PPBF Looks at Each Kindness + 20 Acts of Kindness for Children.

When I read this picture book, Each Kindness, I was reminded of what my daughter endured when we switched her from Montessori to public school in third grade.

Having the course materials taught in a new way barely slowed her down. Having a locker instead of a hook seemed to please her. Having an assigned desk to sit at instead of a random place on the carpet cheered her. And even the incredible number of weekly tests didn’t bother her.

Still, with all of these good changes, our daughter went from happy to sad. She rarely smiled and barely talked about school. Each time I asked how school was, she said it was fine.

Months without change slid by. She started getting stomach aches before school. Nothing I said or tried made a difference. She insisted school was fine. The stomach aches persisted as did the doctor visits and one visit to the hospital. I begged my daughter to tell me what was bothering her. This time, she started crying and the truth tumbled out.

Her classmates didn’t like having a new kid in their class and were punishing her with silence. No one wanted to sit with her in the cafeteria, so she ate her lunch alone, trying to look like she didn’t care. On the playground when no one would include her in their games, she sat beside the school and counted pebbles until the bell rang. I cried with her.

After long talks with her teachers, the principal, and the school counselor, life changed. The staff worked hard to match our daughter up for activities with other students they felt would be good friends for her. If she was alone in the cafeteria or on the playground, a supervisor made sure to help her join others and stayed long enough to help her break the ice. Now, two years later, my little girl loves school again.

Now, I’ll share with you today’s PPBF book, Each Kindness, in which the author takes the reader by the hand and helps them to understand the consequences to the new kid in the classroom when kindness is never offered or reciprocated.

Title – Each Kindness – view on Amazon HERE.

Written by – Jacqueline Woodson

Illustrated by – E.B. Lewis

Published by – Nancy Paulsen Books  –  2012

Suitable for ages – 4-8

Topics/Theme –  Kindness, understanding, and friendship.

Opening –

That winter, snow fell on everything, turning the world a brilliant white.

One morning, as we settled into our seats, the classroom door opened and the principal came in. she had a girl with her, and she said to us,

This is Maya.

Maya looked down at the floor. I think I heard her whisper

Hello.

We all stared at her. Her coat was open and the clothes beneath it looked old and ragged. Her shoes were spring shoes, not meant for the snow. A strap on one of them had broken.

Amazon Review – Chloe and her friends won’t play with the new girl, Maya. Every time Maya tries to join Chloe and her friends, they reject her. Eventually, Maya stops coming to school. When Chloe’s teacher gives a lesson about how even small acts of kindness can change the world, Chloe is stung by the lost opportunity for friendship and thinks about how much better it could have been if she’d shown a little kindness toward Maya.

Why do I like this book? The Amazon review is a bit of a spoiler, and I must admit, so is what I’m about to say…  When I finished reading the story, the ending hit me harder than I anticipated. When the new girl, Maya, moved away, all of Chloe’s chances left for apologizing or starting fresh. I kept hoping as that last page came closer and closer that maybe Maya would return to school, and every student would see her return as an opportunity to befriend her. But that didn’t happen. After letting the story simmer in my mind, I realized the ending is perfect, powerful, and completely memorable. This is one of those rare books that stays with the reader forever as a continual reminder to take every opportunity granted to offer kindness.

Learn about Jacqueline Woodson HERE.

Learn about E.B. Lewis HERE.

Find more “Perfect Picture Book Friday” reviews at Susanna Leonard Hill’s blog HERE.

20 Acts of Kindness for Children

Pick up something that someone dropped.          Hold open a door for the person behind you.          Leave a kind note in a library book.          Let someone go ahead of you in line. Complement a friend.          Donated clothes you’ve grown out of.          Do your chores without being reminded.          Set the table for dinner.          Call your grandparents and ask them to share their favorite childhood memories with you.          Talk to someone new at school.          Bring flowers to your teacher.          Clean up your toys without being asked.       Take the dog for a walk.          Offer to walk your neighbor’s dog.          Make a thank you note for someone special.          Help a younger sibling with their chores or homework.          Plant flowers.          Make hug coupons for family and friends.          Donate toys you no longer play with.         And the simplest kindness of all… a smile (this one goes miles).

If you have other ideas for simple acts of kindness, I hope you’ll share them in the comments.

16 thoughts on “PPBF Looks at Each Kindness + 20 Acts of Kindness for Children.

  1. I can add an idea – for the littlest ones – learn to applaud when you want to express your happiness, excitement, approval or gratitude. Starting even before they can walk, talk or do some of the ‘big kid’ things, it’s kind to express support and gratitude for the things that brighten our days: stories, sunsets, music, even mom or dad arriving home from work. Definitely sets the stage for adding more kind acts as they grow.

    Love this book and you wrote a wonderful review (^O^O^O standing ovation)

    Liked by 1 person

  2. WOW! What a powerful book. As a teacher, it hits hard. The heartbreak your daughter experienced is all too common. As adults I think we start to understand that it is those “sins of Omission” that nag you forever. “If only I had ….” To begin to understand that as a child might provide the courage to act and eliminate some of that angst later. Thanks for posting this one! I’ll definitely be looking for this book.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, this is a powerful book. This gem was read in my daughter’s fifth-grade class. She checked it out and read it aloud to me. When my daughter closed the book, she turned to me and said, “Well…what did you think?”

      I said, “I think I’m going to review this book next week for PPBF!”
      Truly, I wish teacher’s kept this book on hand ALWAYS. And when they know a new child is entering their class, they should read this book to their students the day before the new student arrives, discuss it, and make sure that everyone understands the importance of making the new person feel welcome.

      At any given moment, jobs change and families move. It could be any one of the students in the class that could soon find they are the new kid.

      Like

  3. I LOVE this book. Like you, I was hard hit by the ending. It made me weep and think back on my own missed opportunities for kindness. I think it’s time I read this one again with my kids.

    And I’m glad your daughter has learned to love school again!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. This sounds like a powerful story, one that every kid can identify with. Being left out or finding out that it’s too late to make amends. Woodson is one of my favorite authors. I like that she doesn’t feel the need to provide a “happy ending.” Life doesn’t always offer those. But acts of kindness can do so much to create happier endings more often.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. You nailed this exactly. I think most of us have been conditioned since childhood to expect a happy ending in the books we read, but real life doesn’t always play out that way. The story is that much more powerful because Woodson chose a realistic ending. It’s something to think about when I write.

    Like

  6. It’s tough to be a mother and see our children suffer, yet not know what to do to help them. Good job, Mama, sticking with your gut and finally figuring out a way to help. I LOVE Jacqueline Woodson’s style of writing and especially this book. Thank you for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Julie. Like all good moms, when our children suffer, we suffer with them. I knew something was wrong, but my little girl kept quiet because she figured the problem was so big there wasn’t anything I could do to help. Thankfully, I’ve changed her mind about that. This book, Each Kindness, has a way of sneaking under the skin and staying with the reader forever. And that’s good.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Forget about the book, Leslie…although it is a fabulous one and I’m so happy you selected it for PPBF. What brought me to tears…and then to my feet to cheer, was the story about your daughter. I’m cheering for her, for her courage…and for you…for your ability to support and help her with love and kindness and action. I’m sure I’ve read this book…but I need to revisit it again.

    Like

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