In 1942, Sergeant “Griff” Griffin was a prisoner of war. With Christmas approaching, he decided to make a book for the children cooped up in nearby Changi Prison. The book was said to contain the secrets to happiness. But the enemy was suspicious … With this picture book, award winners Mark Greenwood and Andrew McLean bring to life the inspirational true story of a book that became a National Treasure.
This is the true story of Australian prisoners of war who created a picture book called The Happiness Box as a Christmas present for children interned in Changi Prison.
The book was written for children to chase away fear and give them hope, and contained the “secrets to happiness” such as the importance of friendship, kindness, compassion, generosity, loyalty, faith, courage and hard work.
The Happiness Box survived the war. It toured Australia along with Sir Don Bradman’s cricket bat and Ned Kelly’s helmet as part of the National Treasures exhibition from Australia’s great libraries. The book currently resides in the State Library of NSW.