Tag Archives: kindness

Mela and the Elephant

Mela and the Elephant
Dow Phumiruk, illustrated by Ziyue Chen
Sleeping Bear Press, 2018

An adventurous young Mela leaves behind her brother, for he has nothing to trade her, and borrows her uncle’s boat to chase a fish down river. Soon she is too far down and cannot row up the swift waters. She offers an alligator her fish, if he would return her to the village. She tosses him the fish and he swims away. She attempts to trade with other animals and is soon left with nothing to trade, alone and lost. An elephant offers to take her home, with nothing in trade.  Mela learns kindness is its own reward.

Concludes with a bit of a ‘preachy’ ending, but great for discussion.  Illustrator Ziyue Chen engages young readers into the story when she captures facial expressions of an independent and brave Mela on her adventure.

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Please Please the Bees












Please, Please the Bees
by Gerald Kelley
Albert Whitman & Company

A delightful story of how a bear takes things for granted, mixed with a bit of being kind and responsible, without any heavy-handedness.

Benedict, the bear, was a creature of habit. Each morning he woke, retrieved the honey the bees left, ate breakfast, played music, baked, knitted and ran errands. At days end, he’d end with honey tea.  Life was sweet, until one morning nothing was the same. The bees had gone on strike! Nothing went right that whole day. Finally, one of the bees had a serious talk with Benedict. Bear pointed out he ‘let’ them be in his field and they should be grateful. The bees pointed out that they do all the work, while their hive was in ruins. Benedict saw the hive and saw the way of his error. After some hard thinking, he decided maybe he had been too selfish. He changed his habits and learned life was even sweeter for everyone.

Gentle colors accent Benedict’s gentle demeanor and earnestness and make this a heartwarming story showing a change of disposition. A simple, yet grand, lesson disguised in a story.

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Step Right Up, How Doc and Jim Key Taught the World About Kindness












Step Right Up, How Doc and Jim Key Taught the World About Kindness
by Donna Janell Bowman, illustrated by Daniel Minter
Lee and Low Books Inc., 2016

This little known history story is about a former slave who had a way with animals. Because of his abilities, people soon started calling him Doc. When the Civil War ended, he started a horse hospital. He owned a horse who birthed Jim, part Arabian.  The horse was so sickly, Doc kept him in his house until he got better. Doc soon discovered just how smart Jim was and began teaching him the alphabet—which Jim learned!  Doc and Jim began touring the US.  In time Jim worked with the Human Society and helped promote kindness towards animals. The compelling story keeps the pages turning and an afterword includes photos and more details about Doc and Jim.

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Be Kind

Be Kind
Pat Zietlow Miller, illustrated by Jen Hill
Roaring Book Press, 2018

Pat Zietlow Miller is an excellent writer of what goes on inside.  In Be Kind, we meet a girl who witnesses Tanisha spilling grape juice on her brand new dress.  While her classmates laugh, the girl tries to think of ways to be kind.  She makes an attempt, but Tanisha runs off.  She thinks of other kind things she could say, but she wasn’t sure.

The girl imagines many ways to be kind to others, some of them difficult to do, like sticking up for someone who is being bullied. After all these ideas, she decides that maybe the best thing to do is sit by Tanisha in art class and paint a picture for her.

Written in first person, readers quickly take ownership of what they might do if they wanted to be kind to someone.  Be Kind expands ideas of being kind, how being kind impacts others, and can be used to launch a discussion on kindness. Be Kind is a gentle, loving story.

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Each Kindness

Each Kindness
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.

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