Be Kind (Be Kind, 1)


“Kindness” by Jacqueline Woodson, as reviewed by the author, explores the concept of kindness through the perspective of a child who is contemplating how to respond when a friend accidentally spills grape juice on herself. Written in the language of a child’s thoughts, the book provides examples of kindness, such as giving, helping, and paying attention, while acknowledging that kindness is not always easy, especially when others aren’t kind in return.

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PreS-Gr 2—Miller explores the topic of kindness through the story of a child pondering how to respond when a friend spills grape juice on herself. In the language of a child’s thoughts, Miller provides examples of kindness (giving, helping, paying attention), and acknowledges that it is not always easy to be kind, especially when others aren’t. Miller helps bring this abstract concept into concrete terms of children’s lives. The illustrations are gentle and effective. The children’s faces are expressive, and thick brushstrokes and watercolor add texture and depth to the pages. The color purple receives extra attention, but is well balanced with other colors and white space. The book presents the powerful message that small acts of kindness matter, and that they can build with other acts of kindness to make a difference. This is adeptly illustrated with vignettes representing kindness circling the globe, coming full circle to the schoolyard where the protagonist gives Tanisha a purple watercolor picture. While the protagonist could not fix the problem, the act of kindness still made a difference. VERDICT Books about kindness are frequently requested in public and school libraries alike. This title is a valuable addition on this topic and will promote conversation about what it means to be kind.—Clara Hendricks, Cambridge Public Library, MA


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