Each Kindness by Jacqueline Woodson (Ricki’s Review)


Each Kindness

Each Kindness
Author: Jacqueline Woodson
Illustrator: E.B. Lewis
Published October 2nd, 2012 by Nancy Paulsen Books

Summary: Each kindness makes the world a little better

Chloe and her friends won’t play with the new girl, Maya. Maya is different–she wears hand-me-downs and plays with old-fashioned toys. Every time Maya tries to join Chloe and her gang, they reject her. Eventually, Maya plays alone, and then stops coming to school altogether. 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.

This unforgettable book is written and illustrated by the award-winning team that created The Other Side and the Caldecott Honor winner Coming On Home Soon. With its powerful message and striking art, it will resonate with readers long after they’ve put it down.

Review: This is a beautiful story that would be FANTASTIC for the classroom. Students of any age can learn from this book, and I would read it to my class on the very first day of school. It is easy to get caught up in drama and gossip, and Jackie Woodson reminds us how hurtful this can be. I am so glad that I own a copy of this book. I plan to read it to my son very often because the lessons are so important, and the story is simply stunning. Usually, I don’t review a book that Kellee has also reviewed on Unleashing Readers, but I couldn’t help but share my thoughts about this incredible text.

Teacher’s Tool For Navigation: I would be remiss if I didn’t direct you to Kellee’s post about this book. She did a fantastic activity with her class that used multi-flow maps.

One of my favorite parts about this book is that it doesn’t have a happy ending. I would love to discuss this with students–why might this be? Is Woodson teaching us something? Then, we might explore other books that don’t have happy endings and discuss why authors might do this intentionally and how it might impact readers’ feelings about the books. Students are notorious for disliking sad endings, so I think this would provoke much discussion.

This book can be both preventative and reactionary to bullying issues in the classroom/school community. While I would read it at the beginning of the school year, I could also see it as an effective tool for teachers who are having issues with bullying during the school year.  This book makes us want to be better people.
Discussion Questions: Why is Chloe so mean to Maya?; What do we know about Maya? Why do you think Woodson characterizes her this way?; Why does this book end in an unhappy way? What does it teach us?; How might we spread kindness?

We Flagged: “And on that first day, Maya turned to me and smiled. But I didn’t smile back. I moved my chair, myself and my books a little farther away from her. When she looked my way, I turned to the window and stared out at the snow” (6).

Read This If You Loved:  Unicorn Thinks He’s Pretty Great by Bob Shea, Endgame by Nancy Garden, Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher,  The Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick, Burn by Suzanne Phillips, The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky, Twisted by Laurie Halse Anderson, Everybody Sees the Ants by A.S. King, The Spectacular Now by Tim Tharp, Inexcusable by Chris Lynch

Recommended For: 

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