Keep Smiling

Publisher: Macmillan Children’s Books

Vina loves smiling, and Vina’s mum says that a smile is the very best gift you can give to someone. When Dad and Vina walk to school, they find a number of people who aren’t having the best day, and who really appreciate a smile: the bus driver, who is grumpy that he had to wait, the post lady, who has dropped all her letters, and a tourist who is a bit lost.

Yet, when Dad drops Vina off at her new school, it all feels a bit scary, and Vina doesn’t feel like smiling at all. But when one of her fellow pupils gives her a shy, mouse-like smile, Vina feels a bit brighter. Then, on the way home, Vina collects smiles from all the people that she bestowed her happy smile on earlier, so that when Mum comes home in need of a happy smile, Vina is recharged and ready to go!

This sweet, bright picture book from Dame Floella Benjamin is inspired by her daughter’s beautiful smile, and it’s an homage to the simple way that we can make each other’s days and lives a little lovelier. Legendary illustrator Diane Ewen’s depiction of a mixed-race family and their happy, diverse community is full of warmth and joy, with lovely bold colours and a friendly feel. It’s also a perfect book to share with children starting Reception or nursery.

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