Formerly known as Happiness at School


A good laugh banishes a thousand worries. -Japanese proverb

Sue Stephenson is the author of three books that support our program.

Kidding Around: connecting kids to happiness, laughter and humour

Definition of an optimist: someone who figures that taking a step backward after taking a step forward is not a disaster, it’s a cha-cha. —Robert Brault

About The Book

Kidding Around: connecting kids to happiness, laughter and humour is a new 2013 research-based book for teachers and adults to use with kids of all ages and even for their own wellness.  It includes 40 activities in its 200 pages.

  • making the connections between happiness, laughter and humour
  • linking the happiness and positive pyschology movements
  • confronting mental health issues when people don’t feel so happy
  • appreciating all senses of humour
  • exploring the contagious nature of laughter with exercises and games
  • appreciating, writing and performing comedy to tickle funnybones
  • eliminating humour that isn’t fun, for example when teasing becomes bullying

Teachers and other educators will find that the book directly integrates with various curriculum areas such as: mental health and wellness in the Physical and Health; reading, writing and oral language; media literacy, community class building, character education,  and social science. It compliments initiatives such as safe schools, equity and social justice. Educators can consider using it as a unit or a theme for the entire year.

This book was featured in Larry Ferlazzo’s blog on March 9, 2014.

Kidding Around Press Release

Kidding Around brings laughter, trust and fun into the classroom, staff room, living room and bored room! As a child, Sue Stephenson loved everything about going to school — the learning, the teachers, the whole environment. And so when she grew up, she became a teacher specializing in Family Studies and then an educational consultant and then, to cap off her school career, an elementary school principal passionate about the well-being of her students. Education is still very much in Stephenson’s blood, just as it had been in her childhood. Stephenson is now very much in demand as a keynote speaker and workshop leader, addressing community, educational and corporate audiences. She is also a well-regarded author, having just released her fourth book, entitled Kidding Around: Connecting Kids to Happiness, Laughter and Humour. That’s where Stephenson’s broad concern lies. She believes that our modern world sometimes doesn’t leave much room for joy and fun for kids, who are bombarded by social media and may face tensions in the home and/or bullying in the schools. It can be a nasty world out there for our kids; it’s no wonder that so many of them retreat to their iPods, cellphones and video games. In Kidding Around, Stephenson aims to help adults connect more fully with the children in their care or under their supervision. She seeks to encourage all of us – children and adults alike – to lighten up and look on the bright side of life. Laughter, she says, is excellent medicine that helps all of us enjoy a happier, more enriched life. There is a connection — a very real, demonstrated connection — between laughter and learning, and humour and creativity. Problems get solved much more readily when people feel as though they are part of a team, and very often, successful team building emerges only when we can feel connected to one another through story telling and fun. That’s as true in the living room as it is in the classroom or the bored room. Stephenson’s classroom experience and years as a grandmother are very apparent in Kidding Around. She has learned that kids who are positive and optimistic are also more resilient; that youngsters need to feel safe and secure in order to express their deeply felt emotions; and that laughter has some marvelous benefits — physical, emotional, mental and social. In short, Kidding Around is a truly welcome guide for parents, grandparents, community workers and teachers. It’s written in a bright, breezy style that permits a very serious subject matter to be dealt with in a light, non-threatening manner. Kidding Around is rich in detail, rich in example and rich in its suggested solutions. It is very clear that author Stephenson has our youngsters’ best interests at heart; it is also very clear that she wants our children to develop into mature, happy, successful adults. That’s what makes Kidding Around: Connecting Kids to Happiness, Laughter and Humour such essential reading.

••• Kidding Around: Connecting Kids to Happiness, Laughter and Humour by Sue Stephenson Illustrated by Tony MacKinnon ISBN: 9871896080116

Kidding Arround Book Reviews

Debbie Axiak, teacher Peel District School Board

I’ve spent the last few days happily immersed in Sue Stephenson’s book Kidding Around: Connecting Kids to Happiness, Laughter and Humour. Before reading this book I would have said ‘of course happiness is important’ and ‘of course laughter makes people feel better’, but the book took me on a delightful journey and answered WHY this is true and HOW we can get more in our lives. Yesterday morning, my son called groggily from his bedroom “Are you ok Mom?” He thought there was something wrong with me; I was laughing so hard while watching one of the videos mentioned in the book that I had woken him up. I was laughing so hard that I could barely answer his question. For several hours after, I had random bursts of laughter that felt silly and wonderful. The book contains humour and research-based evidence that explain why happiness, laughter and humour are important AND contains activities that will help you incorporate more happiness and laughter into your own life and into the lives of your family, friends and students. In addition, Stephenson includes lists of resources such as books, apps, dvds and games as well as websites, like the one that made me laugh so hard. This book won’t make it onto my book shelf; it will stay on my desk so that I can refer to it often.

Sue Dunlop, System District Principal, Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board

Did you know that putting a smile on your face actually makes you feel happier? In my work with teachers, principals and vice principals, I often hear how the fun in education is increasingly hard to find. Sometimes it seems that in our current climate of rapid change, hyper accountability, and standardized testing, we don’t do too much laughing in school. Kidding Around will help educators and parents reconnect with the importance of fun and play. Author Sue Stephenson uses research on happiness to create a passionate book rooted in her strong beliefs about the power of laughter. The book is organized into three major sections on Happiness, Laughter and Humour. Each section brings together information, inspiring quotes and stories to help you understand the importance of laughter and humour to kids’ emotional and physical well-being.  We all have concerns about our young people’s mental health and the anxiety and stress they experience, and this book addresses these areas as well, including a section on bullying prevention and intervention. Stephenson offers lots of activities and resources for all adults who work or live with kids. Kidding Around is packed with practical, “do today” tips and ideas.  I was inspired to begin practicing Good Hearted Living Practices from Steve Wilson daily after reading the laughter section. And, if you really want a good laugh, visit, home of the world’s most contagious laugher! Parents and educators alike will find this an easy-to-read, accessible book and a valuable addition to their repertoire of relationship building with children and students.

Bromeando: cómo conectar a los niños la felicidad, la risa y el humor

Un libro basado en actividades para maestros, padres, abuelos y otros educadores para usar con niños de todas las edades.

Bromeando is a complete Spanish language version of Kidding Around.

Bromeando  is now currently available in print directly from Sue Stephenson or from as a Kindle eBook edition.

A portion of the sale of each copy of Bromeando will be donated to Kids Help Phone.

Laughing Matters: Strategies for Building a Joyful Learning Community by Susan Stephenson and Paul Thibault

We need to give staff permission to have some fun. Healthy learning cultures aren’t possible if people don’t like each other and enjoy working together. Happiness and laughter are part of the bigger picture of trust. Trusting cultures have fun together.

“Without a culture of good humour to make continuous improvement an enjoyable process, rather than an exhausting chore, we have little chance of success—let alone sustaining it.” —Stephenson and Thibault

Laughing Matters: Strategies for Building a Joyful Learning Community is an engaging book co-authored by Sue Stephenson and Paul Thibault that offers practical ideas for administrators and teacher leaders to bring more fun and good humour into classrooms and schools. Without laughter and a culture of good humour, schools have little chance of moving towards an environment conducive to professional learning. Professional Learning Communities are often blocked by a culture of distrust, low morale and resistance to change. In this environment genuine teamwork and meaningful collaboration are not possible. The first steps towards productive workplaces involve creating an atmosphere of hope, joy, fulfillment and pride in one’s work.

To place an order, contact Sue Stephenson by phone or email  (go to our Contact Us page for contact details).

Print version or Kindle ebook versions, available at