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Orca Book Publishers

My Heart Fills With Happiness / sâkaskinêw nitêh miywêyihtamowin ohci
Dual language (English & Plains Cree)
By (author): Monique Gray Smith Illustrated by: Julie Flett Translated by: Mary Cardinal Collins Edited by: Cree Literacy Network
Monique Gray Smith ,

Illustrated by :

Julie Flett ,

Translated by :

Mary Cardinal Collins ,

Edited by :

Cree Literacy Network


Orca Book Publishers - Victoria



Product Form:


Form detail:

Picture book, Sewn, Paper over boards
Hardcover , Picture book, Sewn, Paper over boards


Juvenile: Age (years) 3 - 5, Grade (CAN) P - K, Grade (US) P - K, Reading age 3 - 5
Apr 13, 2021
Print Run: 6000
$19.95 CAD


8in x 8 x 0.25 in | 280 gr

Page Count:

24 pages


12 Colour illustrations
FSC certified – mixed sources C013314
Orca Book Publishers
JUVENILE FICTION / Social Themes / Emotions & Feelings
Children’s picture books|Children’s / Teenage emotions: Happiness, joy|Interest age: from c 3 years|Relating to Indigenous peoples
North America
jC813/.6 23
Christie Harris Illustrated Children's Literature Prize 2017, Winner Bank Street College of Education Children's Book Committee Best Children's Books of the Year 2017, Commended Girls of Summer Reading List 2017, Commended Global Read Aloud 2018, Commended Indigenous Literature Award 2018, Short-listed CCBC Best Books for Kids & Teens 2019, Commended
  • Short Description
This dual-language book that celebrates happiness and invites children to reflect on the little things in life that bring them joy. In English and Plains Cree.
A celebration of what makes us happy.

★ "A quiet loveliness, sense of gratitude, and—yes—happiness emanate from this tender celebration of simple pleasures." — Publishers Weekly, starred review

The sun on your face. The smell of warm bannock baking in the oven. Holding the hand of someone you love. What fills your heart with happiness? This beautiful book, with illustrations from celebrated artist Julie Flett, serves as a reminder for little ones and adults alike to reflect on and cherish the moments in life that bring us joy.

International speaker and award-winning author Monique Gray Smith wrote My Heart Fills with Happiness to support the wellness of Indigenous children and families, and to encourage young children to reflect on what makes them happy.

Orca Book Publishers is pleased to offer this paperback as a dual-language (English and Plains Cree) edition.

Key Selling Points

  • My Heart Fills With Happiness won the Christie Harris Illustrated Children’s Literature Prize in 2017.
  • Author Monique Gray Smith has also written the bestselling picture books You Hold Me Up, When We Are Kind and the middle-grade nonfiction book Speaking Our Truth: A Journey of Reconciliation.
  • Illustrator Julie Flett received a BolognaRagazzi Special Mention (2019) for her book with Richard Van Camp, We Sang You Home.
  • This book features a beautiful array of Indigenous children and multigenerational families.
  • The dual language English/Plains Cree edition was selected for the 2019 TD Grade One Book Giveaway.
  • Monique Gray Smith dedicated this book to the former Indian Residential School students and their families.
  • My Heart Fills With Happiness has been translated into French, Spanish, Plains Cree and Anishinaabemowin.

Monique Gray Smith is an award-winning, bestselling author and public speaker. Her books cover a broad spectrum of ages, topics and emotions. Woven into all of Monique’s writing and her speaking engagements is the teaching that Love is Medicine. Her books include Speaking our Truth: A Journey of Reconciliation, My Heart Fills With Happiness, You Hold Me Up, Lucy and Lola, Tilly: A Story of Hope and Resilience, Tilly and the Crazy Eights, When We Are Kind and I Hope. She has also created the young adult adaptation of Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer. Monique is Cree and Scottish. She lives with her family on the Traditional Territories of the Lək̓ʷəŋən and WSÁNEĆ Peoples.

Julie Flett is a Swampy Cree and Red River Métis artist and author. She studied fine arts at Concordia University in Montreal and Emily Carr University of Art + Design in Vancouver, British Columbia. She won the Governor General’s Award for Children’s Literature for her work on When We Were Alone by David Robertson, and her book Birdsong won the TD Canadian Children’s Literature Award and was shortlisted for the Governor General’s Award. She is the three-time recipient of the Christie Harris Illustrated Children’s Literature Award for Owls See Clearly at Night: A Michif Alphabet, Dolphin SOS and My Heart Fills With Happiness.

Mary Cardinal Collins is a semi-retired teacher, fluent Cree speaker and translator.

The Cree Literacy Network was created in 2010 to promote Cree language and cultural literacy, in oral form and through literacy materials. Through the essential tool of standard spelling, the Cree Literacy Network supports the fundamental right of Cree speakers to understand and be understood.

Marketing and Promotional Plans

  • Print and online advertising campaigns
  • Promotion at national and regional school, library and trade conferences
  • Extensive ARC distribution, including NetGalley
  • Blog and social media promotion
  • Outreach in Orca newsletter
  • Continued promotion with Orca’s dual-language titles

★ "A quiet loveliness, sense of gratitude, and—yes—happiness emanate from this tender celebration of simple pleasures, which features a cast of First Nations children and adults...Short, first-person phrases...revel in both solitary and familial activities...Flett's (Little You) crisp-edged paintings blend universal and culturally specific experiences." - Publishers Weekly, starred review

★ "Joyful and tender, this board book celebrates the activities that bring gladness through family and cultural connections...Flett's quietly powerful gouache and digital collage illustrations emphasize the relationships between people...The sweet family story has universal appeal. A first purchase for all libraries." - School Library Journal, starred review

"It is a fantastic toddler book that celebrates family and heritage and would be valuable in any collection, especially those of First Nations heritage." - Raising Mom blog

"Specific visuals ground this sweet celebration of simple pleasures." - Kirkus Reviews

"An excellent board book for every baby Canadian." - The Toronto Star

"[A] light, warm and utterly charming book...Highly recommended for families, parents of young children to share with them and to begin conversation and sharing about emotions." - Resource Links

"A celebration of aboriginal culture...but also universal in its message: sometimes it's the simplest things that lift our spirits highest...[The book] is beautiful in both its appearance and its intention." - Quill & Quire

"A comforting board book offers young children the opportunity for reflection, and for affirmation, too. Moments of happiness tucked into each and every day celebrated here include time with family, self-expression, and the natural world." - Cooperative Children's Book Centre

"A board book that leaves you feeling cheerful and appreciative of those small moments in life that bring one joy. Recommended." - CM: Canadian Review of Materials

Also Available

I Hope / nipakosêyimon Monique Gray Smith 9781459833258 $21.95 CAD Sep 13, 2022
My Heart Fills With Happiness / Nijiikendam Monique Gray Smith 9781459825390 $19.95 CAD May 11, 2021
You Hold Me Up / Gimanaadenim Monique Gray Smith 9781459827196 $19.95 CAD May 11, 2021
When We Are Kind Monique Gray Smith 9781459825222 $21.95 CAD Oct 13, 2020
When We Are Kind / Nihá’ádaahwiinít’íigo Monique Gray Smith 9781459827530 $21.95 CAD Oct 13, 2020
You Hold Me Up / ê-ohpiniyan Monique Gray Smith 9781459821750 $19.95 CAD Sep 04, 2018
You Hold Me Up Monique Gray Smith 9781459814479 $19.95 CAD Oct 31, 2017
Speaking Our Truth Monique Gray Smith 9781459815834 $29.95 CAD Sep 19, 2017
My Heart Fills With Happiness Monique Gray Smith 9781459809574 $12.95 CAD Mar 01, 2016
We Belong to the Drum / mistikwaskihk kitipêyimikonaw Sandra Lamouche 9781459834385 $21.95 CAD May 16, 2023
Forever Our Home / kâkikê kîkinaw Tonya Simpson 9781459837584 $21.95 CAD May 16, 2023

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