by Jacqueline Woodson, illustrated by E.B. Lewis
Nancy Paulsen Books, Penguin Young Readers Group Books, 2012
Award-winning author Jacqueline Woodson writes a poignant story depicting the impact bullying has on the bully. In Each Kindness, told from the bully’s point of view, Chloe shuns Maya, a new girl who obviously was poor and different from her. For several months, Chloe gossips about Maya with her two best friends, but never lets Maya into her life. Bravely, Maya offers to share her new ball and jacks and other toys she brings from home, and each time Chloe turns away.
Then one day their teacher talks about kindness and how each “kindness makes the whole world a little bit better.” With a bowl of water and a stone, the teacher demonstrates how each kindness ripples out into the world. Maya is absent that day. While everyone shares a kindness they have given to someone else, Chloe can’t think of a kindness to share. She begins to understand that she could have been nice to Maya. Chloe vows to show kindness to Maya when she returns. Only Maya never returns and Chloe feels the pain of having chosen not to be kind.