Because Amelia Smiled

by David Ezra Stein

Other authorsDavid Ezra Stein (Illustrator)
Hardcover, 2012





Candlewick (2012), Edition: 1st, 40 pages


A little girl's smile as she skips down the street in New York inspires a neighbor to send cookies to her grandson in Mexico, and the good will soon spreads around the world.

User reviews

LibraryThing member KimJD
Grades K-3

As Amelia and her parents splash through the rain, Amelia smiles in delight. A glimpse of that smile through a window inspires a grandmother to smile herself and to bake a batch of cookies for her grandson who is teaching in Mexico. When Lionel receives the cookies, he shares them with his class and teaches them a song about cookies, which inspires one of his students to be a teacher, too. Sensacia creates a video of herself teaching a group of youngsters to kickbox and posts it online, where it is seen by a ballet club in England who incorporate some of Sensacia's moves in a benefit recital they are doing in Israel. There, a 4-year-old is so taken with their dance moves that he dances his little brother to sleep, and the resulting good sleep that a neighbor is able to get inspires her to take her band to Paris, where they give a free show on the Pont Neuf. Good deed generates good deed, and eventually, as the smile-inspired good deeds increase exponentially and make their way to various parts of the globe, one of them is sent back to New York City, where it will eventually generate another smile from our Amelia.

Stein's illustrations, in pencil, water-soluble crayon, and watercolor, pulse with life, and are a wonderful complement to the exuberance of the minimal text. The story is a great starting point for discussions about how we are all connected and how our actions can have far-reaching impact.
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LibraryThing member Sullywriter
Warm, energetic, and emanating with positivity and good feeling.
LibraryThing member cocoannie
This book was so sweet and just perfect. Going to buy myself a copy. David Ezra Stein has lots of great books, and this adds to the collection.
LibraryThing member andy_170279
A a nice read about the power of the smile. Because Amelia smiled a chain of good actionsthat made other people smile travels around the world to places like Mexico, England, Paris and back to New York
LibraryThing member brangwinn
PSC Review: You’ll smile when you reach the end of this colorful romp around the world. In New York City Amelia smiles causing a chain of events that impacts the world. Her smile makes a neighbor think of her teacher son in Mexico and bakes him cookies. The cookies go to Mexico, where Lionel shares his cookies and teaches a song in English, and on around the world Amelia’s smile causes happiness, which finally ends up back in New York City from a happy old lady in Italy. The words tell only part of the story, Stein’s colorful pencil, water soluble crayon and watercolor pictures do much in spreading Amelia’s happiness to others. They’re exuberant and world encompassing as he illustrates the various world neighborhoods. And it’s all because one little girl smiled, and at the end her smile is returned to her. And as Stein says in his dedication “To you: Pass it on!”SC… (more)
LibraryThing member syntaxerric
The story follows what happens after a little girl smiles and how the good feelings goes from person to person all around the world and finally back to her.

Ages: 3-6

Source: Pierce College Library
LibraryThing member Lisa2013
I haven’t been reading many picture books in recent months, but I’m really glad I read this one.

The pictures are wonderful. They sophisticated and fun, and I think they’re beautiful. I love the colors, the details, and the art style, which is reminiscent of the Impressionists.

The story is maybe a little too simplistic, but it does illustrate a fine point, and I did smile at the end, and I enjoyed the story. It’s definitely one I’d recommend for enjoyment and for lessons about how we’re all interdependent and that everything we do can have a greater influence on others, and ourselves too. (It’s a sort of version of the Butterfly Effect.) I also appreciated how there are scenes from around the world.

For me, it worked on every level. I found it very entertaining and emotionally touching.

I wish this book had been out when a friend had her daughter Amelia over 22 years ago. It would have made a great gift. I think Amelia Bedelia were the only Amelia books we could find at the time.

4 ½ stars
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LibraryThing member jsanfi1
In my opinion this is a simple book. The pictures are absolutely gorgeous, but there are few words. Regardless I like the fact that this story has a good message. I can see how it would be good for a younger audience; I like that because sometimes I have trouble determining the appropriate reading level. The language is very clear, therefore making the content easy for young readers to understand. For example it contains simple sentences such as "Lionel ate the cookies," or "At bedtime, he danced his brother, Ichabod, to sleep." Both of these sentences have simple vocabulary, again, making it great for young readers. Another thing I especially like about this story is that the illustrations are extremely engaging. They have a lot of bright, happy colors that tell the reader that this is a positive story. The main message of this book is what goes around comes around. Every single person on this planet is connected in some way, and your positive actions will eventually come back to you.… (more)
LibraryThing member cadyVdean
one smile can lead to a million.
LibraryThing member 32BASKETBALL
This story shows that one perosn's smile and good mood can affect the people around her. Then that affect may spread on and on. It shows that it is hard to resist a smile, you can't help but smile yourself when seeing someone else with a big smile.
LibraryThing member Cheryl_in_CC_NV
A wonderful exploration of the power of Karma, of the concept of Pay it Forward. ?I appreciate that there was hardly any money spent - most of the 'favors' were like my email sig' line: Share joy!"

Only trouble is, to make it work, the Amelia at the end has to be the daughter or grand-daughter of the one in the beginning....

But the thing that took a full star off my rating is that I, personally, did not like the art style at all. ?áI get it, and I can see the joy and vivacity in it, and the appeal for some, but I honestly do not care for it. ?áSorry."
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LibraryThing member susan.mccourt
This is a wonderful book that can help show children how even our simplest actions can affect the world around us. Amelia smiles, which causes Mrs. Higgins to bake cookies for her grandson, which causes, etc. etc... Each act of kindness triggers another one, as we follow that original smile all over the world, from New York to Mexico to Israel to Italy, and back to New York where Amelia smiles again. The illustrations have a casual crayon/colored pencil look to them, but not without detail. We see rich and vibrant settings, with loving families and diverse cultures. This would be a wonderful book to share with pre-K/early elementary students as a read-aloud. Students could try to guess where the picture takes place, looking for clues about differences in art, dress, or weather. It is also a great book for demonstrating simple compassion, and how our actions indeed create a better world.… (more)


Original language


Physical description

40 p.; 10.19 inches


0763641693 / 9780763641696


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