The Happy Book Company is the creation of The Happy Book Lady, Tessa Cobb. That's me. I make children's books about choosing happiness, even when everything goes wrong. Since starting The Happy Book Company in 2018, it's gone from strength to strength: publishing 3 books; hosting over 30 events and workshops; and selling almost 2000 copies in 20 countries across the globe! Pretty cool, huh...makes me wonder who else is in this Happy Book Company?
Let's find out.
What are Happy Books?
I make beautiful children's picture books about choosing happiness. My happiness is my number 1 priority in life, and each time I've come across a big challenge to my happiness I've made a book about it. This is an exceedingly empowering process, and I'm learning that there's not much in life that can stand in the way of me and my happiness.
Since starting The Happy Book Company I've become more and more happy every single day. Through daring to do the things that scare me, and daring to put my happiness first I'm more and more amazed at myself and what I can do. These books are not tools for 'coping', they are for thriving!
My first book, Squirrel And The Three Bears, is about asking for help, and the power in our vulnerability. The Girl Who Walked To The Moon is about having an impossible dream, and trying and failing to make it come true. And Geoffrey Finds A Bike is about friendship, togetherness, and how we can create happiness even when everything goes wrong.
Creating my own happiness through the medium of children's books is something I am extremely proud of, and I love sharing this 'Art of Happiness' through workshops with young people in schools and at Literature Festivals.
What does Happiness mean to The Happy Book Company?
I've been lucky to learn that everything in life is exactly and deliciously as it should be. Sometimes things go wrong, and that's ok. Humans do imperfect things, and that's ok. I can do imperfect things, and that's ok too (thank God!)
The Happy Book Company believes that everyone can choose happiness for themselves, no matter who they are, where they're from, or what they've experienced.
We believe that humans are amazing, and each one of us deserves to choose happiness, no matter what. We advise young people to put their own happy oxygen mask on first, and we love seeing the powerful, loving and inspiring human beings that evolve from this place.
The Happy Book Company inspires young people to see the amazing things that we are capable of, and inspire them go out and build the life of their dreams.
Who is the Happy Book Lady?
The beating heart of The Happy Book Company is me, Tessa, otherwise known as The Happy Book Lady.
In short, I love making picture books, and I love being happy, so I created The Happy Book Company to pursue my two main passions in life. Makes sense doesn't it? You can read all about who I am and why I do what I do here.
In brief I call myself The Happy Book Lady because that's exactly what I am! A lot of people would say I'm the happiest person they know. And I'm working all the time on creating better and more impressive happy books. Check out my new artwork in development on Instagram.
Currently I am studying for an MA in Children's Book Illustration at the Cambridge School of Art, which I absolutely love. It's the most mythic programme with an incredible group of passionate artists. We're being taught the foundations of drawing, design and printmaking, and then encouraged to find our own visual language through play and experimentation.
Who else is in The Happy Book Company?
Although I'm the only 'official' employee of The Happy Book Company, I work with a number of other awesome creative people to bring Happy Books into your grubby little hands.
Firstly, how do Happy Book Company books make it around the world? With our incredible team of licensing agents: The Rights Solution!
Gwen, Rachel and Abi from are the most gleesome threesome of experienced foreign rights agents. They've all worked for years in various publishing houses and set up The Rights Solution so they could give small independent publishers who make awesome books a bigger voice on the international stage.
Secondly, my booksellers, Tilian Kids, Mr B's Emporium, and Toppings & Co to name a few. These awesome bookshops and children's stores put The Happy Book Company books into the hands that want them the most. I love working with local independent book shops and have hosted some storytelling events with them too!
Thirdly, where would The Happy Book Company be without its beautiful branding? Supple Studio use their creative, slick, and clever design to bring a beautiful aesthetic to The Happy Book Company. Jamie and his team are incredible designers to work with and they've really elevated The Happy Book Company to new heights. Check out our awesome animated logo!
The Cambridge School of Art MA Children's Book Illustration class of 2024 deserve their spot in The Happy Book Company as the incredible support and feedback team I get to create my books in over the next 2 years. I love how no one holds back on their critique and constructive suggestions are always made. Illustration is sometimes a solitary pursuit, but being part of this group makes creating Happy Books a collaborative activity...true collective art.
And then there's my amazing husband Colin. Wow. Where to start? His unofficial title is 'Chief Creative Consultant' and he is always on hand for bouncing ideas off, editing stories, proofing books for print, showing me how to use indesign, carrying heavy boxes of books, anything to do with wires, cheering me on from the wings at events, and generally supporting and encouraging me in everything I do. Without him, this would probably be happening, but not as stylishly, smoothly and enjoyably.
And finally, Mr Fluffy, where would The Happy Book Company be without him?
Where is The Happy Book Company?
Me and my Book Company are happily based in the fabulous city of Bath, South-West England. I love nothing more than going out in the city with my sketchbook to gather ideas and inspiration for new books.
But The Happy Book Company loves to travel! Want to host an author event in a school or bookshop with The Happy Book Lady? I love to hop on a train to bring my Happy Books to all corners of the UK. Check out my events page to see how it all works and do get in touch if you'd like to chat about maybe hosting a Happy Book Lady event.
How does the Happy Book Company make books?
This is probably the most asked question at my Happy Book Lady events, kids seem to be fascinated by how the pictures I draw in my sketchbook magically end up inside a book that they can hold in their hands?
So far I've written, illustrated and designed 3 books, completely in house. The book's concept usually comes to me first, then I'll bring it to life through lots of drawing. Here's some people drawing I did the other day outside the British Museum, looking for characters to put into my latest book project about astronomy.
Deciding who the main character is really gets things moving, then it's about putting some words together to help the storytelling, although I like the pictures to do most of the work. My process is very iterative, swapping between sketching, writing and storyboarding to see the book come together quite organically. I layout the images and text using Adobe Indesign, and touch up artwork or maybe use some digital collage with Photoshop. Here's me hard at work in my home studio:
When it's time to get some real books made I've called on the great community that is Kickstarter - where creative projects gain backing from awesome people in exchange for a pre-order of the book. I then send off the digital book files to my printer in the UK who send back many many boxes of beautiful Happy Books.
After my MA I'm looking to work with book designers and editors in traditional publishing houses. It will be incredible to bring even more exciting Happy Books into the world, as part of an experienced creative team.
How can I work with The Happy Book Company?
Visiting schools to talk about happiness, children's books, and everything in between is one of my favourite things to do. Please do get in touch if you'd like to talk about booking The Happy Book Lady for a school author visit or other workshop event.
Pop over to my events page for everything you need to know about Happy Book Company school author visits.