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Layla’s Happiness by Mariahadessa Ekere Tallie

Layla's Happiness

“This is a book about Layla’s Happiness. What is happiness for you?” 

In this sweet picture book, written by Mariahadessa Ekere Tallie and illustrated by Ashleigh Corrin, seven-year-old Layla talks directly to the reader – sharing all the feelings, experiences, and thoughts that mean happiness to her. From dark purple plums, to special moments with family and friends, to eating spaghetti without a fork – young readers will delight in Layla’s embrace of all things that bring her joy. 

Teacher Thoughts

This is an ideal read aloud for K-2 students that will encourage kids to start talking. If you are looking to grow student talk during Interactive Read Aloud, Layla’s Happiness is a great catalyst. Almost immediately, kindergarteners began using the “me too” sign language signal to show that they also loved the color purple, or wishing on dandelions, or climbing trees. 

We can scaffold this talk with language prompts such as 

  • “I agree with Layla because…” 
  • “That makes me think of …”
  • “Another thing that makes me happy is…”

After reading Layla’s Happiness, kids are just itching to share all of the things that make them happy. What fun class books, poems, or individual stories could be written with this as the mentor text.

Quick tip: In most classrooms, students didn’t know that salsa was not just something you eat with chips, but also a dance. It might be fun to have a clip of salsa dancers cued up so you can share this word’s additional meaning!

Student Thoughts

First graders had so many favorite parts of this book:

"In the garden, I can dance with a ladybug on my finger,"

“My favorite page is the ladybug page because the illustrator used lines to show where they ladybug was and the hot colors tell you what season it is.”


"The dark sky is pretty. It's the color of dark, purple plums"

“My favorite is the plum page because it’s so funny when it’s on her mouth.”


"That's what I think. Do you think so too? What is happiness to you?"

“This book is so nice. She tells us what she likes and asks us what we like.”

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