My Happy Life by Rose Lagercrantz
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
My Happy Life is a very sweet story about a young girl named Dani and her day-to-day life. Although Dani has dealt with the loss of her mother, nervousness about starting school, and loneliness after her best friend moves away, Dani still remembers her many happy days.
The story opens with Dani being too excited to sleep the night before her first day of school. The next day she is nervous and feeling a little insecure about going to school. She wonders if she will make any friends at school and whether she will like her teacher. At the end of the day, she admits that school is fun even though she didn't meet any new friends. A few days later, Dani meets Ella and they instantly become friends.
Dani and Ella's friendship develops at school. Eventually they play at one another's homes and have sleepovers, during which they create the NC, short for night club. The purpose of the NC is to stay up all night. The friendship seems to be coming along well until the two girls have a small spat over bookmarks. Luckily, they are not angry at one another for long as they quickly reconcile and continue having fun and adventures.
School life also goes well for Dani. In fact, everything is going well for Dani until one day, the teacher announces that Ella is moving away. After Ella leaves for her new home, Dani feels very alone. This loneliness reminds Dani of her mother's death.
Luck begins to change for Dani at school as she acquires one injury after another. Between losing her friend and her recent bad luck, Dani discovers that she isn't happy any more. She takes out her frustrations on wooden block buildings that boys in her class put together. That leads to one of her classmates getting hurt, then Dani worries about causing the boy to have false teeth.
Finally, Dani and Ella start writing letters to one another, and Dani starts to feel better. They make plans to spend the weekend together at Ella's new home, and Dani once again feels happy with her life.
This book handles difficult topics such as loss, anger, and sadness in a positive, caring way. It lets young readers know that it's normal to feel insecure, nervous, and sad during difficult times in life because there is always hope for the next day. There are also several funny moments in this adorable book. Dani is an example of how focusing on the positive moments in life can help us forget about the bad moments.
My Happy Life is a great book for students who are transitioning to chapter books. It would also be a great read aloud to help students who are struggling with peer issues or loss of a loved one.
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