A smile can cheer you up when you feel sad.
It can’t be bought, borrowed or stolen because…
…it’s only valuable when it’s given away.
So if you meet someone who has forgotten how to smile,
Be generous. Give them one of yours.
A Smile is a translation of the French poem “Un Sourire” by the notable writer and humanitarian, Raoul Follereau. The free verse text explains how the simple act of smiling can change the world. Smiles that are freely given convey love, spark friendships and turn sadness into happiness. The poem encourages all of us to "be generous" and share our smiles widely and openly. This small gesture of goodwill has the potential to impact someone else's life in a myriad of positive ways. Hoda Haddadi’s bright paper collage illustrations complement Follereau’s message by showcasing scenes of community building and kindness. Two smiling children wake up and meet the day with enthusiasm and joy before visiting a bakery on their way to school to pick up a birthday cake for their beloved, overworked teacher. Readers can see how the children’s smiles pass from person to person, brightening the faces of passers-by and of classmates alike. The illustrations culminate with a heartwarming scene of a local street busker, introduced at the beginning of the book, getting a job at the bakery where he spreads happiness back to the community. Outdoor and indoor environments are rendered in beautiful detail, utilizing pattern, shading and colour to great effect. Haddadi's floral end pages will delight readers. The book concludes with a short biography of Follereau that outlines his tireless work to raise awareness of leprosy and his founding of World Leprosy Day which is celebrated annually in January.
Uplifting and joyful, A Smile is a gift to be shared with those you love.
Chloe Humphreys works as a Youth Services Librarian at Surrey Libraries in beautiful British Columbia.