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Showing posts from April 23, 2020

Review: The Happiness Box: A Wartime Book of Hope

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The story pages of The Happiness Box are encased in slouch-hat-felt-beige, giving nothing away until you open this picture book and chance inside where you'll discover a beautiful story within a story.

The Happiness Box was created in the middle of World War II, in the throat of a torrid jungle strangled by war. For Sergeant David 'Griff' Griffins, Changi Prison on the east coast of Singapore was home. He and the other prisoners of war including women and children endured the rigors of imprisonment, disease and starvation for years, each fearful of being hauled off into the jungle to work for the Japanese as slaves building railways and bridges.

To pass the time and maintain morale, Griff ran literary competitions and penned theatrical productions which the prisoners performed, desperate to preserve normality and boost spirits. He encouraged reading among his men but his thoughts always returned to the children cooped up in Changi prison who had no toys or books to escape…