be happy? (Yes…explain!)
- What is your happiest “thought”? (open ended)
- “The Jar of Happiness” is Ailsa Burrow’s debut children’s book. Congratulations Ailsa for being longlisted for the Klaus Flugge Prize, recognizing the “Most Exciting Newcomer to Picture Books.”
- Alisa Burrows also designs fun wedding stationary.
- Fill your own "jar of happiness," with lasting memories. Whether you enjoyed a beautiful sunset, met an old friend or hold a winning lottery ticket, record each happy moment on a dated piece of paper. Deposit daily entries into a glass jar to be read and remembered at the end of the year.
- The 75 year longitudinal “Harvard Happiness Study” revealed that “good relationships keep us happier and healthier.” Fame and wealth pales in comparison.
- The Kingdom of Bhutan in South Asia, measures success by the country’s GNH or Gross National Happiness Index. The Bhutanese people take a holistic view of well being, looking at the population's overall spiritual and physical health, over wealth.
- Studies suggest that the act of reading can lower stress and depression, raise self-esteem and deepen one’s capacity for empathy, contributing to overall happiness.
Happy reading everyone!
Julie E. Janson & Caryl Frankenberger, Ed.M.
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Thank you Lynn Fullerton, the "Children's Lead Book Seller" at Barnes and Noble in Middletown, Rhode Island. We appreciate your thoughtful insights on great read alouds.