Depending on what part of the world you inhabit, the beginning of February might find you suffering from the winter blahs. Some call it the Jan-Febs; others are just so tired of the slush and the cold and the wind (and the pandemic!) that traps them indoors; still others battle the very real SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder).
Even those libraries blessed with year-round good weather have patrons that could use a moment of joy, so let this be our subtle suggestion for the creation of a happiness corner — maybe install a light therapy fixture, add some bubbles or balloons, maybe even rent a puppy? And, of course, books that are guaranteed to bring a smile and remind that stressed-out teen of the kid they still are. From comics to picture books, these titles will be sure to bring a smile.
Maybe your teens are already familiar with Nathan W. Pyle’s Strange Planet series? If not, remedy that error forthwith!! These alien creatures do their best to describe their interactions with the new and fascinating things of Earth, and they never fail to bring a laugh. Or 100.
Packed into the same small size is the forthcoming When Sharks Attack with Kindness by Andrés J. Colmenares, creator of Wawawiwa Comics. Colmenares describes his comics as a “visual hug,” and this book is exactly that. Warm and charming and sometimes hilarious, this book will make you smile. BONUS: there’s a soundtrack to go with it!
Some 2021 ALA Youth Media Award winners would make a good addition. Stonewall honoree Beetle & the Hollowbones by Aliza Layne has some rising action that might keep a teen turning the pages, but the happy ending comes quickly, and there are moments of wry humor that might even result in a snort.
Perhaps no 2021 honoree is more noted for humor, however, than Alex Award winner Solutions and Other Problems by Allie Brosh. This book handles real issues surrounding mental health and loss (for a full review from YALSA member Sara Beth, click here), but it is also so funny that it just might make you cry . . . from laughing. (see also: Brosh’s first book Hyperbole and a Half)
Everyone knows how much today’s teens love graphic novels, but do not forget a few collections of classic comics. Garfield, Zits, Tintin, Baby Blues, The Far Side, and Calvin & Hobbes are must-reads for anyone needing a giggle.
Last but not least, shop the children’s section. Recent laugh-out-loud favorites include The Book with No Pictures by B.J. Novak, Jon Klassen’s Hat books, and for teens who used to love Shel Silverstein — I’m Just No Good at Rhyming and Other Nonsense for Mischievous Kids and Immature Grown-ups by Chris Harris and Lane Smith. It’s clever and silly and often completely hysterical.
There are definitely teens who would scoff as such an installation. Me? A Kid? Never!
But for those teens who embrace it, your happiness corner may just be exactly the break from the everyday they’ve been craving. Bring out the coloring pages! Turn up the music! And really. You should look into that puppy. I’ve heard of Humane Society chapters who don’t mind “loaning” a few animals out for a couple of hours.