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Comment: This item is in good condition. All pages and covers are readable. There are no stains or tears. Dust jacket is present if applicable. May contain small amounts of writing and/or highlighting. Spine and cover may show signs of wear. May not contain supplementary items. We ship within 1 business day. Big Hearted Books shares its profits with schools, churches and non-profit groups throughout New England. Thank you for your support!
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Because Amelia Smiled Hardcover – September 11, 2012

4.5 out of 5 stars 22 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Young Amelia grins as she and her parents splash through a city street. “And because Amelia smiled,” well, Mrs. Higgins, looking out her window, smiles, too. Happy, she sends cookies to her grandson teaching in Mexico, who shares them with his class. One of his students decides to teach dancing in the park, a video of it goes online, and a ballet club in England sees it and adds some new moves. They tour in Israel and . . . lots more happens after that until Amelia’s smile comes full circle. Stein, who won a Caldecott Honor for Interrupting Chicken (2010), uses a quite different style here. Realistic, heavily colored, and intensely detailed, the illustrations invite children to look closely and see the way people across the globe are connected: the smiles, the pets, the music. Certainly, there’s a lot to discuss here, and some adults may want kids to make connections with their own actions, but this is also just a lovely way to look at life. Preschool-Grade 1. --Ilene Cooper

Review

A playfully profound picture book that does its part in passing on good feelings.
—Kirkus Reviews
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 3 - 7 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - 2
  • Lexile Measure: 760L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 40 pages
  • Publisher: Candlewick; First Edition edition (September 11, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0763641693
  • ISBN-13: 978-0763641696
  • Product Dimensions: 10.2 x 0.4 x 11 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #111,807 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
"Nah, I can't make a difference!" Ever heard that? Ever said that? "Because Amelia Smiled" is a colorful, fanciful whirl around the world in the form of a children's picture book. But the story is powerful because it rings true. As a journalist covering cross-cultural issues for more than 30 years, I can tell you that this truly is the good way the world can work.

Over the past five years, I have recommended dozens of children's books, a good number of them from the talented crew at Candlewick Press who I like to single out for their commitment to this format in media and for their choice of books that celebrate diversity.

Anyone familiar with the power of children's books knows that they're not just for kids. They're for parents and grandparents, too. And they shape the children who later become parents and grandparents. Also new this fall is the latest book by one of the world's greatest philosophers studying the connections between world religions: Dr. Jacob Needleman's An Unknown World: Notes on the Meaning of the Earth opens by taking us way back to a favorite picture book for young readers that, to this day, still shapes his efforts to help save our planet.

The entire text of Because Amelia Smiled wouldn't fill a single page in a standard Word document. Yet this tale, which starts with the words "Because Amelia smiled, coming down the street ..." carries us completely around the world and back home again. While Amelia is fiction, the chain of events are as true as countless real-life stories unfolding right now.

Do yourself a huge favor this week! Think of a child with whom you could enjoy this book. Order a copy and, then, simply ... smile.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I bought this for my daughter who has the same name in the title and I was hoping it would be a really cute story to encourage her to always smile and pass on happiness to others. I thought the story could have been written so much better. It was lacking quite a bit in my opinion and didn't engage my daughter at all. I think we read it once and now it sits collecting dust on the bookshelf.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
My daughter's name is Amelia, and she adores this book. It is a cute story about simple nice acts that continue to pay it forward without Amelia even knowing. The book teaches a great lesson, all in a really fun context.
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Format: Hardcover
This picture book is a wonderful international embodiment of "the ripple effect:" What you do affects me; what I do affects you. It offers a universal lesson to not take casual encounters for granted.

"Because Amelia smiled, coming down the street, Mrs. Higgins smiled, too." The story begins simply enough. Then the next action causes another one to happen. And so on, and so on, passing from one individual to the next, and influencing average people at various locations around the world. Adult readers will probably predict where the storyline will lead; but to the young, the ending may come as a complete surprise and revelation. To think how far each one of us can reach! And to indeed be part of a global, connected community!

There's a lot to see in the illustrations, and children should enjoy pointing out the items and activities they recognize. As mentioned, the text holds a valuable message for readers of all ages. Author/illustrator David Ezra Stein even foreshadows it in his opening dedication: "To you: Pass it on!" I cannot think of anyone who would not benefit from sitting down for a few minutes with this book. Its premise and ramifications will stay with you for a good long while, too.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I purchased the book because of the concept - the domino effect of doing good. But I don't think a child will be able to track the random, un-relatable events and come to the conclusion that good deeds beget good deeds. If I have to explain the "lesson", the book failed.
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Format: Hardcover
For me to read a picture book to my husband, it has to be either very good or very bad. In the case of Because Amelia Smiles, it's because it is very good. It's the type of picture book that I also wouldn't hesitate to read to my students who, at age ten, think they are far too old for picture books. Told in a circular style, where the ending leads back to the beginning, Because Amelia Smiled by David Ezra Stein is delightful fun. As are the inviting illustrations with their dynamic blend of crayon and watercolor.

What appeals to me so much about Because Amelia Smiled? I have to admit that I enjoy the circular style, despite its critics, which is also found in Laura Numeroff's entertaining Give a Mouse A Cookie series. The structure is simple to understand by the youngest and oldest readers, and so somehow calms me. It's nice to know that in some universe, there's a happy and logical outcome to everything.

Then there's the positive message which Stein conveyed through the actions of his multiple characters: If you smile, you might have a ripple effect across your neighborhood, town, or maybe even the world. After all, because Amelia smiled, her neighbor baked cookies for her grandson in Mexico, who in turn ate one of the cookies, who in turn.... Can you parents and teachers just imagine all the original circular stories this book might inspire your kids to write?

Finally, there's the clever way in which Stein created a positive tribute to cultures across the world. He didn't write an inspirational biography of individuals who overcome obstacles despite race. Nor did he tell a moralistic story about how everyone should get along despite their differences. He didn't even simply write a book with the lead belonging to a person from another culture.
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