Book Reviews

review: the happiness passport!

Hi friends! Today I’m doing a sort of unusual post for me here: a book review! I read and absolutely loved The Happiness Passport by Megan Hayes, illustrated by Yelena Bryksenkova. And now that we’re in a festive, gift-giving mood… this would make the perfect gift!

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Title: The Happiness Passport: a world tour of joyful living in 50 words
Author: Megan Hayes (illustrated by Yelena Bryksenkova)
Genre: non-fiction
Rating: five giant smiles! 😁😁😁😁😁
Published on November 1st 2018 by White Lion Publishing
Goodreads: click here

📖 synopsis 📖

Languages are portals to the culture of the people who speak them. By learning what each word means, we get  a glimpse of what life is really like in those countries… The author takes us on a journey around the world through fifty words, all of them dealing with happiness…

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own!

🌏 the words… 🌏

I think the author and editor did a brilliant job of picking out really amazing words. I bookmarked my favorites and learned so much about cultures and languages white reading this book!
One thing I really liked about this book is that it included words from all kinds of languages. Sure, we have our fair share of European languages, but we also get to learn about indigenous languages (such as Inuit). I loved this balance and thought it was an amazing mix of cultures.

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💭 the concept… 💭

What a brilliant idea for a book! I feel like nowadays there are a lot of “self-help” books published on happiness. And there are also a lot of sociological studies published on how different cultures view happiness in different ways. So The Happiness Passport was definitely the perfect mix of the two.
If you like learning about new languages, this book is for you. If you’re interested in how different cultures live every realm of their life (spiritual, romantic, family…), you’ll love this book. Even if you’re just interested to see just how many words can exist for happiness, this book is perfect for you!!!

In the first pages, the author explains why she decided to write this book. Why include words from all kinds of languages? Can we ever fully understand a foreign word?

!The ‘untranslatable’ nature of these words is actually something of a misnomer. Such words fascinate us precisely because they do translate to an emotional, social, or physical experience that we can each understand. We just may not have found a word for it until now. Our instant recognition of these concepts — from the strikingly simple to the wonderfully weird — accentuates our similarities, even as it helps to revere our respective cultural quirks!

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👩🏻‍🎨 amazing illustrations 👩🏻‍🎨

Kudos to Yelena Bryksenkova for her illustrations. Every single page has a stunning layout and adorable drawings to go with the text. I love how every page we had a double spread of a life depiction. For example, if the word was in Hawaiian, we’d have people on the beach pulling a boat to shore. Or, if we had a German word, there would be a thick, green forest represented on the pages.
A big reason why I loved this book so much was the illustrations. They really do keep you hooked and transport you to the country or region where that word is spoken!

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🎁 it’s a great gift! 🎁

Because you don’t need to read The Happiness Passport all in one go and because the illustrations are stunning, this will make a great gift! I can totally see this gorgeous book sitting on a coffee table or bedside table waiting for a reader to pick it up.
Besides it being gorgeous, it’s also very entertaining and has educational value. You’ll surely learn a lot about different cultures and languages while you leaf through these pages…

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🌟 my favorite spreads… 🌟

There were too many spreads I loved to take a picture of them all. So, I decided I would only include a few. You should pick your favorites and come show me them when you pick up the book yourself!

I really love this Italian verb: arrangiarsi. My guess is that I like it so much because there’s a Portuguese equivalent I appreciate a lot (the highlighted yellow lines on the picture on the right). For me, being able to adapt to a situation is what truly successful people to. To me, being able to shift your plans and course of action based on one action is crucial.

The Maori word turangawaewae is a beautiful one to me. According to the author, it expresses a sense of belonging to a place, through geneology. I’ve been reading more and more about the impacts of growing up in a place where you feel you belong — not just culturally but deep in your bones, like you have a rightful claim to the place. When I learned that there was a word for this, I immediately bookmarked the page for me to go back and read it again and again…

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Had you ever heard of this book before? I think this would make any great Christmas present, but maybe that’s just me! What are your thoughts?

4 thoughts on “review: the happiness passport!

  1. What a wonderful concept for a book! I love the idea of those words that are untranslatable between languages, they make for such a fascinating study. Also think it would make a lovely Christmas gift, those illustrations are so charming. Thanks for such a fantastic review and putting this on my radar!!

    Liked by 1 person

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