Your Happy Heart by Amie Dean is a story about how helping others helps you, too. This story follows Javon as he joins the Book Buddy program in his school and meets his partner, Richard. When the partnership gets off to a rocky start, Javon reflects on his own past and the tools he was taught to deal with his own anger and sadness. As Javon pours his heart into helping Richard, he learns the most important lesson of all: that helping someone else find their happiness can make your own heart happy, too. I want to share more about this book along with a few resources you can pair with this story.
I received a copy of this book from the National Center for Youth Issues (NCYI) in exchange for an honest review.
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About Your Happy Heart
Fifth-grader Javon has the big responsibility of being a Book Buddy to a kindergartener named Richard. But when he meets Richard for the first time, he isn’t so sure he’s up for the challenge. Both boys learn a lot that year, but what Javon learns from Richard is the most important lesson of all: that helping someone find their happiness can make your own heart happy, too.
Amie Dean has done a wonderful job of writing a story about two characters who connect through the struggles in their home lives that impact their school days. As teachers, we know that children are filled with big emotions and face difficult challenges every day. These children need a toolbox of strategies to help them cope when things get tough.
They also need to be reminded to think of the things that make them happy when they feel sad, scared, or angry. When children have these tools, they can face the world with more self-confidence and find room to blossom and grow. I love that Javon uses something he was taught to help Richard cope with his emotions.
Amie Dean also sends a message that children need to be taught they have unique gifts. In this story, the school counselor taught Javon that gifts are what make you special and help you feel proud of yourself. Again, Javon takes this lesson and helps Richard find his own unique gifts.
In the back of the book, Amie Dean has included 5 tips for helping children find their gifts. She also uses the acronym BREATHE to help children calm down when filled with big emotions. Both of these pages would be helpful for teachers, parents, and counselors.
Your Happy Heart Activities
I have included several different activities that you can pair with this story. First, I have written a set of discussion questions to help guide your students through the book.
Your students can make their own happy heart just like Javon and Richard. Students can write three items that make them happy and then draw and color a picture of each item in the heart.
Just like Javon and Richard, your students all have unique gifts. Students can use these templates to write about their own gifts.
I have also included a few writing templates so students can respond to the text. These pages are a great place to write about the book’s message or the author’s purpose for writing this story. Students can also respond to one of the discussion questions or a prompt you have chosen.
To download all of these activities for Your Happy Heart, click here.
I’m also giving away ONE copy of this book on my Instagram page.