Monday, December 1, 2014

30 Days of Diverse Picture Books - Each Kindness by Jacqueline Woodson

It's Day 30 of our 30 Days of Diverse Picture Books. Wha?? Did that month pass quickly for anyone else?? I can't believe we're at the end of this year's series already. I hope you've enjoyed all the picks we've shared as much as we've enjoyed reading them. When I started the series this month, my husband remarked that he hoped I'd have enough picks to make it -- and I'm pleased to say that there are several I didn't even get to, so look forward to more titles to come! (But maybe a break first. . . )

So, onto today's pick -- Each Kindness by Jacqueline Woodson. I originally had planned to share this one earlier in the series, but decided to wait, as this seemed like the perfect title to end with. Wilson's story centers around Chloe, who finds it hard to reach out to the new girl in her class. Maya doesn't have as much as some of the other girls, who laugh and make fun of her, and Chloe goes along. Even though Maya desperately wants to a friend, the girls rebuff her - and then Maya is gone from their school, and Chloe's left thinking about kindness, and what might have happened if she'd reached out to this girl who was all alone.

The theme of Each Kindness is a powerful one, one that I feel we all need to read and internalize. It's especially moving for me to read this one now with Sprout, and talk about the importance of understanding others, of walking a mile in their shoes, of demonstrating empathy even if we find it hard to agree. E. B. Lewis did the illustrations, and they are very moving. In particular we like the one that accompanies Chloe's teacher's explanation of kindness, like a ripple moving through a pool of water. It's an image that makes you stop and think in the same way Woodson's text does - quite a message, this.

I encourage you to read Each Kindness yourself, and to your kiddos, and think of it in light of our world today. If you reach out in kindness, to someone unlike yourself, you'll never know how far that kindness can go.

Each Kindness by Jacqueline Woodson, published by Nancy Paulsen Books

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