Sue Stephenson is an author and speaker.

Over the last few years, her passion has been focused on growing and promoting the Happiness at School™ project. However, she does consider requests for keynotes and workshops on topics as listed below. Contact her using the Contact Form or email her at to discuss your plans in more detail.

4bookjpgSue is the author of four recent books

  • Kidding Around: Connecting Kids to Happiness, Laughter and Humour
  • Bromeando: cómo conectar a los niños la felicidad, la risa y el humor (Spanish language version of Kidding Around)
  • Leading with Trust: How to Build Strong School Teams
  • Laughing Matters: Strategies for Building a Joyful Learning Community (co-authored with Paul Thibault)

You may use this Book Order Form (PDF) to order the books on this page or use the Add to Cart buttons below to order online (PayPal account required). You can also explore other ways to order the books through the “How to order” sections below.

Kidding Around: connecting kids to happiness, laughter and humour

Kidding Around Book Cover

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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

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. A free 24 page Kids’ Companion Activity Guide (PDF) is available for download.

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

You may use this Book Order Form (PDF) to order the books on this page.


PayPal_mark_50x34 To order print copies of Kidding Around using PayPal, please email Sue Stephenson at - your name – full mailing address with postal code – phone number – which print book you are ordering – how many copies you are ordering You will receive an invoice from PayPal with the appropriate shipping and tax included.

You may order the book directly from Volumes in Canada through their Kidding Around book order page. To place a phone order, call Volumes at 1.888.571.2665 or 519.571.1908.

Also available in print and Kindle ebook edition at

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

ISBN 978-1-896080-11-6 ($24.95 CDN or USD)

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

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.

Bromeandoepubcover2Bromeando: 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.


Leading with Trust: How to Build Strong School Teams

Leading With Trust - Book Cover

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  Research has proven that building trust leads to increased student achievement and staff commitment. Without trusting relationships in place, any change or improvement you attempt will be wasted time, money and effort. The simple act of making trust discussable will be a huge first step. The success of school improvement initiatives depends not only on sound policy but on trusting relationships. Leading With Trust identifies the causes of distrust in toxic cultures and guides leaders in creating a trusting environment that can support change. The author provides research on trust and activities for individuals and teams to use right away to build trust, no matter what their current level of trust. In a workbook format, Leading With Trust explores

  • Ways leaders can learn how trusted they are and improve their self-trust
  • Best practices for engaging with staff on trust issues to improve their team trust
  • How to discuss the “undiscussables” and put the real issues on the table
  • The emotional risks required to build strong teams
  • Strategies to build from distrust to early trust to mature trust for personal and interpersonal capacity

Leading With Trust videos
Sue Stephenson and co-presenter Ardeth Staz, provide insights from their numerous workshops on Leading With Trust in these three Google Hangouts with Solution Tree.

Leading With Trust ($24.95 CDN) can also be ordered directly from the author Sue Stephenson at or 905-453-9178.

Julie Rousseau, Principal, Rick Hansen Secondary School,
 Abbotsford School District, British Columbia, Canada

Sometimes the right book comes along just when you need it. That’s how I feel about Sue’s book, and I know you will feel the same way too. As a new principal in a secondary school, it is important for me to build relationships with staff, students, and parents. Leading With Trust is a real gem. Sue provides excellent insights on the importance of building trust in order to lay a solid foundation where collaboration and communication are fostered. I have used many activities found in the book and have just now developed my online survey for my staff. The questions found in my survey were taken directly from Sue’s book. The information this survey will generate will serve as a springboard for future collaborative work with my staff. I highly recommend this book to anyone needing activities, suggestions, and/or insight on how to promote trusting relationships in their school.


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 directly using the Book Order Form (PDF), or by phone, email or fax (go our Contact page for contact details).

Print version or Kindle ebook versions, available at


PayPal_mark_50x34 To order print copies using PayPal, please email Sue Stephenson at – your name – full mailing address with postal code – phone number – which print book you are ordering – how many copies you are ordering You will receive an invoice from PayPal with the appropriate shipping and tax included.

Keynotes, Workshops and Laughter Classes led by Sue Stephenson


Listed below are sample topics Sue speaks on in the areas of

  • A New Slant on Mental Health and Well-Being
  • Self-Care: Looking After Myself So I Can Work with Others
  • Laughter and Humour
  • Building Trusting Relationships
  • Learning to Love the BUMPS

Sue’s high-impact keynotes, workshops and laughter classes are in demand by a wide variety of audiences where she cleverly combines laughing with learning—a foolproof recipe for a meeting room, living room, classroom or a bored room. Her messages combine research-based knowledge and practical strategies to take action and implement these ideas.  Courage is critical to take the risks necessary to make changes in established cultures.

Interactive workshops can be designed for a couple of hours to a half day to several full days. Sue will tailor a keynote or interactive workshop to the needs of your group focusing on the key aspects of her books or to suit a special request you have. A series of workshops over time is ideal as it give participants time to work with the concepts and apply the strategies with coaching and networking.

Please submit the Let’s Talk Contact Form to start the discussion of your ideas and needs.  Have a look through the ideas below for inspiration.

When Sue speaks to a group this comment is often made – “You need to share this message with the other people in our organization!” Sue works with a wide variety of audiences in the educational, corporate and community world.

Speaking About Happiness, Laughter and Humour

Crumpled adhesive notes with smiling facesSue cleverly combines key messages from her two books Kidding Around: connecting kids to happiness, laughter and humour (2013) and Laughing Matters: Strategies to Build a Joyful Learning Community (2006).

  • The benefits of laughter for adults and students
  • The Happiness Scale – the power of positive psychology
  • Perfecting your own sense of humour
  • Laughter in the workplace and learning communities
  • Laughter and leadership
  • Laughter and trust – the relationship between the two
  • Top Ten Life Tips

We’ve learned more about happiness in the last ten years than in the previous one hundred years. This practical workshop will provide an overview of the recent research on happiness, laughter and humour while participants tickle their funnybones experiencing juicy activities they can use with their students, their families — and for their own wellness too.

Speaking About Trust

lost trustTrust building keynotes or workshops focus on finding the courage to increase the level of trust you have in yourself, with others and among team members to build productive relationships. Increases in student achievement are directly correlated to levels of staff trust and commitment.

Trust is critical in leading learning communities. In this interactive and reflective session, Susan helps individuals and teams improve trust levels based on current research and focuses on: the barriers of distrust; building personal and interpersonal capacity within and among the administrative team and the staff; sequenced practical strategies and activities, with increasing levels of risk, from toxic distrust to early trust to healthy mature trust and the nature of professional learning in a trusting culture.

Participants will leave with a plan to improve relationships, teamwork and increase student achievement.

These are some of the themes around issues of trust and relationships that Sue speaks about

  • Leading With Trust: Breaking Through the Barriers of Distrust
  • Adding Trust to Grow Healthy School Cultures
  • Leading With Trust: Learn and Practice Team Strategies
  • Leading With Trust: Dealing With Self-Trust and Personal Issues
  • Leading With Trust: An Overview of the Research and Strategies
  • Putting the Real Issue on the Table

Laughter Class Experiences



Susan is a warm and funny ‘laugh-pert’ and Certified Laughter Leader – Expert Level with the World Laughter Tour. (Her husband calls her ‘certifiable’ at times.) Sue is also a Gold Member of the Association for Applied and Therapeutic Humor. She customizes her sense of humour to what your group needs – corporate, educational, community, retiree or seniors (who are young at heart).

  • Laugh away your stress
  • Prevent hardening of the attitudes
  • Enjoy some new “laugh exercises” in a safe environment
  • Learn about the benefits of laughter
  • Experience mind-body balance

Learning to Love the BUMPS for new and experienced leaders

SolutionsSpend an innovative day examining real life issues and problems that participants are struggling with in order to find solutions that are immediately useful. Come and compare your expectations of the job, the expectations of others and the reality.

  • Network and talk with colleagues
  • Focus on interpersonal trust issues, curriculum issues and management issues
  • Learn from the experiences of the presenters and the group members
  • Experience a workable problem and conflict solving model
  • Work in collaborative learning groups