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The Happiness Box

A Wartime Book of Hope

Mark Greenwood (Author) Andrew McLean (Illustrator)



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Walker Books
01 August 2018
ABBEY'S BOOKSELLER PICK ----- The Happiness Box was a little book written and illustrated by two prisoners-of-war in Changi. Conceived as a gift for the children incarcerated in the camp, it was banned by the commandant, buried safely and secretly, and disinterred at the end of the war. It was donated to the State Library of NSW and is accounted a national treasure. This book relates the story of Sergeant "Griff" Griffin who wrote the book, and it explains the experience of prisoners in Singapore to young readers in a straightforward way. A thoughtful book which celebrates the power of storytelling. Ages 5-8 Lindy Jones


An inspiring narrative non-fiction picture book by award winners Mark Greenwood and Andrew McLean.

In 1942, Sergeant "Griff" Griffin was a prisoner of war. With Christmas approaching, he decided to make a book for the children cooped up in nearby Changi Prison. The book was said to contain the secrets to happiness. But the enemy was suspicious... With this picture book, award winners Mark Greenwood and Andrew McLean bring to life the inspirational true story of a book that became a National Treasure.

This is the true story of Australian prisoners of war who created a picture book called The Happiness Box as a Christmas present for children interned in Changi Prison.

The book was written for children to chase away fear and give them hope, and contained the "secrets to happiness" such as the importance of friendship, kindness, compassion, generosity, loyalty, faith, courage and hard work.

The Happiness Box survived the war. It toured Australia along with Sir Don Bradman’s cricket bat and Ned Kelly’s helmet as part of the National Treasures exhibition from Australia’s great libraries. The book currently resides in the State Library of NSW.
By:   Mark Greenwood (Author)
Illustrated by:   Andrew McLean (Illustrator)
Imprint:   Walker Books
Country of Publication:   Australia
Dimensions:   Height: 258mm,  Width: 238mm,  Spine: 10mm
Weight:   386g
ISBN:   9781925081381
ISBN 10:   1925081389
Publication Date:   01 August 2018
Recommended Age:   From 7 to 10 years
Audience:   Children/juvenile ,  English as a second language
Format:   Hardback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Reviews for The Happiness Box: A Wartime Book of Hope

The Happiness Box (Walker Books Australia) is written by a formidable pair of Australian picture book creators, Mark Greenwood and Andrew McLean, whose illustrations are in pen and watercolour. * Paperbark Words * The award-winning team of Mark Greenwood and Andrew McLean bring to life thi inspirational true story of a book that became a National Treasure. * Trevor Cairney Blog * Beautifully told and illustrated, this is a lovely story about the strength of the human spirit. * The Golden Adventures * Highly Recommended. * ReadPlus * I was left with a feeling of sad calmness if that makes sense. Recommended * Sharon Greenaway Reviews * The Happiness Box offers children a new revelation into Australia's war history and would be an important asset to every Australian classroom. Highly recommended. * Kids' Book Review * The Happiness Box is a remarkable new book, about a remarkable old book. * Kids' Book Review * ...definitely an important part of our history. * Beauty and Lace *

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