Hundred Years of Happiness

by Thanhhà Lai (Author) Kim Lien (Illustrator)

Hundred Years of Happiness
Reading Level: 2nd − 3rd Grade

A stunning picture book debut, showcasing the love between grandparents and grandchildren, the challenges of memory loss, and the joy that sweet reminders of a faraway home can bring, from award-winning, bestselling author Thanhhà Lại.

This sweet and emotional picture book will resonate with readers who love A Big Mooncake for Little Star, Ladder to the Moon, and Thank You, Omu!

An's grandmother Bà sometimes gets trapped in her cloudy memories. An and her grandfather, Ông, come up with a plan to bring her back to a happy moment: they grow gấc fruits so they can make xôi gấc, Bà's favorite dish from her wedding in Việt Nam many years ago.

An and Ông work together in the garden, nurturing the gấc seeds. They must be patient and wait for the seeds to grow, flower, and turn into fruit. When the xôi gấc is finally ready, An is hopeful that her grandmother will remember her wedding wish with Ông: hundred years of happiness.

Striking and vivid illustrations bring this tender story of a loving, intergenerational Vietnamese family to life.

School Library Journal

Starred Review

K-Gr 3--An's grandmother, Bà, can no longer remember. An spends time after school with Bà, feeding her sweet fruit and singing a forgotten song about a baby elephant. An's grandfather, Ông, is devoted to his wife, thinking of ways to remind her of herself. Enlisting An's help, Ông plants seeds, hoping to grow the vines that will render the special fruit used in Vietnamese sticky rice. This dish holds a special place in the family history, as it was eaten at the couple's long-ago wedding as family wished them a "Hundred Years of Happiness." An and Ông lovingly tend their vines, eventually rewarded with the prickly orange fruit. After a couple of unsuccessful attempts, Bà is presented with the rich, red treat. For a moment, and only a moment, Bà's memory rises to the surface. While An is disappointed, Ông is ready to start again, if only to recover one more small moment. The illustrations are soft and lovely, connecting the family's journey to the growth of the lush green vines. The bittersweet sorrow of watching a loved one deal with memory loss is palpable in the lyrical text but ultimately the story celebrates every moment of joy. VERDICT At once a lifelong love story between husband and wife, a tribute to the sweetness of multigenerational connections, and a celebration of Vietnamese cultural traditions and cuisine, this title should find a home in every collection.--Alyssa Annico

Copyright 2022 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

Review quotes

PRAISE FOR Butterfly Yellow: "In this radiant pearl of a book, Lại shows that we human beings are singing the very same song: a song of grace and redemption, a song of courage, a song of hope."—New York Times Book Review
Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
Publication date
April 20, 2022

Subscribe to our delicious e-newsletter!