I always have such a hard time thinking of books that make me smile! It doesn’t really help that this is my second time tackling this topic this year, since it came up as a Top 5 Wednesday topic back in April. When I think of books that make me smile, I tend to default to the same few books, most of which are graphic novels and collections of cartoons. I also tend to to think of children’s books, since those are the ones that I know for sure are guaranteed to make me smile. Generally, I read a lot of hard-hitting contemporaries and thrillers, so even though I love those books, I wouldn’t necessarily say that they’d make me smile. Strangely enough, when I think of books that make me smile, I tend to go the nostalgic route and think of books that I’ve read a long time ago, that I still enjoy reading even now. I think that’s why these lists always end up a little heavy on the children’s books. I do want to clarify that this doesn’t mean that the books I’m reading don’t make me happy — they do, but it’s in a different way. Things like thrillers and hard-hitting books make me happy in the sense that they are interesting or satisfying to read, but to me, that’s very different from making me smile. It was a bit of a challenge to think of books that I hadn’t mentioned before this time!
Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.
1) The Junie B. Jones series by Barbara Park – I’m actually shocked that I haven’t mentioned this series any time this topic has come up before! I don’t care how old I am, these books are still so much fun to read. Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus is still my favourite, but all of these books are guaranteed to make me smile because they do such a good job of capturing “little kid logic.” Junie B. Jones is hilarious!
2) The Confessions of Georgia Nicholson series by Louise Rennison – I honestly can’t remember if I ever finished this series, but they were so much fun to read. I do remember getting a little bored if I read too many of them in a row since they can feel a little repetitive, but they were very funny. I’d actually love to reread this series at some point. I only distinctly remember the first three or four, but it’s possible I’ve read them all before.
3) The Addams Family: An Evilution by Charles Addams – I don’t know if anyone else will relate to this one, but this book makes me smile every time! I’m obsessed with The Addams Family and I love every version of them. This book collects all of Charles Addams’ original cartoons, with some additional background about their creation. I always have a great time looking through the comics and I love the dark humour.
4) Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosh – This was one of the few books that I wanted to reread as soon as I finished it the first time! I reread it again this year along with the sequel, and was immediately drawn back into it. I love the way this author balances the humour with some of the more serious topics. I find that the chapters about Allie’s dogs especially are guaranteed to make me smile!
5) The Lumberjanes series by Noelle Stevenson (and later Shannon Watters) – These books are just so weird, but that’s also what makes them very fun to read. The strong friendships between the girls and the bizarre adventures that they go on always tend to make me smile. Of course, there are some books in the series that are stronger than others, but this series is a great one!
6) Frog and Toad by Arnold Lobel – This is a childhood favourite, and something that I haven’t read in quite a while. These books are always so cute and I especially love the illustrations. Each of the four books contains a few short stories about the characters, and although the stories are quite simple, they are very sweet and I always love to revisit them.
7) Amelia Bedelia by Peggy Parrish – This is another childhood favourite, specifically the book Teach Us, Amelia Bedelia! I must have read more of them, but that is the one that I remember most clearly. These books are so fun because of how literally Amelia takes everything, which very quickly gets her into trouble. I think it’s such a fun way to play with language and for children to learn about idioms.
8) Dinosaur Therapy by James Stewart – I’m cheating a bit because I haven’t read this one yet as a book, but I very recently discovered this comic series on Twitter and they always make me smile. I always look out for these while browsing my feed, and they are just so cute! I’ve discovered so many great comic series via social media, and I’m sure this one will be another favourite.
9) George’s Marvelous Medicine by Roald Dahl – I only owned a handful of books by this author so I tended to read the same ones over and over, but this one was definitely a favourite! It is about a boy named George who creates a bizarre medicine for his grumpy grandma. I love how Roald Dahl uses a bit darker humour in his books than most others for the same age range, since it really made his stories stand out.
10) The Berenstain Bears series by Stan and Jan Berenstain – This is another one that’s included for the nostalgia, but even when I do revisit these books now, I still find them very cute. I definitely didn’t read them all since looking at the Goodreads pages now shows me a whole bunch of more recent titles, but I had so many of these books and read them over and over. I’d actually love to try out some of the newer ones and see if they can still make me smile!