A Smile cover

By Raoul Follereau & Hoda Hadadi

A Smile

The power of a smile transforms lives in a modern translation of the classic poem by a beloved humanitarian

A smile costs nothing, but it’s worth so much. Did you ever think about the power of a smile? With one short poem, French writer and humanitarian Raoul Follereau (1903-1977) spoke to the world about the value of this fundamentally human expression. Since 1920 “A Smile” has been translated into many languages around the world. In this new English translation, framed for a small child’s point of view, the poignant words accompany an intergenerational story in pictures about two children and the many lives affected by their infectious smiles. A dejected street musician, A lonely businessman, an exhausted teacher—all are lifted up by the generosity, compassion, and friendship inspired by a simple smile. Created in paper collage by internationally award-winning illustrator Hoda Hadadi, the illustrations burst with joyful emotions that will infect the hearts of every reader.

Although Raoul Follereau passed away in 1977, his belief in the ability of children to change the world shines through in this book, which was created thanks to the assistance of La Fondation Raoul Follereau. A closing note shares details about Follereau’s humanitarian work, his thirty years traveling the world to give aid to and raise awareness for people with leprosy, and his creation of World Leprosy Day, which is still marked on the last Sunday in January every year.

Available In


Ages 4-7
ISBN: 978-1-77278-227-1
List Price: $19.95 CAD / $17.95 USD
Hardback with reinforced binding & with printed dust jacket
Trim Size: 9.00 x 8.00 inches / 22.86 x 20.32cm
Pages: 24

Publication date: August 10, 2021

Distributed in Canada by University of Toronto Press

Distributed in the U.S. by Ingram Publisher Services

Carton Quantity: 50

About this book

Awards and Honours

  • 2021 Northern Lights Book Awards Winner – Emotional Health Category (Winner) (United States)


Praise for A Smile

2021 Northern Lights Book Awards Winner – Emotional Health Category

“Smiling children transform all they meet… A joyful, infectious celebration of the transformative power of a smile.” —Kirkus Reviews

“Every sentence reads as truth, and Hadadi, working in a primary palette of good cheer, welcome, and bright colors, invites readers into the pages…A quiet idea, amplified, that to be kind, all children need is a smile.”—School Library Journal

“Simply perfect for anyone at anytime – it will certainly make you smile!”—Independent Book Reviews

“It speaks to everyone, from the youngest to the oldest and leaves the gift of a smile when it’s finished.”—North Somerset Teachers’ Book Award

“This is perfect for gently introducing children to the importance of kindness and altruism, as well as easy ways to practice what they’ve learned… It’s sure to put a smile on the face of anyone who reads it.”—Picture Book Snob

“The words are full of compassion, understanding and tenderness to those who may be struggling and have particular resonance at the moment as we emerge from lockdown and are able to share smiles more readily.”—Library Lady

“The text is nice…, but it’s the illustrations by Hoda Hadadi that really make this work shine. Each page is bursting with joy and colour, and detail…”—Jane Whittingham

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Additional Resources

Teaching Guide

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