Each Kindness by Jacqueline Woodsen

Each Kindness is a realist’s picture book whose lack of happy ending encourages reflection. The illustrations by E.B Lewis perfectly accompany Woodson’s stark story of how Chloe treats the new girl Maya with a mean disdain. Instead of naming it bullying or focusing on blame, Woodson draws our attention to a young perpetrator’s ripples of sorrowful regret for opportunities she missed. Her teacher Ms Albert has the children drop a stone into a bowl of water to demonstrate the rippling effect of kindness. Since the powerful ritual comes after Maya has moved away, the change it produces in Chloe cannot be experienced by Maya, but will perhaps, ripple out to another new girl, another time.13588082

One illustration is particularly moving, a spread of four children’s faces reflected in the bowl of water, with the kindness stone at the center. In this unique picture book, young Chloe looks deeply into herself and comes to an awareness that is the precursor to genuine change.

New York: Nancy Paulsen Books/Penguin, 2012

 

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