When I was about 6-7 years old I had Peanuts bed sheets. They were covered in bright, bold images of Snoopy and the gang participating in activities that made them ‘happy’. Whether it was walking bare foot in the grass, having a thumb and blanket to nuzzle or being able to tie their own shoes – it was clear to me that happiness could be found in the simplest of things. My absolute favourite saying on the sheets was: Happiness is a stack of comic books.
I had quite an extensive comic book collection: Spider Man, Star Wars, The Incredible Hulk, Aquaman and Tales of the Unexpected to name but a few. Had I kept them in pristine condition some issues would have secured a rather lush pension. Ah well….never mind. It was the story and being in the moment that was the most important thing.
After all happiness is a stack of well-read, much-loved comic books and not a carefully categorized collection of comics covered in plastic sleeves that must be read while wearing gloves and a sneeze guard, or worse – not to be read at all!
Happiness for me is also a stack of picture books. Fortunately I am still in possession of many of my childhood favourites which I still read on a regular basis. Of course I have continued buying new picture books but I can’t help but return to my old friends. The stories and illustrations still resonate deeply with me and have the power to take me back to a simpler time, even if only for a few hours.
Writing for children can be tough. The older we get the further removed we can become from childlike innocence and awe. Happiness can be hard to find. I struggle not to get bogged down in worries about bills, who’s turn it is to do the washing up and why the jeans I bought 2 months ago suddenly no longer fit. It is far too easy to forget that it’s often simple things that make us the happiest.
Everyone, not just those who write for children, should take the time to reconnect with their inner child and rediscover their ‘Happiness is…’
Here is my list:
- Happiness is cuddling with Nutmeg.
- Happiness is seeing the birds in my garden.
- Happiness is a walk in ancient woodland.
- Happiness is listening to rain drops on the window.
- Happiness is a warm bed with a cold pillow under my head.
- Happiness is a stack of picture books, a glass of milk and a plate of Rice Krispie treats.
(No wonder my jeans don’t fit anymore!)
Here is the recipe for Rice Krispie treats – another childhood favourite of mine.
Peanut Butter Rice Krispie Treats (courtesy of Kellog’s Rice Krispies)
3 Tablespoons butter or margarine
1 package (10oz – about 40) regular marshmallows -OR- 4 cups miniature marshmallows
1/2 cup peanut butter (I used chunky!)
6 cups Kellog’s Rice Krispies cereal
In a large saucepan melt butter over low heat
Add marshmallows and stir until completely melted
Remove from heat
Stir in peanut butter until melted
Add Kellog’s Rice Krispies cereal
Stir until well coated
Using a buttered spatula or parchment paper evenly press mixture into 13 x 9 x 2 inch pan coated with cooking spray (or greased with butter)
Cut into 2 inch squares
Enjoy with a glass of milk and a stack of your favourite picture books!