Why Aren't All Books Happy?

Laura Purdie Salas

I am not a happy book
That’s not the part that was written for me

When you read me,
your stomach churns like a cement truck
while I show you dark parts of life
you might not want to know

parents who leave, friends who die, darkness that shadows a life

or—even worse—
parts of life you already
know about because
you are living through it
feeling alone

and that is my lot in life
to hold your hand as it holds me
and absorb your tears
that fall on my pages

and show you how to survive

happy books are invited to
birthday parties and
get passed from kid to kid

but I am satisfied to be the
book that you read under the covers
with sunrise
dawning in your eyes

Former teacher Laura Purdie Salas has written more than 125 books for kids, including the Can Be ... series (Bank Street Best Books, IRA Teachers' Choice), BookSpeak! (Minnesota Book Award, NCTE Notable), and If You Were the Moon. Laura shares inspiration and practical tips with educators about poetry, nonfiction, and more. Visit Laura at laurasalas.com.