Blogger Kary Henry

Take a Smile! Leave a Smile!

When I was growing up, I remember that our local dime store (yes, that was a thing) had a little dish of pennies next to the (manual) cash register. The sign above the dish said, “Take a Penny! Leave a Penny!” As a child, I was fascinated by that little dish and its sign. My dad had to explain the concept of making change and how just one penny might make a difference, might make it easier for the cashier to make change.

bowl of pennies with sign reading Take a Penny! Leave a Penny!
Image created in Canva

Given that we all might enjoy some uplifting content, I decided to tweak that old-fashioned sign for one of my own: “Take a Smile! Leave a Smile!” Sharing stories that bring smiles to each other is priceless. In that spirit, enjoy these stories…and then please leave one of your own!

Image created in Canva

Smiles to Take…

  • A former colleague, Amy R., once overheard a child in the play area shout, “Everybody get on your unicorns!”
  • A little one asked me if I lived at the library. He told me that if I had a toaster and grapes, I’d be fine.
  • After storytime, a preschooler went out to the play area, sat her caregiver down, and proceeded to do storytime for her, complete with my opening clap.
  • One of the paper pumpkins submitted for our pumpkin contest read “I love you and the library and I love to read!”
  • A new family visited the library, got library cards, and, as they were leaving, the little one asked, “Can we come back tomorrow?”
  • On Twitter, E.C. shared this story with me: “I played “Mr. Golden Sun” for a preschool storytime on a rainy morning. After it ended, I was putting my props away when a child from the class knocked on my door. “Miss Erin!” he beamed. “The sun came out!” We both ran outside and, lo and behold, it had! We made magic that day.”

Smiles to Leave…

I know you’ve got your own heartwarming, smile-inducing stories. Please share them in the comments below!


  1. Lina Crowell

    A few years ago when the summer reading program theme was superheroes, our then young adult librarian and I put together a program called “Superhero Training Camp” featuring lots of fun activities. One of our young patrons, a pre-teen, declared that a trip to the library is better than going to [well-known amusement park about an hour’s drive away].

    1. Kary

      That is high praise indeed! Thanks for sharing this smile!

  2. Julie

    Just the other day a little guy came in and just started walking around the room saying “book, book, book” in total amazement. Glad to see they left with a large pile.

    1. Kary

      That’s adorable! Thanks for sharing that smile with us! (And it reminded me of the book titled….wait for it…Book, Book, Book!)

  3. Mary

    A young, frequent visitor to our Children’s Services department walked up to the reference desk one day several years ago and asked for me. I was called out from my office to speak with them. Normally, being called out to the public floor like this would mean that someone was upset. Not this time! When I asked the child what I could do to help, I was proudly presented with a portrait they had drawn of me with the comment “Thank you so much for believing I could draw and showing me the drawing books.” It made my heart melt.

    1. Kary

      It made MY heart melt too! Thanks for sharing this beautiful story.

  4. Polly

    My favourite is the young man (6-8) who came to the desk to checkout, couldn’t find his card in his pocket and said “What do I do? That card’s my life!”

    1. Kary

      Polly, I love that story! How wonderful that already that young person knows how amazing a library card is! Thanks so much for sharing that smile-inducing story!

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